Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Sat. Jan. 16th, 8:30 – 5, Middle Grade Intensive: Advanced Writers Boot Camp

Date(s) - 01/16/2016
8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Connexion Conference Center
520 Third Street - Oakland, CA 94607

Our Middle Grade Intensive: Advanced Writers Boot Camp is SOLD OUT

If you would like to be on the waiting list, please email If you are on the waiting list and do not hear from us by 1/14, no spaces have opened.

Need Help Getting Your Middle Grade Novel to the Next Level?

Join our faculty of published authors for a full day of deep craft sessions in the creative and inspirational Connexion Conference Center in Oakland. The sessions will provide practical lessons on improved plotting, building diverse worlds, creating believable deeper middle grade characters, and managing the revision process with skill and gusto.

This Intensive is for highly developed writers (you have had your work critiqued, participate in a critique group, and have participated in professional writers conferences/programs) or are published writers.

A limited number of 15 minute face-to-face consultations will be available from our speakers on the first 10 pages of our Middle Grade manuscript, for an additional fee of $55.  Only one consultation may be scheduled per registered attendee. You will register for the manuscript consultation with the speaker of your choice during the registration process. First come, first served. If the slots have filled for the speaker you selected, please select another speaker. Please see Manuscript Submission Guidelines for details.

This is a small intimate event. Register early to avoid disappointment.

Our faculty is a lineup of top Middle Grade authors! See their Bio's

Mike Jung

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Naheed Hasnat (N. H. Senzai)

Hillary Homzie


8 – 8:30             Registration and coffee

8:30 – 10           Mike Jung, Building Inclusive Worlds From The Inside Out

Conversations about including diversity in our writing tend to focus on writing outside our own perspectives or “writing the other,” but this session will focus on examining the individual lenses through which we perceive the world, dismantling the ways in which our personal lenses are both connected and disconnected to the context of society at large, and discussing/practicing how to incorporate the complex convergence of individual perceptions and larger societal forces into our work.

10 – 10:15         Break

10:15 – 11:45    Jennifer Lynn Alvarez, Creating Middle Grade Characters: Complex Protagonists and Antagonists with Depth
Creating complex characters goes far beyond personality, abilities, and physical attributes. In this workshop, we'll dive below the surface to uncover the secret to developing three-dimensional characters who leap off the page and straight into readers' hearts. For hands on work, it will be helpful but not necessary to have a protagonist and an antagonist in mind who you've already written about or who you're planning to create. To prepare for this session, please bring a short list of your characters' surface attributes: physical description, back story, likes/dislikes, abilities etc. And bring a short blurb (400 words or less) about the story you've written or plan to write. For those writers who are in between manuscripts, you will absolutely benefit from the tools provided in this workshop. Plan to take notes.

11: 45 – 1:00      Lunch  – Please bring your own lunch or go out to local restaurants. We will provide a local list.

1 – 2: 30             Naheed Hasnat, What’s the Story about Again?

The goal of your story should be to hook your reader from page one and lead them through a series of chronological events that keeps them captivated and emotionally engaged. Along this journey, your plot should provide the causal and logical structure which connects the story’s events together. The goal or our session is to think about what your story is about and create a clear plot roadmap that will provide a lifeline as you get stuck and haven’t the faintest idea what to do next. Please accompany your characters to this session and bring your story idea as we will be working on your plot roadmap for your novel in this session.

2:30 – 2:45         Break

2:45 – 4:15         Hillary Homzie, Deep Revision: What to Cut, Keep and Rewrite

Revision is a multi-pronged process. A vital phase looks at the big picture level, where fundamental elements of the story are examined and re-imagined. In this workshop, we’ll look at key strategies that you can use to strengthen your narrative at this macro level. Please bring in a 5-page scene from your middle grade work-in-progress (make sure it includes some dialogue). Your homework will be to write out the theme of your work-in-progress or planned middle grade novel, as well as to list your five absolute favorite books (any genre)—they can be guilty pleasures or award winners. Make sure you bring a notebook and two different color pens or highlighters.

4:15 – 4:45         Panel / Mingle / Good Byes / Thank You's


SCBWI Members: $125   After 12/20 $145 if space available
Non Members: $ 175

15-minute Personal Consultation on your written manuscript: $55
You must be registered for the Intensive to register for a consultation. You may register for ONE consultation only. NO CHANGES.  NO REFUNDS (If you register for the Intensive and a consultation, and DO NOT CANCEL, and are unable to attend the consultation, we will send you the speaker’s written comments. See Manuscript Guidelines on how to receive your manuscript.) If you cancel out of the Intensive and have submitted your manuscript, you will not receive a refund nor the manuscript.

Manuscript email Deadline: Dec. 16th   See Manuscript Submission Guidelines


Full Intensive refund minus a $20 administrative fee will be issued for cancellation before Dec. 10

After Dec. 10 through Jan. 10th, minus $20 admin fee, a full Intensive refund will be issued only if the spot can be filled. 

No refunds on personal consultations.

No Intensive refunds after Jan. 11th

Contact for cancellations.


Be sure to scroll down after it says ATTENDANCE INFORMATION, until you hit the CONTINUE button. Also CC means credit card. If you don't put in your number, you are not registered.

Program subject to change without notice.

This event is fully booked.