2019 New England SCBWI Conference: The Golden Brick Road

Springfield, Massachusetts
Friday, May 03, 2019

New England SCBWI 2019 
The Golden Brick Road
artwork by Neesha Hudson

This event is now closed. Thank you for your interest.

Save the date:  May 2-4, 2020
We hope to see you at next year's conference!

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)
Stacy Mozer, Denise Ortakales, and Kristine Asselin. 

Please read these online registration tips to help make the online registration process as smooth as possible!

THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE CURRENTLY FULL (waitlist only):
Saturday Workshops:
J6  K1  K7  K9  M8  N4  N5
  N6  (email reg.nescbwi@gmail.com to be added to waitlist)

CLOSED:
Manuscript Critiques

Headshot Photo Opportunities
Portfolio Critiques
Career Consultations
Social Media Consultations



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


NESCBWI 2019  
The Golden Brick Road  

Sunday May 5, 2019
Workshop Descriptions

Due to the volume of people attending the conference and adhering to fire code regulations regarding room capacity, we must know in advance the number of attendees for each workshop offered. Please choose your workshops at the time of online registration. If you change your mind prior to the conference, just email the registrar at reg.nescbwi@gmail.com to  facilitate the switch. Please note that SWITCHING WORKSHOPS AT THE CONFERENCE is ONLY allowed if you CLEAR IT WITH THE REGISTRAR to ensure we're not overloading a room. Thanks for understanding.

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 SUNDAY Workshop descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of ALL Workshop Descriptions.
Printer friendly PDF version of Workshop Schedules.

SUNDAY Workshops

Sunday Morning Workshop Blocks

One 2-hour session:   P-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am
OR
Two 1-hour sessions: Q-Block  -  9:45 am - 10:40 am
   AND     R-Block  - 10:50 am - 11:45 am 

Followed by
One 1-Hour Session:  T-Block  -  12:00 pm - 12:55 pm


2-hour session Options:

P-Block - 9:45 am - 11:45 am

P1 ~ Writing Your Best Query: Tips from the Road with Kristine Asselin and Jennifer Laughran (Senior Agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency)

(Writers)

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 with 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.

 

P2 ~ Crafting Chapter Books with Debbi Michiko Florence

(Writers)

What is a chapter book? How is it different from a picture book or a novel for older readers? How do you write for a series? Debbi Michiko Florence, author of the chapter book series Dorothy and Toto and Jasmine Toguchi, will share the details you need to know to start writing your own chapter books!

Topics covered in this workshop include:

  • the writing, revision and publishing process behind chapter books
  • a “primer” on the differences between chapter books vs. other types of books as well as what makes a series vs. a stand alone chapter book
  • helpful mentor texts
  • carefully crafted writing exercise

P3 ~ Lie Your Way to Greatness: Using a “Synopsis” to Create a Revision Plan with Tara Sullivan

(Writers)

Finished a draft of your novel? Know that there’s something wrong but no idea what it is or how to fix it? Look no further than this two-hour intensive! Nothing reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a novel more than its synopsis—and it’s an essential component of that all-important query letter you’re considering, too. In this hands-on workshop you will learn how to create a killer synopsis for your novel (that may or may not be reflective of what you have already written!) that can double as a revision plan. Moreover, having figured out a path forward, you’ll leave with a targeted toolbox of editing tricks that will help you hone voice, pace plot, pump up your setting, and improve character relationships. Come with a draft one-page synopsis and your sleeves rolled up ready to start working!



OR

1-hour session Options:

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

Q1 ~ A Winding Brick Road to Success: From Oceanography (or Wherever Else) to Writing with Padma Venkatraman

(Writers)

In this fireside chat, critically acclaimed and award-winning author, Padma Venkatraman, will engage in a stimulating and inspirational discussion on what she learned on her untraditional path to becoming a full-time writer. Padma will give concrete suggestions on finding and nurturing unique islands of ideas, surviving storms of set-backs, using external and internal resources you may not know you had to chart your course, and managing and making time to sail the ocean of story when you feel you don’t have a moment to spare. Padma will also provide tips on rewriting and revising without feeling unmoored, and developing a personal philosophy that helps you balance ambition with contentment in your writing life. The session will end with time for questions from the audience.

 

Q2 ~ Finding Your Nonfiction Voice with Heidi E.Y. Stemple

(Writers)

Nonfiction comes in many different flavors. None of which need to be dull. This workshop will guide you on the path to your unique voice.

