New England SCBWI 2017
Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio
artwork by Sarah Lynne Reul
Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio
SUNDAY Workshops, April 23, 2017
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of all Sunday Workshop descriptions.
Sunday ALL-DAY Illustrator’s Intensive (S-Block)
*New this year
Sunday Morning (H,I,J) AND Sunday Afternoon (K,L,M) Workshops
Sunday ALL-DAY Illustrator’s Intensive
S-Block – 9:45 am - 11:45 am AND 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
**S1 ~ A Children’s Book Art Department: A Four Hour Intensive Inside Look
with Art Director Giuseppe Castellano (Illustration)
Open for AUDIT only
Meet Giuseppe Castellano, an Executive Art Director at Penguin Random House, as he provides an inside look into how he runs an art department for seven different imprints. Giuseppe will discuss what he looks for in illustrators, the methods he uses to find them, the mistakes illustrators make, and much more. This discussion aims to help attendees gain further insight into the business and practice of children’s book illustration.
Common mistakes illustrators make, as well as a built-in creative thinking exercise.
A series of drawing contests aimed to push our basic understanding of visual tropes. Artists will be pitted against each other in a Pictionary-esque contest. The audience will decide the winners.
Assignment Review and Discussion.
Character Creation and Critique. Following prompts, attendees will start their next picture book. A surprise is in store for them that will challenge how they think of art direction and editing.
Maximum capacity: 30 people.
Sunday Morning Workshop Blocks
One 2-hour session: H-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am
Two 1-hour sessions: I-Block - 9:45 am - 10:40 am
AND J-Block - 10:50 am - 11:45 am
2-hour session Options:
H-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am
**H1 ~ Revising Your Picture Book Manuscript with Harold Underdown (Picture Book)
FULL - waitlist only
Picture books are so simple, but often need to be revised many times before they are just right. Drawing on my years of experience as an independent editor and in-house children’s book editor in New York before that, I developed this workshop to help writers revise. This workshop will draw on “reader response” theory to understand how picture books work, build on that to teach you techniques to help you find problems with your picture book manuscript, and finally show you methods you can use to polish it before you send it out. There will be handouts and hands-on exercises. Be sure to bring a copy of a picture book manuscript for use in the workshop.
H2 ~ Using Scrivener for More Organized Writing (Advanced) with Dee Romito (Novel)
In this session, we’ll explore the many useful tools available in Scrivener. They’ll help get you more organized and keep everything you need in one place, saving time and making it easier to get things done. This session is for attendees who are familiar with Scrivener and want to learn to use more of its features. Please come with a laptop already loaded with the program (trial or paid version) so we can dive right in!
1-hour session Options:
I-Block - 9:45 am - 10:40 am
I1 ~ World-Building: The Power of Setting for LGBTQ Characters with Mary E. Cronin (Novel)
Setting is critical in the question of whether an LGBTQ character will thrive or even survive. In this workshop, Mary will discuss the many layers of setting, including family, school, community, region or state, and country… and how those factors impact your LGBTQ character. Workshop will include resources and recommended titles.
I2 ~ Picture Book Mythbusting with Editor Celia Lee (Picture Book)
Art notes or no art notes? Layers or no layers? Words or wordless? Let’s face it: there seem to be a lot of hard-and-fast dos and don’ts when it comes to writing the perfect picture book—and some of them are downright contradictory! In this workshop, we’ll talk about the top myths of picture book creation and break down the essential qualities of some of the best picture books today. We’ll also explore the current picture book market, paying close attention to both picture book trends and tried-and-true essentials. Participants will come away with a clear sense of their next steps in their personal picture book writing process.
I3 ~ Now, Next: What's Happening In Books Right Now, And How To Find A Niche with Art Director Lucy Ruth Cummins (Picture Book)
A discussion of current book trends, what's selling, what's on the horizon, and what publishers are looking for market-wise. Good for both writers and illustrators.
I4 ~ Beyond the Launch Party with Anika Denise (Marketing)
Author (and former PR executive) Anika Denise offers tips for smarter, savvier book launches, and a timeline for what to do when—from book deal to publication.
I5 ~ Run Away! Run Away! How to Write Action-Packed, Active Chase Scenes with Erin Dionne (Novel)
Is your choreography sloppy? Are your action sequences muddled? The ability for readers to visualize what is happening in a jam-packed scene requires a writer's attention to detail, pacing, and clear action. In this session, we’ll break down how to write strong action sequences, regardless of the genre or age group of your reader. How many details are too many? What should be described versus left to the imagination? We’ll look at examples of successful action sequences and how those authors put them together. We’ll even act a few out ourselves! Bring an action scene from a work-in-progress. Participants will leave with concrete steps to take to clarify their writing and bring the action off the page.
