New England SCBWI 2018: Dream. Explore. Create.

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, April 20, 2018

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

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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.

Scroll down and 
click on the "Register Now" button 
on the right.

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  C7  D4  D9  E1  E2  F1  F5  G2  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. 

Saturday April 21, 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 Saturday Workshop descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of ALL Workshop Descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of Workshop Schedules.

Saturday Morning Workshop Blocks

One 2-hour session:       B-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am
Two 1-hour sessions:     C-Block - 9:45 am - 10:40 am
AND             D-Block - 10:50 am - 11:45 am   

2-hour session Options:

B-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am

B1 ~ From Concept to Published Book with Dan Santat

Using The Adventures of Beekle, Are We There Yet, and After the Fall, Dan Santat provides an in depth analysis of how concept, balancing words and images, and pacing can make a project come together by showing alternate versions of those projects listed above.


1-hour session Options:

C-Block - 9:45 am - 10:40 am

C1 ~ Let's Talk About It: Using Dialogue to Build Character with Jo Knowles

Dialogue serves many purposes, but often isn't used to its greatest effect! Dialogue can build character, create tension, infuse emotion, reveal important details about relationships, and so much more! This workshop will explore how to use dialogue to your best advantage. Jo Knowles will provide examples of dialogue that work and examples of dialogue that fall flat. She will also do some exercises that will help participants explore how to take their own dialogue scenes to the next level. 

C2 ~ Back Matter with Heidi Stemple and Julie Bliven (editor)
***FULL - waitlist only

What’s the deal with back matter? How do you write it, and how can you use it to make your manuscript more interesting to editors and your book more interesting to readers? This workshop will explore who is doing it well and what an editor seeks. Could back matter be the thing that elevates your manuscript or book above the others?

C3 ~ Illustrators Who Write: Giving Yourself a Job with Jen Betton and Jannie Ho
***FULL - waitlist only

As author-illustrators, we approach stories in a different way than when each role is separate. Words or pictures first? How do they play together? Jen Betton Rogers and Jannie Ho will discuss idea generation, ways to strengthen your writing skills, and how to develop the all-important dummy. Examples from the presenters' experience on developing their debut picture books together as critique partners will be presented.

C4 ~ Pruning your Social Media Habit to Let Your Creativity Blossom with Carrie DiRisio 

We've all been guilty of spending just a little too much time on social media. Carrie DiRisio, an author and a social media expert, knows all too well how tempting the scroll of a newsfeed can be. In this talk, she'll present signs of social media burnout, and discuss tips and tricks to curb your social media habit. There is a time and place for social media, but it's important to leave quiet time for creativity. Tools such as Freedom, Forest, and others will be discussed. Questions encouraged.

C5 ~ Twisted Plotting with Nancy Werlin
***FULL - waitlist only

No matter your genre, your plots should contain at least one or two turns that surprise your reader in the moment ("I didn't see that coming!") and then feel inevitable and right upon reflection ("Oh, but maybe I should have."). Learn how to think past the predictable in order to find twists that are both authentic and unique. As a writer of Edgar-award winning suspense, Nancy understands the importance of the plot twist, but since she also writes fantasy and contemporary fiction, she also advocates learning to use this tool in more moderate ways. 

C6 ~ Writing on the Go with Ann Marie Stephens

It can be difficult to justify writing time. Our families need us, our jobs consume us, or we are just too tired. Whether you are hoping for your first book contract or waiting to hear back about your eighth, discover strategies for making the most of your time. Unique approaches, a cool app, and take away tools will help you be able to set real intentions and walk away with a plan. Ann Marie Stephens acknowledges the “mindless minutes” and how to use them to carve out productive, motivating, guilt-free writing time. 

C7 ~ Create Engaging School Visits with Michelle Cusolito
***FULL - waitlist only

For many authors and illustrators, the idea of doing school visits is overwhelming or even scary. You spend your days alone with your ideas. How do you translate that into a school visit?  How do you engage students during a program and also make the adults who hired you happy?  Michelle will provide practical ideas for planning and running an engaging school or library program that also meets the needs of teachers and librarians. She’ll start by giving a quick overview of the Common Core standards to help you see how your work dovetails with the standards. Then she’ll move into practical, real world examples of successful programs that were designed to suit the style of the individual author or illustrator. As time allows, she’ll end with tips for promoting your visits and getting hired.


If you’ve attended Michelle’s workshops before, this will be a newly designed program, but much of it will be a review for you.

C8 ~ A Discussion on Writing Diverse Characters with Debbi Michiko Florence and Grace Kendall (editor)  

Diversity, or lack thereof, has been an important topic in children’s literature recently. In this workshop, audience members will have an opportunity to learn about the experiences of one author of color and her journey to publication, and hear from an editor who is dedicated to finding and publishing books by and about people of color. Writers of color will learn how to break into the market. All writers will learn how they can try writing outside of their own experiences for greater inclusivity in their work. The author and editor team provides an opportunity for open discussion about diversity in children’s literature.