 

Q3 ~ Character, Expression and Narrative....OH MY! What to Pack in Your Golden Brick Road Portfolio with Christy T. Ewers and Christina Tugeau (Illustrator Agents, The CAT Agency)

(Illustrators)

Christy Ewers and Christina Tugeau will work together to give a very close and particular view of what should and should NOT be in a portfolio. They’ll look at what buyers today want and what will catch their attention. They will leave plenty of time for questions on the industry and agenting.

 

Q4 ~ Hearing Voices: How to Find Voice in Your Opening Sentence with Carter Hasegawa (Editor, Candlewick Press)

[Note: Q4 is repeated later Sunday morning as R4]

(Writers)

Using examples from published picture books and novels, we will look at how authors use “voice” in varying yet successful ways. This will be hands-on and interactive, so please be prepared to talk.

 

Q5 ~ SPOTLIGHT! Crafting a Picture Book that Stands Apart from the Crowd with Rachel Orr (Agent, Prospect Agency)

(Writers and Illustrators)

It’s exciting to be working in such a golden age of picture books, when beautiful, ground-breaking books are being published every year. Yet, with such great competition, it can be a challenge to make sure that your manuscript is unique and unforgettable. Rachel Orr of Prospect Agency will speak about the qualities she has found that make a submission stand apart from the crowd, both from a literary and marketing standpoint. She’ll also provide tips on how to strengthen your existing manuscript, and suggestions for some solid ways to pitch your work as well.

 

Q6 ~ Post-Binary Fiction with Lisa Bunker

[Note: Q6 is repeated later Sunday morning as T7]

(Writers)

We live in a time when some big long-established binaries are being challenged in some arenas, while at the same time in other arenas they are being twisted to consolidate power. One example of how we are challenging previously unquestioned binaries is the swiftly growing number of folks who claim gender identities beyond traditional ideas of only two choices, based on our bodies at birth. An example of binaries twisted for power-consolidation would be those who seek to polarize and weaponize public discourse to such an extreme that space appears for narratives that ignore reality altogether, or that dehumanize whole sectors of the human population. But we also need binaries. Our human brains, with their compulsion to understand sameness and difference and to sort things into categories, rely on them as we create the stories that we use to make sense of our lives. This workshop delves into some of the pitfalls that can arise when binary thinking goes awry, and then offers some ideas about how can we craft stories that avoid the pitfalls, so that we can celebrate what is universal about human experience while at the same time continuing our crucial communal work of dismantling old unequal power-structures. Together we will seek answers to the question: with so much pain and strife in the world, how can we still narrate our way toward a new, truly more inclusive meaning of the words "we" and “us?"

 

Q7 ~ Bookstagram Better: Easy Tricks for Better Book Photos with Anne (A.C.) Gaughen

(Writers and Illustrators)

How do the best bookstagrammers make all their favorite reads look intriguing and swoon-worthy?  From flat lays to photo faux pas, we'll discuss how to make your book shine online in pictures that pop and photos that are worth following.

 

Q8 ~ How To Be Politely Proactive During The Publication Process with Vivian Kirkfield

(Writers and Illustrators)

With five books in varying stages of publication over the past three years, author Vivian Kirkfield has a lot to say about the process of taking an idea and bringing it to a finished book. Her first book deal signed in 2015 produced an actual book in April 2019. Yet another book that was signed at the end of 2017 launched in February 2019! There are so many things that can hold up production of a book. Many authors are reluctant to question an editor or illustrator; others don't know what questions to ask. In this workshop, Vivian shares valuable lessons learned about how to be proactive as an author.

 

Q9 ~ Getting Started in Children's Magazine Writing with Carrie Finison and Christy Mihaly

(Writers and Illustrators)

Magazine writing is a fantastic way for novice writers to get publishing experience and credits. It also provides opportunities for established writers to sell material that doesn’t quite work in book format. Children’s magazines run the range of reader ages from babies to teens, and publish fiction, nonfiction, poetry, crafts, jokes and riddles, puzzles, recipes, and more. In this session, two experienced writers will lead an exploration of today’s magazine market, take an in-depth look at sample children’s magazines, talk about the submissions process, and brainstorm ideas for your next magazine article. Bring your questions for this interactive workshop.