I6 ~ Channel Your Inner Nonfiction Nerd with Tami Charles (Non-Fiction)
According to a recent SCBWI Bulletin, changes in educational publishing are all the rage. Did you know that by 8th grade the NAEP book distribution will be 45% literary texts and 55% informational texts? And these numbers will change drastically by 12th grade! Now is the time to hop on the nonfiction bandwagon and secure a space for your book in classroom libraries everywhere! “Channel your Inner Nonfiction Nerd” is a workshop designed to help writers create fact-based stories for just about anything. Ever wonder where boogers come from? There are fact-based reasons for that! Curious about what caused the long power outage during Hurricane Sandy? There’s a story behind that, too! While fiction is still “in,” nonfiction is surely becoming the new normal. Take it from a teacher; we are scrambling to find YOUR nonfiction book to help our students pass the standardized tests!
I7 ~ Improv and Play for Writers with Chris Tebbetts (All Writing)
First thoughts, best thoughts. So the saying goes, and improvisation is a great way to tap into those first creative instincts. This hour will include a short talk about improv and play as it applies to creativity in general and to writing in particular. After that, we’ll spend the rest of the hour with pens (or keyboards) in hand—writing, improvising, and playing. Referenced works include Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones and Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Freeplay.
I8 ~ What’s My Style? with Ruth Sanderson (Illustration)
Many illustrators explore different styles and media before settling on one that feels just right for them. Developing a style that is true to your heart yet also marketable is every artist’s challenge. By a week before the conference, each participant should email two images (700 px high is good) in different styles to presenter Ruth Sanderson, who will create a PowerPoint to view individual artist’s work side by side. The workshop will be a discussion with each artist on the appeal of the their two styles and tips for development, as well as the potential marketability of each one, with the goal of helping the artist choose a direction. The group will also vote on their favorite piece of each artist, which will give additional feedback on the appeal of the different styles.
I9 ~ 10 Things I Wish Authors and Illustrators Knew with Betsy Bird (Marketing)
Beloved librarian Betsy Bird will offer tips that can help authors and illustrators better serve the needs of public librarians and book reviewers. She will also discuss how blogging and social media have helped her career and enriched her life, and why she thinks it’s important for people in the children’s literature community to cultivate a strong PLN (personal learning network).
J-Block - 10:50 am - 11:45 am
J1 ~ Stories Without Stigma: Writing About Mental Health with Annie Cardi (Novel)
This workshop will focus on crafting nuanced, realistic characters who are struggling with mental health. Topics covered will include the importance of talking about mental health in fiction for young readers; questions to ask when researching a particular mental health issue; creating dynamic characters and avoiding stereotypes; mental health issues vs. neurodiversity and intersectionality in mental health; avoiding romanticizing mental health struggles and providing hope for readers. We will look at examples from work such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory (PTSD), Other Broken Things by Christa Desir (addiction), OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu (OCD), Pointe by Brandy Colbert (eating disorder), and Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta (depression).
J2 ~ Picture It: The Life of a Picture Book with Editor Julia Maguire (Picture Book)
What does the editorial process of a picture book entail from start to finish? With texts so short, how much work actually goes into the edit? What needs to be written, and what can be left for the illustrations to tell? How important are page turns, and when do you need to start thinking about format and pricing? Why does your picture book have to be out in the market, and how does it differ from what is already there? We'll discuss what the story is ultimately trying to accomplish, as well as conceptual vs. narrative picture books, and how they are similar and how they differ.
J3 ~ Making the Leap to Digital with Christopher Denise (Illustration)
Thinking of making the leap from traditional tools to digital? Christopher Denise offers a glimpse into his digital illustration process and provides tips and advice on how to make the most of digital tools to enhance and elevate visual storytelling.
J4 ~ Getting the Word Out: How to Get Noticed by Art Directors with Art Director Lucy Ruth Cummins (Illustration)
In this workshop specifically for illustrators, we'll focus on self-promotion, managing your web-presence, getting work without an agent, and also finding an agent for illustrators.
J5 ~ Buildings Are People, Too—Or Why Setting Matters with Sheela Chari (Novel)
As readers, nothing draws us more convincingly into the world of a book than its setting. As writers, we want our settings to form the rich background in which to move our characters forward. In this workshop, you will learn five ways to use setting to enhance your novel. Through discussion and writing exercises, you will gain a better understanding of how to develop a stronger setting for the story that you want to tell. We’ll also talk about why setting is an important way for you to connect with readers and about some of the challenges of balancing setting with narrative and action.