C9 ~ Organizing with Scrivener with Dee Romito 

Learn how to use Scrivener to organize your writing, keep documents and research easily within reach, and link to outside sources. We’ll explore ways to include things like photos and chapter summaries, and use the binder, corkboard, and outline modes to get the most out of your writing time.


D-Block - 10:50 am - 11:45 am

D1 ~ Beyond Fiction: Exploring Different Storytelling Mediums with Hilary Weisman Graham

There are so many great venues for storytelling, and Hilary has tried them all. From screenwriting, to essay-writing, to poetry, to stand-up comedy—exploring different mediums can be informative, liberating, and/or a great exercise for working out blocks in a work of fiction.

D2 ~ The Ins & Outs of Creating Activity Books for Kids with Deanna Cook

In this session, Deanna Cook will walk attendees through the unique process of publishing a children’s nonfiction cookbook, craft book, or other activity book from a proposal to a finished book. Deanna will explain the process of conceiving an idea, writing a proposal, writing the manuscript (and meeting deadlines), working with your editor on changes, collaborating with art directors and photographers at photo shoots, and acting as a partner in marketing your book. She will show specific examples of routing copy in the editorial production cycle for Cooking Class and Mason Jar Science, two highly visual titles from Storey Publishing.

D3 ~ The Colorful Tale: Storytelling with Color with Jen Betton

Color: so much more than hue! Color provides impact and mood, and is a way of focusing attention. This presentation will focus on the application of color: shadows, temperature shifting, atmosphere, time of day, and use of symbolic or emotional color. Jen will discuss picking a palette and common color mistakes as well as painting tips and tricks. Examples will be drawn from fine art, animation, and classic illustration. Suitable for beginners or advanced students who wish to learn more about light and color. Handouts will be provided.

D4 ~ My Book, My Business with Monica Tesler
**FULL - waitlist only

The right side of your brain is pumping out the creative juices, but could the left side use some toning and tightening? In this session, Monica Tesler will set books aside and focus on the business of publishing. From researching agents to planning out a second career roadmap, this session will guide writers along the road of making their books their business. Specific topics covered include (1) creating a network; (2) researching agents and planning a query strategy; (3) navigating agent and editor relationships; (4) marketing and building a brand; and (5) developing multi-stage career plans.

D5 ~ Forces of Antagonism with Sara Zarr [repeated Sunday morning as J4]

This workshop is not so much about "how to write bad guys" as looking at how internal forces and external forces of antagonism work together to make story. Sara Zarr will use examples that range from picture books to YA to explore the forces of antagonism.

D6 ~ Rigorous Research: The First Step Toward a Nonfiction Manuscript with Michelle Cusolito and Karen Boss (editor)

Michelle will share her approach for researching her debut nonfiction picture book, Flying Deep, and provide examples from her work. She will also offer concrete suggestions participants will be able to take away. Karen will focus on what happened behind the scenes once Flying Deep was signed up, including having the text and illustrations fact-checked by an expert, and how books differ in their process. Electronic handouts provided.

D7 ~ Those Who Write, Teach: A Guide to Using Your Skills in the Classroom with Erin Dionne

Interested in working with developing writers? Curious about the writing and teaching life? Want to put your skills to use in an educational field? This session will discuss the various ways writers can make the shift from solo practitioner to educator in the classroom. From community programs to MFAs, there are lots of opportunities for teaching. We'll explore what you need, resources that are available for finding and creating opportunities, and how to best present your skills on a CV or resume. Participants will leave with an action plan and ample resources for next steps.

D8 ~ Writing Multiple Points of View with Sheela Chari

Most of the time, point of view means who is telling the story. But sometimes you need more than one person to tell a story. Having multiple points of view in a novel is a great way to move plot, add suspense, and deepen your characters as your readers encounter each of them intimately through their thoughts and feelings. But multiple POV can also be a challenge for both the writer and for the reader. In this workshop we’ll look at some of the common pitfalls you might run into while writing multiple POV, from early middle grade through young adult. We’ll talk about avoiding redundancies, keeping voices consistent, and how to effectively juggle multiple timelines across chapters and sections of the book. But we’ll also talk about the joys and advantages that multiple POV brings to the writer, and some of the quirky and inventive ways you can use this form to enrich your storytelling. 

