New England SCBWI 2018: Dream. Explore. Create.

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 20, 2018

New England SCBWI 2018 
Dream. Explore. Create.
artwork by Priscilla Alpaugh

Registration for the 2018 Conference is now closed. 

Please read the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.
You will not be able to register for the Conference
until you have read this document.
If you have any concerns at the Conference,
please speak to a member of our Safety Team:
Regional Advisors (RAs)
Marilyn Salerno, Margo Lemieux, Stacy Mozer, Denise Ortakales,
and Kathy Quimby Johnson.

Click here for all related HOTEL information; click here for PARKING information.

BOOKSELLING INFORMATION for SCBWI Members (last updated 11 February 2018)


Saturday Workshops:
C2  C3  C5  C8  D3  D4  D8  D9  E1  E2  F1  F2  F5  G6
Sunday Workshops:
S1  M1  M10 

Closed (not accepting waitlist additions):
Manuscript (MS) Critiques
Portfolio (PF) Critiques
Agent Quick Query (AQQ) Critiques
Social Media Consultations (SMC)


If you are trying to access SignUpGenius to view your critique schedule,
you will notice that the link is no longer available.

Please contact for AQQs and SMCs, for MS critiques,
and for PF critiques.


The New England SCBWI Conference is run entirely by volunteers
If you are interested in volunteering, please click on the link below.

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on

If you'd like to learn more about the National SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), click here.

Dream. Explore. Create. 

Friday April 20, 2018
Workshop Descriptions

Workshops fill up quickly once online registration opens. 
Please review these workshop descriptions and make a note of ALL the presentations you would like to attend; knowing this information in advance will allow you to proceed more quickly through the online registration process.
It will also ensure that, regardless of which workshops have already filled up by the time you register, you will still be able to fill your schedule with presentations of interest to you.


Printer friendly PDF version of all FRIDAY Workshop descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of ALL Workshop Descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of Workshop Schedules.

Friday Afternoon Workshop Blocks

One 2-hour session:       A-Block - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Two 1-hour sessions:     AA1-Block - 2:00 pm - 2:55 pm (Stonehaven, 2nd FL)
AND           AA2-Block - 3:05 pm - 4:00 pm (Stonehaven, 2nd FL)

2-hour session Options:

A-Block - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A1 ~ Beginnings and Endings: How to Start and End Your Novel with a Bang with Linda Camacho (agent)
(Mahogany, 2nd FL)

Writers often agonize over the middle of the novel—so much so that they sometimes
forget to focus on the bookends of the story. This workshop will provide you with the tools to grab the reader with that opening and leave them satisfied with the finale.

A2 ~ Plotting Your Picture Book with Ann Marie Stephens
(Highland, 2nd FL)

From the first line to the last word, learn techniques for plotting out your picture book. Ann Marie Stephens will discuss tips on how to leave room for an illustrator, and find ways to choose the most irresistible words. She will explore quick and painless methods to “Delete and Retreat” without ruining your masterpiece while editing. And finally, she will combat “Mundane Middles” and “Everyday Endings” to equip you with what you need to polish off your picture book. Feel free to bring your current picture book work in progress.

A3 ~ Giving Your Character Character with Russ Cox
(Charles, 2nd FL)

Russ Cox is often asked where his ideas come from. The answer: his personal well. Creative people have a vast database of experiences, some deeply hidden. With this workshop, Russ will work with participants to come up with ideas to fill a well when it is dry. There is always something left in there and through a series of prompts, participants will discover their own.

A4 ~ Dream, Explore, and Create Your Five-Year Strategic Career Plan with Francine Puckly
(King Edward, 3rd FL)

In this two-hour, hands-on workshop, writers and illustrators have the opportunity to turn their long-term creative hopes into concrete goals over a five-year period. Participants begin the workshop by defining five-year visions for their careers. But just as the idea for a novel doesn’t turn into a book without a plot and outline, our careers must have detailed road maps delineating the work that must be done, at what pace, and in what order. Five-year visions are turned into annual goals, and those annual plans give way to quarterly, monthly and weekly tasks. Participants will leave the workshop with plans that incorporate all aspects of projects, including (but not limited to): topic research, number of drafts required, editor/agent research, submission goals and tracking, skill acquisition (conferences, workshops, writing retreats), and social media strategies/website development needs.

A5 ~ Writing the Middle Grade Mystery with C. M. Surrisi
(Middlesex, 4th FL)

Do you want to write a middle grade mystery but don’t know how to get started? This workshop will explain how the middle grade sleuth is uniquely different from all others, and how to fashion a setting and framework in which she or he can navigate successfully to solve a crime. While each mystery is different, they are all built upon a structure that is well known in the mystery writers’ world. Learn these essential elements that include: sleuth character development, compact setting, things you must know before you start, fleshing out backstory, choosing victims, selecting the crime, defining the suspects, lining up the clues and red herrings, and plotting the four acts. In addition—yes, it’s a little complicated—remembering to add the heart and humor! Also, learn the considerations for multi-book series, and much, much, more!