J6 ~ Don't Just Tweet Your Breakfast: Diving into the #Kidlit World Through Social Media with Editor Allison Moore (Marketing)
Whether you’re writing or illustrating picture books, working on your next novel, or anything in between, social media is a great way to connect with readers – not to mention agents, editors, librarians, booksellers, and new author and artist friends. How can posting, tweeting, tagging, and blogging – or even just observing – enrich your network, help you avoid faux pas, and keep you up on what’s abuzz? Join this session if you want to take your social media savvy to the next level (or if you don’t know where to begin!).
J7 ~ Armchair Tourism: How to Write (and Market!) Global Fiction with Tara Sullivan (Novel)
Using examples from successful international fiction, we’ll examine the hallmarks of a good “foreign” book and consider the layers of reader (and agent, and editor!) interest that can be added to a work by using an international setting. We’ll challenge the overly simplistic “write what you know” mantra, and talk about the benefits of setting your story in other countries, ethnicities, and cultures. We’ll identify common pitfalls, such as stereotyping, over-simplifying, and over-emphasizing, and discuss some concrete tips to keep in mind during each stage of the writing process (drafting, editing, and surveying) to avoid them. We’ll discuss author travel and strategies for supplemental research if travel is out of your budget. Lastly, we’ll talk about specific ways to market “multicultural” books to teachers, school systems, and librarians. If you’ve ever contemplated taking your story to Malawi, Munich or Mumbai, this is a session you won’t want to miss!
**J8 ~ Group Pitch Workshop with Agents Kathleen Rushall and Brooks Sherman (All Writing)
FULL - waitlist only
Is your work saleable? Do you have a sufficient hook? Can you describe it succinctly and entertainingly enough to interest a publisher, an editor, or even a reader? In this small group practical workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to pitch your work to two accomplished agents working in our field. They’ll give you an on the spot reaction with tips to improve your pitch, information about the current market, and which elements to bring to the surface when creating your hook, and by extension, the interest in your work.
Attendees should come prepared to pitch a current piece of work that they are hoping to sell or bring to market. Pitches should last between two and three minutes maximum.
J9 ~ 10 Things I Wish Authors and Illustrators Knew with John Schumacher (Marketing)
Affectionately known as Mr. Schu, nationally-renowned teacher-librarian John Schumacher will offer tips that can help authors and illustrators better serve the needs of school librarians. He will also describe his personal mission as a librarian and explain the role of school librarians as champions of independent reading, connectors of the school family, and advocates for all students.
One 2-hour session: K-Block - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Two 1-hour sessions: L-Block - 2:00 pm - 2:55 pm
AND M-Block - 3:05 pm - 4:00 pm
2-hour session Options:
K-Block - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
**K1 ~ Killer First Chapters with Nova Ren Suma (Novel)
FULL - waitlist only
Expand your craft and look at the opening of your novel with new eyes. In this intensive workshop, we will discuss strong, memorable novel openings from published books and will also critique the opening pages of your YA or middle-grade novel. In discussion, we will ask: Did you start at the true start of your story? Is there a stronger, more memorable way to hook your reader? We will focus on the hook of a brilliant first paragraph, pacing and when to reveal information, and how to close your first chapter leaving the reader gasping for more. All participants should be prepared to post their first chapters online in the weeks before the conference, and will be contacted by email with details on how to do so. Students will be expected to read the first 5 pages of everyone's manuscript and come ready for discussion. Maximum capacity: 12 people.
1-hour session Options:
L-Block - 2:00 pm - 2:55 pm
L1 ~ So You Want to Write a Graphic Novel with Jim Hill (Graphic Novel)
It seems like every conference has at least one workshop on writing a graphic novel. I bet you’ve tinkered with the idea yourself, right? Of course, *how* to write one is the follow-up question that trips us up. This workshop will walk you through the nuts-and-bolts of comic terminology, then guide you through converting your prose into a graphic novel script. We will look at published examples of adapted stories to discover the building block elements of every graphic novel and dive into the deep end of format.
L2 ~ Writing for the Very Young with Kevin L. Lewis (Picture Book)
Form Follows Function. From the value of rhythm, repetition and rhyme to the importance of subject matter and the appreciation of developmental needs in creating long lasting works for the youngest members of our audience.