D9 ~ Social Me: What Who You Are Online Says About Who You Are Online with Matthew Winner (social media expert) [repeated Sunday afternoon as L9]
***FULL - waitlist only

What does your current online presence say about who you are, what you write, and how you want to be connected with the reading community? Join Matthew Winner, elementary school librarian and host of the All The Wonders podcast, in a practical look at how to build and support your online presence and voice in the online learning community. This session will focus on the use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, but will touch on all social media tools.
All experience levels welcome. 

Saturday Afternoon Workshop Blocks

One 2-hour session:       E-Block - 1:15 pm - 3:15 pm
Two 1-hour sessions:     F-Block - 1:15 pm - 2:10 pm
AND             G-Block - 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm   

2-hour session Options:

E-Block - 1:15 pm - 3:15 pm

E1 ~ Thinking in Pictures (An Approach to Graphic Novels for Writers and Illustrators) with Keynote Speaker Matt Phelan 
***FULL - waitlist only

Matt Phelan (Snow White, The Storm in the Barn, Bluffton) will discuss his methods for writing and drawing graphic novels and offer tips and hands-on exercises. Non-drawing writers are encouraged to attend as well as writer/illustrators.

E2 ~ Querying: Hook, Line, and Slam Dunk with Kristine Asselin and Jennifer Laughran (agent)
***FULL - waitlist only

When it comes to querying, there are certain standards that apply universally. However, it is possible to make your query letter stand out from the rest of the slush pile and tailor it to target the agent of your dreams. Get the inside scoop about querying from both sides of the desk from Author Kristine Asselin and agent Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary Agency). Kristine and Jennifer will talk about queries that work (and why!) and perfecting the elements of your query. In the first hour, they will cover the easy-to-use “Hook, Book, & Cook” method. Discover what works, what doesn’t work, and when it is okay to “think outside the box”. See examples of real queries that landed an agent and later, a book deal. The second hour will be spent answering questions and workshopping real query letters, so come prepared to workshop your query! Be inspired! In this seminar, you won’t hear vague advice—you will get tangible tips to create an effective, concise query letter.


1-hour session Options:

F-Block - 1:15 pm - 2:10 pm

F1 ~ First Page with Jill Corcoran (agent) [repeated Sunday afternoon as M10]
***FULL - waitlist only

Do agents nix a manuscript based on the first page? Truthfully, many do. The first page indicates your voice and the quality of your writing. Agents are only looking for writers who are as good or better than the writers they already represent. Why? Because their reputation as an agent is based on their ability to spot talent. In this workshop, Jill will read, critique, point out the good and suggest alternatives for the not-so-good parts of your first page.
Max cap: 12

Note: Be prepared to email your first page 2 weeks before the conference (by 4/06/18) to (Detailed instructions will be emailed to you after registration.) Jill will be reading these at the workshop so you can see the first impression your page makes on an agent. Be sure to have a copy for yourself so you can jot down notes.

F2 ~ Writing From Folklore with Kevin Lewis

Kevin will use popular picture books, chapter books, and teen novels—including My Truck Is Stuck and The Runaway Pumpkin—and will discuss factors like structure and theme to explore the use and importance of folklore in creating enduring works for young readers and their families.

F3 ~ Fireside Chat with Keynote Speaker Rita Williams-Garcia

Join our keynote speaker, author Rita Williams-Garcia, in an informal session, something we like to call the Fireside Chat. This is a wonderful opportunity to personally connect with Rita, go behind the scenes, and ask questions about her work. It's also a great time to discover your own process, ask questions about your own stories and illustrations, and perhaps share a story of your own. Bring a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready for an inspiring hour.
F4 ~ Writing a Chapter Book Series with Debbi Michiko Florence and Grace Kendall (editor)

What is a chapter book anyway? And how is it different from an early reader, picture book, or a novel? How do you write for a series? In this session, author and editor team, Debbi Michiko Florence and Grace Kendall, share how they worked on the Jasmine Toguchi chapter books. They will provide craft guidance and industry criteria for writing chapter books and series. An in-session writing prompt and Q&A time will be included. 

F5 ~ Don’t Draw Better, Design Smarter with Dan Santat
***FULL - waitlist only

Dan Santat will take you through the basics on how you can greatly improve your artwork through the foundations of classic graphic design, typography, and color theory.

F6 ~ Genius Can't Be Learned—And Other Lies that Keep You From Your Writing Potential with Sara Zarr

Writers are often their own worst enemies through self-limitation and false beliefs about writing and the publishing business. Sara Zarr will help writers get out of the anxiety spirals of news, internet, distraction, FOMO (fear of missing out), comparison...and get back into the kind of deeper, freer thinking that makes good work. 

F7 ~ Mirrors & Windows: Writing Those Within and Outside Our Experiences with Jenn Baker
[repeated Sunday afternoon as M7]

Jennifer Baker focuses on how to better recognize issues of works that present stereotypes. She examines what to consider, as well as how to apply tools, when writing those outside and within our own experiences, emphasizing that character and world building is not only about inclusivity but craft. 