AND

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

R1 ~ “Show Don't Tell” Your Manuscript's Opening with Jen Malone

[Note: R1 is repeated Sunday afternoon as T1]

(Writers)

“Show don’t tell” is a nebulous concept but an essential writing skill, and nowhere is it more important than in a book’s opening, which needs to entice a reader with action while also grounding them in the world and character with a deft weaving in of backstory. In this workshop, we’ll use television pilot episodes as a gateway to examining strategies you can apply to your own story’s opening to walk that fine line with authority.

 

R2 ~ Poetry as Picture Book Text with Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple
(Writers)

Poetry is alive and well in children's books! Let's talk about this genre that is often forgotten when we talk about picture books.

 

R3 ~ A Recipe for Plot with Amanda Ramirez (Assistant Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

(Writers)  CANCELED

 

R4 ~ Hearing Voices: How to Find Voice in Your Opening Sentence with Carter Hasegawa (Editor, Candlewick Press)

[Note: R4 is repeated earlier Sunday morning as Q4]

(Writers)

Using examples from published picture books and novels, we will look at how authors use “voice” in varying yet successful ways. This will be hands-on and interactive, so please be prepared to talk.

 

R5 ~  Work for Hire with Jamie Deenihan and Sera Rivers (Managing Editor, Avenue A Books)

(Writers and Illustrators)

Another way to break into children's publishing is work for hire. This workshop will discuss different types of work for hire and how it can benefit the careers of both writers and illustrators.

 

R6 ~ Reading Like an Editor with Harold Underdown (Independent Editor)

(Writers)

Learn how to look at a manuscript with the dual perspective of a fully engaged editor: as a critic analyzing plot, character, voice, and other literary components; and as a reader responding (or not…) with laughter, shock, insight, memories, and other personal reactions. Reading like an editor can bring your manuscript to the next level. Please bring a few pages of a current manuscript on which you are working in order to participate in a class exercise.

Sound good?

 

R7 ~ Mad Cap Story Ideas with Anne (A.C.) Gaughen

(Writers and Illustrators)

Do you have PART of a good idea? Are you stuck on what to work on now or next? Do you need something fresh to put your mind on while you’re taking a break from your last work, or it’s out on submission? Or do you just want to come up with a whole lot of great ideas to take away from this fabulous weekend? With a little fun and a lot of post-its, creating a story becomes a game to give you as many new ideas as you can handle!

 

R8 ~ Creative Collaboration: Authors and Illustrators and Editors . . . Oh My! with Vivian Kirkfield

[Note: R8 is repeated Saturday afternoon as M2]

(Writers and Illustrators)

There are many different schools of thought when it comes to collaboration between author and illustrator. Some editors don't want them to even speak with each other because they feel the illustrator needs to bring his/her own vision to the text without interference from the person who wrote it. Others encourage communication. In Vivian’s experience, collaboration wins hands down! Vivian explores how author and illustrator can collaborate to create a better book.



Followed by

1-Hour session Options:

T-Block - 12:00 pm - 12:55 pm

T1 ~ “Show Don't Tell” Your Manuscript's Opening with Jen Malone

[Note: T1 is repeated Sunday morning as R1]

(Writers)

“Show don’t tell” is a nebulous concept but an essential writing skill, and nowhere is it more important than in a book’s opening, which needs to entice a reader with action while also grounding them in the world and character with a deft weaving in of backstory. In this workshop, we’ll use television pilot episodes as a gateway to examining strategies you can apply to your own story’s opening to walk that fine line with authority.

 

T2 ~ Thinking Like an Entrepreneur for Writers with Mia Wenjen

(Writers)

Author and entrepreneur Mia Wenjen started a company more than 30 years ago with two friends out of a dorm room. Today, that company has 27 domestic and 10 international offices supplying creative, digital, and marketing talent globally. She also co-founded a women's golf apparel business which sold at resorts and Nordstroms. Mia's used those same skills in her publishing journey, and she'll share her techniques with us. From failing often and cheaply, to finding the right partners, to using bootstrap marketing, learn how to balance your vision with the demands of the market in order to achieve your goals.

 

T3 ~ Non-fiction, From Idea to Publication with Michelle Cusolito

[Note: T3 is repeated Saturday afternoon as N8]

(Writers)

How do you know if your idea warrants a whole book? And what do you do once you decide it does?
This workshop is geared toward newer writers and provides an overview of ways to:
•        Evaluate your idea, research the market, and decide if it should be a book.
•        Research deeply and become an expert in your subject.
•        Organize your research so you can answer questions from your editor and properly cite sources.
•        Structure your manuscript to be engaging for young readers.