L3 ~ What Are You Afraid Of? with Brian Lies (Illustration)
Do you avoid showing characters’ hands in your drawings? Find yourself only drawing faces in profile? Identifying places that need improvement is vital to stretching your skills and moving your work forward. Once you identify your weaknesses, you can focus on them, improve them, maybe even turn them into your strengths! Bring an informal portfolio or selection of pieces—especially ones you wish were stronger—and be prepared to draw!
L4 ~ Books for a Cause: How to Call Your Readers to Action with Tara Sullivan (Marketing)
In this session, we’ll examine books that have successfully called their readers to real-world action (on topics as diverse as international human rights and local hunger) and discuss how they did so. We’ll talk about how to identify the resonant core in your own work—be that a societal issue like poverty or injustice, or a more personal issue like bullying or inclusion—and how this core can be used (pre-publication) both to make your book stand out to agents and editors, as well as how (post-publication) it can enrich an otherwise cookie-cutter author visit. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of author's notes at the end of a novel and analyze the balance of “writing” versus “cause” content on authors' websites. Reading literary fiction is one of the few ways actually proven to build empathy. Come learn how to harness your readers' empathy to make a difference in the things that really matter to you in the world.
L5 ~ Mad Cap Character Building with A. C. Gaughen (Novel)
Which of your characters would die first in a zombie apocalypse? Where would your character vacation after saving the world? These sound trivial, but knowing your characters will clarify your stakes, your setting, and your plot—all keys to unlocking a compelling story. This workshop will use a fast pace and post-its to help you unlock the things you already know about your characters AND help you brainstorm some new thoughts!
L6 ~ Playing with Poetic Forms with Jeannine Atkins (All Writing)
Whether you’re writing a rhyming picture book or a novel in free verse, your work may gain power by reviewing elements such as rhyme, repetition, alliteration, personification, and meter. Jeannine will offer definitions and examples of effective techniques for poets, while asking you to experiment with them, too.
L7 ~ The Anatomy of a Giggle: Humor and Writing Funny with Molly B. Burnham (All Writing)
Often times, people think they are funny or not funny. I don’t believe this. I believe that like any other aspect of the writing craft, being funny just takes practice. In this hands-on workshop, we will set judgments aside and instead explore our funny bones. We will discuss various forms of humor, key points to writing funny, and engage in exercises that encourage the playful and humorous side of our brains. Bring an open mind, a pad of paper, and your joyful self so you leave with a fresh approach to humor.
L8 ~ You’re Gonna Lose. And That’s OK. with Editor Carter Hasegawa (Life & Career)
We’re often taught to believe that winning is everything. So much so that we’ve become petrified of losing. But there is greatness in losing. We will explore how the gift of losing can help us become better writers, artists, and citizens.
L9 ~ 10 Things I Wish Authors and Illustrators Knew with Mary Ann Cappiello (Marketing)
Mary Ann Cappiello, Associate Professor of Language & Literacy at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will offer tips that can help authors and illustrators better serve the needs of a wide range of educators and other book advocates. She will also suggest a range of strategies book creators and publishers can use to make their books more attractive for use in the classroom.
L10 ~ Success Through Community with Heather Kelly (Life & Career)
What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Success begins by surrounding yourself with people who won't let you do anything except succeed. From finding the right collection of critique partners or the right critique group, all the way to picking and choosing agents or editors to work with—whether you are traditionally or self publishing. Heather Kelly successfully built the Writers' Loft community by gathering people together who had a common vision and agreed on some basic guidelines. Whether you want to start a community for yourself or join an established one, Heather will tell you how you can do it successfully. Building this support system for yourself may be the single most important thing you do to bring you success in your career.
M-Block - 3:05 pm - 4:00 pm
M1 ~ Mixing Research and Imagination with Jeannine Atkins (All Writing)
Writing historical fiction may start with reading then develop through a writer’s curiosity and empathy. Jeannine will discuss creative research strategies and ways to develop scenes using inference, speculation, and sometimes taking the wrong roads to find the right ones.
M2 ~ Little Toys, Big Ideas! with Dana Meachen Rau (All Writing)
Creating compelling characters is a challenge for every writer. But what if your characters aren’t even human? Inanimate objects make some of the best characters—but I’m not talking about Freddy the French Fry or Tammy the Table. For centuries, children’s authors have been transforming toys and dolls into some of the most memorable characters in literary history. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how authors can use toy characters to create humorous stories with deep emotional themes that would be impossible to tackle with any other type of character. We’ll look at a variety of picture books, early chapter books, and middle grade novels that use the language of toys to build an instant connection with readers. World-building strategies and character writing exercises will help authors craft toy stories that foster confidence in readers venturing out of safe play spaces into their own life journeys.