F8 ~ What a Wonderful World: Worldbuilding 101 with Jo Knowles

This presentation will cover the basics of worldbuilding—with a twist! Jo will start with how to create strong worlds in fantasy and science fiction, reviewing some important rules for worldbuilding and tools for making your world feel real and fully-formed. Then, she’ll shift to the importance of worldbuilding in ALL narratives, including nonfiction, memoir, historical fiction, and contemporary realistic fiction, using similar tools to help you deepen your story and make your character's world unique.


G-Block - 2:20 pm - 3:15 pm

G1 ~ The Revision Checklist with Lisa Papademetriou

Novelists often try to do everything all at once: work on plot, develop theme, capture imagery, build character arcs, construct witty dialogue, craft elegant sentences, clarify secondary characters, and so on. It’s a lot to manage, and can overwhelm writers and cause entire plot lines, characters, and motivations to disappear halfway through a manuscript. The fields of aviation, medicine, and software engineering all utilize checklists to ensure that nothing gets overlooked. Lisa’s simple checklist system gives writers a framework for working on one thing at a time while still capturing ideas that will be useful during the next draft. 

G2 ~ Getting Your Foot in the Publishing Door with Dan Santat
***FULL - waitlist only

Dan Santat discusses the methods he used to go from unpublished author/illustrator to working in one year. He will discuss social media, websites, diversity in portfolio work, and balance of life.

G3 ~ Fireside Chat with Keynote Speaker Amy Reed

Join our keynote speaker, author Amy Reed, in an informal session, something we like to call the Fireside Chat. This is a wonderful opportunity to personally connect with Amy, go behind the scenes, and ask questions about her work. It's also a great time to discover your own process, ask questions about your own stories and illustrations, and perhaps share a story of your own. Bring a cup of tea, sit back, and get ready for an inspiring hour.

G4 ~ To Rhyme...or Not to Rhyme with Josh Funk

Rhyming picture books. They continue to get published every year, so why are we told they’re frowned upon? Why are they so hard to write? Josh Funk, author of several rhyming picture books, will explain the most important aspects of writing in rhyme. He’ll share the detailed reasons that make writing in rhyme such a challenge. And of course, he’ll provide secret tips regarding what to avoid, what tools to use, and how to get your manuscript in front of the right editors and agents. Writing in rhyme is not for everyone. But when it’s done right, it adds an extra element of charm that no publisher can resist.

G5 ~ Using the Procreate Application on the iPad Pro with Priscilla Alpaugh

Using the iPad Pro with the Procreate application is similar to working with Photoshop on a desktop machine in terms of functionality. The big difference is that you’re unplugged and can take it anywhere. It means you can curl up in your favorite chair, sit outdoors, and sketch or paint digitally. It’s great for everything from initial sketches to thumbnails all the way to finished art. In this workshop, you will gain an understanding of the basic toolsets within ProCreate. I will show you the features I use most when I create an illustration. I will show examples of different styles of work that are possible and share some examples of work I’ve done as well.

Note: Please bring a notepad and pencil. If you have an iPadPro and Apple Pencil please bring them fully charged.

G6 ~ The Click Factor: the Editor/Author Partnership with Wendy Loggia (editor)
***FULL - waitlist only

Why does an editor decide to partner with an author and acquire a book for an imprint? What happens after the confetti is tossed and the deal is announced? How does a 1-book deal turn into a career? This presentation will walk you through a specific book on the Delacorte Press list from submission to publication.

G7 ~ Getting Fantasy Logic Right with Lisa Bunker

It can be so much fun to add magical or fantastical elements to a story, but it can also lead to plotting puzzles. It happens even to the pros. For example, instead of sending Frodo hundreds of perilous miles over land, why didn’t the Council of Elrond simply ask the eagles to fly him into Mordor so he could drop the ring into Mount Doom before the Nazgul had winged steeds? In this workshop, Lisa will examine examples of story-makers who have done fantasy logic well and not so well. She’ll also discuss ways it is possible to say, the heck with logical consistency, I’m just going to write it that way because it’s wicked cool. Session will include open discussion and the opportunity to share geeky joy about *your* fan favorites. 

G8 ~ Playing (and Winning!) with Point of View with Karen Boss (editor)

Is there a “right” and a “wrong” POV for your story? What’s the difference between “close third person” and “regular third person”? Using mentor texts, on-the-fly change-ups, and unique ways to look at a topic that might seem mundane, Karen Boss will wrangle with POV in this info-packed workshop. Participants will explore why choosing the right POV can make all the difference in the world and how playing with POV can be an exercise to clean up, strengthen, and punch up manuscripts. 

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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