SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Schedule and Breakout Sessions

(Go to main conference page)

 

Scroll down for session descriptions.

[Schedule subject to change]

All sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be available until 10/19.

 

“Early” Sessions:

 

Sunday, September 27

8:00-9:00pm (ET) Conference Guidelines and Q&A (and check your Zoom connection)

Monday, September 28

8:00-9:00pm (ET) “Have a ‘Heart’: Writing Picture Books with a Message in Mind” – Sarah Jane Abbott

Tuesday, September 29

7:00-8:00pm (ET) REPEAT SESSION: Conference Guidelines and Q&A (and check your Zoom connection)
8:00-9:00pm (ET) “Character Creation: What Dice and Dungeon Masters Taught Me About Storytelling” – Weslie Turner

Wednesday, September 30

8:00-9:00pm (ET) “Picture Perfect Books” – Jess Harold

Thursday, October 1

8:00-9:00pm (ET) “Crafting a Mysterious Mystery (Part A)” – Allison Remcheck

Main Conference Day:

 

 Saturday, October 3

8:30-9:15am (ET) Conference opening and guest speaker
9:15-10:15am (ET) “Revolutionary Books: Publishing Stories That Create Change” – Weslie Turner
10:30-11:30am (ET) “Crafting a Mysterious Mystery (Part B)” – Allison Remcheck
12:15-1:15pm (ET) “How to Market Yourself!” – Jess Harold
1:30-2:30pm (ET) “What Makes a Good Portfolio?” – Nicole de las Heras
2:45-3:45pm (ET) “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Revise, Revise Again” – Sarah Jane Abbott
4:00-5:00pm (ET) “Picture Book Making 101 for the Illustrator” – Nicole de las Heras

Sunday, October 4

Online portfolio critiques – details sent to individuals

 


Have a “Heart”: Writing Picture Books with a Message in Mind

Sarah Jane Abbott, Associate Editor, Simon & Schuster

Intended audience: Picture book writers or author/illustrators, any level.

As creators of picture books, we have the privilege and responsibility of making
books that children will read at an important and formative time in their lives.  When writing
a manuscript with a message in mind, how can we communicate that message in a non-
didactic way while telling a fun and entertaining story?  In this session, we’ll talk about
writing picture books with “heart,” rather than with a “moral.”  We’ll explore different
techniques to incorporate heart into a story, from metaphor to symbolism to allegory, and
talk about crafting stories with multiple levels of meaning that are open-ended enough to
spark discussion.

No prep or materials needed.


If At First You Don’t Succeed, Revise, Revise Again

Sarah Jane Abbott, Associate Editor, Simon & Schuster

Intended audience: Picture book writers or author/illustrators, any level.

As a writer, sometimes you’ll have a character or a story you love, but the
manuscript just isn’t working.  Instead of abandoning the idea, delve into intensive revisions!
This breakout will provide tips and tricks for overhauling your picture book manuscript.  We’ll
cover topics like strengthening character and plot and focusing the heart of the story, as well as
various revision exercises like blind rewrites, changing the POV, making a dummy to check
pacing, and more.

Handouts will be distributed electronically.


Crafting a Mysterious Mystery (parts “A” & “B”)

Allison Remcheck, Associate Agent, Stimola Literary Studio

Intended audience: All middle-grade and YA authors or aspiring authors

Learn how to properly hook your reader, set up your villains, and create a twisty
story to keep readers on their toes. This is a session for anyone who wants to find a way to
create intrigue in their YA or middle-grade novels, to raise the stakes and keep the readers
turning the pages. While we will discuss how this relates to the genre of
mystery/thrillers—these tactics can be used universally in different genres.

No preparatory work is needed. Bring something to write with and on.


What Makes a Good Portfolio?

Nicole de las Heras, Senior Art Director, Penguin Random House

Intended audience: Illustrator General/with a focus on illustrators who are newer to the industry interested in
picture books.

The perspective of what one art director is looking for in a strong portfolio, including an
overview of what happens when a picture book manuscript is acquired to when an artist is
signed up to bring the visuals to life.


Picture Book Making 101 for the Illustrator—you’ve received a picture book illustration contract, now what?

Nicole de las Heras, Senior Art Director, Penguin Random House

Intended audience: Illustrator Beginner/Beginning Professional

A step-by-step of the nuts and bolts of making a picture book. From when the illustrator
receives the manuscript and creates initial sketches, to publication.


How to Market Yourself!

Jess Harold, editor, Scholastic

Intended audience: General

An overview course for authors looking to put their best foot forward, pre- and post-pub!

No advance work required


Picture Perfect Books

Jess Harold, editor, Scholastic

Intended audience: Beginner

A beginner’s look at picture books!

Pre-work: Bring your favorite picture book(s) to share!


Character Creation: What Dice and Dungeon Masters Taught Me About Storytelling

Weslie Turner, senior editor, Versify imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Intended audience: General, all genres

For this editor, experiences with tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons provide excellent craft insights. Because what is an RPG session but an experiment in communal storytelling? This breakout is novel-oriented and, while it is geared towards beginners, published members can get something new out of it (mainly because of the novelty and fun of the D&D angle)!

Bring a pen and paper, no prep work needed


Revolutionary Books: Publishing Stories That Create Change

Weslie Turner, senior editor, Versify imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Intended audience: General, all genres

Revolution can be love, art, rebellion, resistance, civic engagement – or the revelation that your personal, specific life and story matter. We will discuss examples of revolutionary children’s books: books that speak to the child who sees the ways that the world is unfair and is figuring out what to do about it, books that bring history alive by connecting it to life today, books that go beyond engaging with current events to speak to those who struggle with these realities right now. We will also talk about showing readers themselves in a way that subverts expectations and stereotypes.

No supplies or prep work needed