A6 ~ Breaking into the Write-for-Hire Market with Kathryn Hulick 
(Kilkenny, 3rd FL)

If you can write engaging, well-researched nonfiction for a young audience, educational publishers are looking for you! Taking on write-for-hire projects is a great way to diversify your portfolio, and it’s super easy to get more work once you’ve broken in. But how do you land that first project? The short answer: luck, networking, and writing experience. Attend this workshop to find out the long answer. Learn how to gain visibility through a blog, how to network effectively, and what educational publishers are looking for in writers. Working in small groups, participants will plan out a blog intended to improve their visibility and writing experience. You will also receive a list of educational publishers along with advice on how to approach them for write-for-hire work.

A7 ~ Let Them Tweet Cake: A Social Media Primer with Josh Funk 
(Monarch, 2nd FL)

Having an online presence is becoming more and more valuable and necessary. But social media can be intimidating. With so many platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, FootStorm (just kidding, that last one’s made up)—it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But DON’T WORRY! Josh Funk will break it all down for you from the pros and cons of the different social networks to how to connect with agents, editors, readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, bloggers, and other authors and illustrators. While it’s true you don’t NEED to have an online presence, it can certainly be extremely beneficial at ALL stages of your publishing career.

A8 ~ Beyond the Binary: Writing Diverse Gender Identities with Lisa Bunker 
(Waterford, 3rd FL)

Today's young readers inhabit a world that increasingly recognizes gender as a wide-open spectrum rather than a small set of discrete categories. Trans folk feel a disconnect between their internal sense of their genders and their external bodies, but it doesn't end there. More and more people are claiming fluid gender identities including "both" and "neither" options. This workshop will include some gender 101 and vocabulary help, plus a discussion of the latest developments in a constantly changing arena, and the opportunity to ask a seasoned trans author and activist any questions you like.

A9 ~ A New Starting Place: Maps, Vision Boards, and Blank Pages with Lisa Papademetriou
(King George, 3rd FL)

Fantasy novels often require world-building on a scale both large and small. Cultures often grow out of relationships—to other cultures, to the land, to trade, to water—and these relationships influence both the societies and the individuals within them. Cartography offers writers a unique view of the countries (and sometimes planets) their characters will inhabit. This unique hands-on workshop will give writers a chance to think beyond the page by engaging with their world via collage and map-making. Writing prompts will grow from these exercises as attendees explore the deeply bidirectional relationship of character and setting.


1-hour session Options:

AA1-Block - 2:00 pm - 2:55 pm

AA1 ~ Demystifying Vector Art: Adobe Illustrator Techniques with Jannie Ho
(Stonehaven, 2nd FL)

Interested in illustrating in vector? This workshop will run through the basics of Adobe Illustrator, and how to incorporate it into the workflow of creating a children's book. We will discuss using the pen tool and drawing in anchor points; laying out book spread; ease of revisions and resizing in vectors. From placing hand drawn sketches to creating textures digitally, let’s explore if working in vectors is right for you.


AA2-Block - 3:05 pm - 4:00 pm

AA2 ~ Illustrating Board and Novelty Books with Jannie Ho
(Stonehaven, 2nd FL)

Illustrating for children's books goes beyond just picture books. What about for the littlest audience: babies and toddlers? How is it different illustrating for this age group? In this workshop, we will discuss board book formats and page counts; general themes in board books, and what you can have in your portfolio to get art directors noticed. Character design: creating age appropriate characters that are clearly defined for this age group. We will explore the importance of cropping and composition, and concepts vs. stories. Examples of novelty formats such as die cuts, lift-a-flaps, and magnetic pages will generate creative ideas for more than just a book!

Click here to see a LIST of all workshops.


Contact Information

Payment Instructions

  • Payment by AMEX, Discover, MC, VISA, Diners Club, or check.

    If you have chosen to pay by check, please send your payment, along with your confirmation number or a copy of your registration invoice, to:
        SCBWI New England
        c/o Marilyn Salerno
        30 Midfield Drive
        Rockland, MA 02370

    Conference cancellations up until March 16, 2018 will be refunded in full. 
    After March 16, 2018, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.

    All 3 days:
      Member/Non-Member: $290/$350
    2 days - Fri/Sat OR Sat/Sun:
    2 days - Fri/Sun:
      Member/Non-Member: $175/$240
    1 day - Friday OR Sunday only:
      Member/Non-Member: $85/$120
    1 day - Saturday only:
      Member/Non-Member: $140/$170
    Critique (MS/PF):
      Member/Non-Member: $45/$55
    Agent Quick Query (AQQ):
      Member/Non-Member: $30/$35
    Social Media Consultation (SMC):
      Member/Non-Member: $35/$45

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