 

T4 ~ Fireside Chat with Author/Illustrator Brian Lies

(Writers and Illustrators)

Join author/illustrator Brian Lies in an informal session, something we like to call the Fireside Chat. This is a wonderful opportunity to personally connect with Brian, go behind the scenes, and ask questions about his 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.

 

T5 ~ Extreme Research: If You Dare with Sera Rivers (Managing Editor, Avenue A Books)

(Writers and Illustrators)

What’s it like to crawl on your belly in complete darkness through a narrow passageway 150 feet below ground? What does the mouth of an active volcano look and smell like? Books, videos, audio clips, and the Internet make it possible to research just about anything—but the knowledge you gain is second hand. If you really want to know what your characters experience, you must live in their worlds. See what your characters see with your own eyes, feel what they feel, trace their steps as they journey to new lands. Find out how extreme research can strengthen your world building, plotting, and character development.

 

T6 ~  Social Me: What Who You Are Online Says About Who You Are Online with Matthew Winner (Social Media Expert)

(Writers and Illustrators)

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 Children's Book 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.

 

T7 ~  Post-Binary Fiction with Lisa Bunker

[Note: T7 is repeated earlier Sunday morning as Q6]

(Writers)

We live in a time when some big long-established binaries are being challenged in some arenas, while at the same time in other arenas they are being twisted to consolidate power. One example of how we are challenging previously unquestioned binaries is the swiftly growing number of folks who claim gender identities beyond traditional ideas of only two choices, based on our bodies at birth. An example of binaries twisted for power-consolidation would be those who seek to polarize and weaponize public discourse to such an extreme that space appears for narratives that ignore reality altogether, or that dehumanize whole sectors of the human population. But we also need binaries. Our human brains, with their compulsion to understand sameness and difference and to sort things into categories, rely on them as we create the stories that we use to make sense of our lives. This workshop delves into some of the pitfalls that can arise when binary thinking goes awry, and then offers some ideas about how can we craft stories that avoid the pitfalls, so that we can celebrate what is universal about human experience while at the same time continuing our crucial communal work of dismantling old unequal power-structures. Together we will seek answers to the question: with so much pain and strife in the world, how can we still narrate our way toward a new, truly more inclusive meaning of the words "we" and “us?"

 

T8 ~  We Got The Beat: Pacing the Picturebook with Deborah Freedman

[Note: T8 is repeated Saturday morning as J5]

(Writers and Illustrators)

Why do some picture books cha-cha-cha, and others go ka-thunk? How does the pacing of words with pictures through the pages of a book affect its story arc? In this session, we will dissect some published picture books for what they can teach us about pacing. We will talk about the importance of storyboarding to picture book pacing, and demonstrate how the structure, pace2, and placement of the words and pictures on each page can all affect a story. We will see how we can add oomph to a story by boldly choreographing its verbal and visual dance.

 

T9 ~ Chekhov's Arsenal: Keeping Your Promises to the Reader with Greg Fishbone

(Writers)

"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there," the Russian playwright famously advised. But Chekhov's gun doesn't always take the form of a literal weapon, hung from a literal wall. Sometimes it’s a character or a character's personality traits. Sometimes it’s an aspect of the setting. Sometimes it’s in a line of dialogue. What promises are you making in the early part of your book that need to be kept by the end?


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 Kristine Asselin
        19 Rita Lane
        Littleton, MA 01460


    REFUND POLICY:
    Conference cancellations up until April 19, 2019 will be refunded in full. 
    After April 19, 2019, refunds will only be given when proof is given to support military service or a death in the family.

    PRICES for 2019 CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE
    Full Conference:
      Member/Non-Member: $290/$345
    Saturday (includes Friday):
      Member/Non-Member:$170/$200
    Sunday Only:
      Member/Non-Member: $140/$160
    Critique (MS/PF):
      Member/Non-Member: $50/$60
    Career Consultation (CC):
      Member/Non-Member: $45/$55
    Social Media Consultation (SMC):
      Member/Non-Member: $45/$55

    Headshot Photo Opportunity (HPO):
      Member/Non-Member: $65/$75
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