SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Breakouts

Create your own unique conference experience by selecting the Breakouts of your choice. Below you will find full descriptions of each session. By offering a variety of workshops for writers and illustrators at every level of experience, we hope each attendee has the opportunity to Rise and Shine!

Select your Breakouts during registration. Options will be listed under Event Extras. Most are included in the Saturday Conference ticket price. For the Round-Table First Impression sessions, an additional $25 will be added to your ticket.

Session #1 Breakouts

From Castles to Condominiums: Building Immersive Worlds in Fiction

Laurel Symonds

Detailed world-building is essential to strong fiction—but it’s not just for fantasy and sci fi! Learn the key points to creating believable worlds and how the world influences plot and character.

Rise! Daily Art Practices for the Illustrator 

Daria Peoples Riley

Discover new ways to awaken your creativity each day with a personal art journal. I will demonstrate artful ways to confront fear, doubt, and other negative forces that distract us from doing our best creative work. Bring a blank sketch journal to participate.

Irresistible Picture Book Submissions

Sylvie Frank

As senior editor with Paula Wiseman books, Sylvie Frank receives a lot of picture book submissions. At this table-talk presentation, participants will get a sense of Sylvie’s taste as she shares a selection of picture books she acquired. This session is for picture book writers that want to craft stories that an editor can’t resist.

Effective Book Promotion: Remember the Tortoise and the Hare?

Mary Cronk Farrell

Mary will talk about how to take the long view in order to successfully promote yourself, and your books. Successful book promotion in the digital age can, at times, feel like a slow process. Step by small step, we move forward with wise and consistent management. In this session we’ll talk about getting started, moving forward and remaining sane while quick-hoping hares seem to pass you by. Book promotion is not a race, but the tortoise still wins.

Hey Picture Book Writers, Is Regional Publishing Right for You?
Christy Cox

Find out more about Little Bigfoot, a Pacific Northwest children’s book publisher.Little Bigfoot is the children’s book imprint of Sasquatch Books, a regional publisher based out of Seattle.  Join Little Bigfoot editor Christy Cox to learn more about this unique press and the type of projects we’re seeking, as well as how we work with regional talent to create high-quality, enduring books for children.

The Art of the Query Letter

Adria Goetz 

Sometimes it seems that half the battle of publishing is learning all of the etiquette—the lingo, the rules, the preferences. This workshop will cover some of the best practices for illustrators who are developing their portfolios or querying agents, and will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes.

Writing with Humor

John Bladek

This session will focus on various ways of introducing humor into your stories, be it for a funny story or for adding lighter moments to a more serious work. Word play, situational humor, dialogue, slapstick and more will be discussed along with examples from funny children’s books.

Session #2 Breakouts

Rhythm & Rhetoric

Martha Brockenbrough

Storytelling has many vital elements: character, plot, setting, theme. But there’s another tool hidden in plain sight: language itself. In this session we will learn about the rhythms of language and rhetorical devices we can use to make our writing more resonant. This is especially useful for anyone attempting rhyme or verse, and everyone who wants to understand how to become a more lyrical writer.

Raising the Stakes 

Cortney Radocaj

Receiving feedback that your plot is sagging, or the stakes aren’t high enough? Learn what it means when you’re given this kind of critique and how to tackle it. We’ll discuss a few of the places you can look to strengthen your plot and add tension—including character motivation, agency, and world building—and learn what questions to ask yourself in order to push the boundaries of your plot.

Sharks, Carrots, and Rocks: The ABCs and 123s of Picture Book Characters

Sylvie Frank

From kittens to dust bunnies, elderly folks to robots, the possibilities for the kinds of picture book characters you can create are endless! But what makes some characters series-worthy? Why are some characters beloved by generation after generation? In this example-filled and hands-on presentation, we’ll look at the ins and outs of creating a picture book character with staying power.

Kids These Days: Writing for a modern teen audience 

 Stephanie Oakes

The teenage experience is in some ways timeless, and in other ways constantly shifting. Teenagers in today’s world have pressures, expectations, and realities that many adults can’t imagine. In this session, we’ll discuss some of those realities, and learn how to translate that into authentic YA characters.

Writing Nonfiction for Kids and Teens Today

 Claire Rudolf Murphy

Nonfiction books for young readers today are more varied than ever. We’ll look at recent nonfiction titles, including graphic stories, survey and informational books, picture books featuring specialized topics and short biographies, longer narrative titles for middle grade and young adult readers, memoir, and books featuring a collection of profiles around a topic. We will also talk about current publishing trends in nonfiction and resources for writing a book proposal.

Hey Illustrators, Is Regional Publishing Right for You? 

Christy Cox

Find out more about Little Bigfoot, a Pacific Northwest children’s book publisher.Little Bigfoot is the children’s book imprint of Sasquatch Books, a regional publisher based out of Seattle.  Join Little Bigfoot editor Christy Cox to learn more about this unique press and the type of projects we’re seeking, as well as how we work with regional talent to create high-quality, enduring books for children.

New to Illustrating? Some Common Mistakes to Avoid

Adria Goetz

Sometimes it seems that half the battle of publishing is learning all of the etiquette—the lingo, the rules, the preferences. This workshop will cover some of the best practices for illustrators who are developing their portfolios or querying agents, and will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes.

 Session #3 Breakouts

Round-Table First Impressions

Led by an Agent or Editor

Here’s your chance to SHINE! Bring the first 250 words of a Picture Book, Chapter-Book, Middle-Grade, or Young Adult novel. The sample can be be from a completed manuscript or a work-in-progress. Each writer will read their first 250 words. The Agent or Editor will offer their first-impressions with suggestions for improvement. Space is limited for this unique opportunity to hook an agent or editor. An additional $25 will be added to your ticket if you select this Breakout for Session #3.

No limits

Martha Brockenbrough

While many of us were told to “establish a brand” to get our careers going, there are drawbacks to this advice, both personally and professionally. Martha will talk about how to stretch yourself from fiction to nonfiction (and vice versa), and also from picture books to YA.

Ask a Published Author
Stephanie Oakes
Do you have questions about writing and publishing that you can’t find the answers to no matter how much Googling you do? Questions you think might be “stupid?” Or questions you’re afraid to ask because seemingly everyone already knows the answer? This session is for you! Come with any query, from publishing etiquette to writing craft and everything in between, and we’ll attempt to answer them, or at least point you in the right direction.

Shine! Breaking Into the Business (without an art degree) 

Daria Peoples Riley

So you wanna be an illustrator, but maybe you didn’t go to art school. Now what? Let’s talk about your artist’s toolbox, the type of portfolio that turns heads, and how to step into the industry as a newbie. We’ll also save time for Q&A.

Traditional vs Indie publishing: What can I expect from each?

John Bladek

Many authors are uncertain whether to try the traditional route of getting published (find an agent, find a publisher, etc.) or to publish independently on platforms like Kindle. This talk will discuss the experience of both and what you can expect in either route.

 

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