M3 ~ How to Draw Rug Rats and Ankle Biters with Jennifer E. Morris (Illustration)
Ever see an image where all the children look like tiny adults? Have you ever been told that your characters look too young or too old and didn’t know how to fix it? Figure drawing classes focus on drawing the human figure, the ADULT human figure. But more often than not, children’s book illustrators are called upon to draw—what else?—children. We will discuss how the anatomy of children differs from that of adults. And we'll show how to utilize that knowledge when drawing more stylized, cartoon characters. We will also cover tips for transforming existing characters to make them look younger or older.
M4 ~ "Go Write Me A Book About a Kangaroo In Space": Exploring Work For Hire Opportunities For Fiction Writers with Jen Malone (Life & Career)
Work for hire projects allow fiction writers to expand and diversify their publishings, and these days more and more publishers are shaping their lists by contracting authors to write story ideas generated in-house (or by packagers). Win/win! In this seminar, author Jen Malone will describe her own experiences with work-for-hire projects on behalf of several Big Five publishers and a major movie studio. She’ll explain the different forms a work-for-hire project can take, discuss how authors can position themselves to receive these contracts, and elaborate on the pros and cons of working on someone else’s (or many someone else’s) Big Idea. Jen’s work-for-hire projects include At Your Service, Nancy Drew Clues Crew (writing as Carolyn Keene), and Follow Your Art: A Dreamworks Trolls novel.
M5 ~ Go On, Delete Your Favorites—Revising with Purpose with Elly Swartz (Novel)
No matter how hard you try, no matter how thoughtful you are, the first draft is always just the beginning. The foundation. The blocks from which to build. So, don’t get attached to any character, point of view, setting, or plot twist. Because to make your story better, you may just have to delete your favorites, kill your darlings, resurrect your villains. In this workshop, debut author, Elly Swartz, helps you navigate revision to rebuild your story from the ground up. She offers tools on story boarding, color coding, and chapter breakdowns to help you recognize and embrace what’s working and revamp what’s not. She shares how she had to lose her original dual POV from her upcoming debut novel, Finding Perfect, and reimagine the story from Molly’s POV only. She explains how revision and letting go of her original plan, while challenging, allowed the story to develop in wonderful, unexpected ways. First drafts are the framework, revision builds the house. Learn how to revise with purpose in this workshop with Elly Swartz.
M6 ~ Tips for Picture Book Authors Who Want to be Illustrated Well with Brian Lies (Picture Book)
“I know what it looks like in my mind—but what if my book turns out completely different from how I imagined?!?” There are things you CAN do to help the illustrator who’s matched up with your manuscript see your world as you see it. From avoiding pitfalls that make the job harder for the illustrator, to voice and details, and whether or not to include illustration notes, this workshop will help improve chances that you’ll recognize—and love—your book when the F & Gs arrive. Bring a picture book manuscript in progress to refer to during the workshop.
M7 ~ Writing Prompts for the Weary with Burleigh Muten (All Writing)
Take a break from being a receptive conference attendee soaking up oodles of useful information and drop into the writer you are for 55 minutes. Rejuvenate yourself in a writing session with prompts that will help you develop character, setting, and tension in your latest novel. Burleigh has led writing workshops for adults and children throughout New England for the past 25 years. She is a writing coach and poet.
M8 ~ Write Like a Runner: Training Your Writing for the Long Haul with Annie Cardi (Novel)
“Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole.”—Haruki Murakami. Writing a novel and running a marathon require a lot of time, focus, dedication, and can also feel like pretty intimidating. But with a little planning and a lot of motivation, you can approach the novel writing process with the focus and heart of a marathoner. Learn how to craft a schedule, deal with setbacks, and focus on short-term goals to get yourself to the finish line.
M9 ~ 10 Things I Wish Authors and Illustrators Knew with Janet Reynolds (Marketing)
Janet Reynolds, the Events and Promotions Manager at the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Dedham, Massachusetts, will offer tips that can help authors and illustrators work more effectively with booksellers. She will also describe some of the most successful events her store has ever hosted.
M10 ~ Writing Smarter: Sub Genre and Audience Expectations with Natasha Sass (Novel)
We all know the importance of audience expectations, but do we understand the role sub-genre plays in those expectations? Sub-genres can be as easy as “contemporary”, or as complex as “young adult/science-fiction/horror”. Understanding what sub-genre you are writing and the expectations of that sub-genre can help you reach your readers. This class will show you methods to research your sub-genre and how to understand what readers expect. You'll make your readers happy while you write what you enjoy.
Click here to see a LIST of all workshops.