Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Workshop Options


Jessica Dandino Garrison 

Presented twice

Complex and Shifting Emotions of Character in MG & YA Fiction

In this deep dive into creating characters that come alive on the page, we’ll look at how to conjure emotion that makes an impact. Attendees can look forward to no-prep-necessary exercises and, time permitting, the opportunity to apply new discoveries to their work-in-progress.

This workshop is 75 minutes long, to allow for the material. It will cut into break time, and participants are advised to be aware of start and finish times of each session.


Mekisha Telfer

Finding Your Voice

Through examples and instruction, discover the necessary elements of voice in your work. Learn how to create a distinct voice for your character…one the reader will fall in-love with.

Under Pressure: Raising the Stakes in Your Novel

What keeps a reader up at night? This session will provide insight and tips for turning your manuscript into a page-turner. Learn how to create tension on the page and push your characters to their limits.


Stephen Fraser

How to Write the Perfect Elevator Pitch

In this working session, participants will write and revise an elevator pitch for their manuscripts. Learn an invaluable marketing skill that will help publishers position your book in the competitive and crowded contemporary market.

First Impressions: A First Page Symposium

Participants will read first pages of their novel or an excerpt from a picture book manuscript (no more than 200 words). As well as gauging audience response, this symposium will illustrate how an agent responds to individual submissions and share insights into creating the best ‘first impression’ for submissions. We will read as many as time allows.


Ann Rose 

Quelling Your Query Conundrums

Dread no more and tame the query beast during this session with Ann Rose from Prospect Agency. She will highlight the do’s and don’ts, helping your submission to rise above the slush. Ann will workshop willing participant’s queries to optimize the chance of an offer of representation.

If your query could use a spit shine, send it to Kathy Urban for potential inclusion. Names will be withheld and all queries will remain anonymous.

Quelling Your Synopsis Conundrums

During this session, Ann Rose from Prospect Agency will discuss the sometimes-dreaded synopsis. Learn about the key requirements of this critical piece and learn the best techniques for tackling a spectacular synopsis that will rise above the fray.

If your synopsis could use a professional eye, send it to Kathy Urban for potential inclusion. Please keep it to a single-spaced page. Names will be withheld and all synopses will remain anonymous.


Mary Kole 

Presented Twice

Crafting Dynamic Characters

Geared toward novelists, but also applicable to picture book writers, this intermediate to advanced workshop explores use of interiority, which includes your character’s thoughts, feelings, inner struggles, and reactions. Explore this powerful tool and learn concrete tips to apply to your manuscripts.  


Nancy Brennan

Matching Pictures with Words

Follow an art director’s journey to find the right illustrator for the job, whether for a picture book, middle grade, or YA cover. From beginner to expert, we’ll discuss what works well and what doesn’t on websites, postcards, and other promotional materials.

Four-color Printing and Special Effects: A Blessing or a Curse?

Explore printing tips that you can use in the studio to ensure the best possible color reproduction from your illustrations. Whether you work digitally, traditionally, or a medley of both, knowing what is and isn’t possible within the printing process will help you create illustrations that realize their full potential. Nancy will finish up with everything you need to know about specialty inks, effects, and packages.


Jessixa Bagley

Writing For Illustrators

Writing isn’t necessarily an automatic ability that illustrators have (or think they have), but we all have stories to tell. In publishing, you might have more opportunities as an illustrator if you write, too. Uncover exercises to help you rise above writing blocks, discover the professional benefits of finding your writing voice, and learn Jessixa’s process for writing and illustrating in tandem.

Knowing Your Characters For Illustrators

The old picture book dilemma comes up frequently: What comes first, the character or the story? Whether you are writing a classic picture book, a series, or a one-off, your characters are the ones to take the reader on a memorable adventure. Learn how character development and backstory affects how you illustrate your characters to create deeper connections for readers.


Jessica Brody

Presented twice

Save the Cat Writes a Novel

Bestselling author, teacher, and story coach will guide novelists through the renowned SAVE THE CAT! story structure method. Learn how to develop an engaging plot and create compelling character arcs through the 15 “beats” of “secret storytelling code” that lies at the heart of all great fiction.

Learn more about the faculty behind the workshops!