Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Sat. May 16, Spring Intensives: Picture Book and Novel

Date(s) - 05/16/2015
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Connexion Conference Center
520 Third Street - Oakland, CA 94607

Join us for an exciting all-day event of small group hands-on workshops designed to help your writing reach the next level. Two separate Intensives, Picture Book and Novel, are each led by two accomplished industry professionals. The Intensives include exercises, small group interaction, and possibly pre-work.

These Intensives are 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.

Register for one Intensive, either Picture Book or Novel. You cannot move between Intensives during the day

Once registered for the Intensive, you may also register for a 15-minute personal manuscript consultation with one of our four speakers, first come, first served. Each speaker will do a maximum of six critiques. Please see each speaker’s manuscript preference as a good guide on whom to best place your manuscript.

Picture Book Intensive: The Emotional Heart of the Picture Book  WAITING LIST ONLY

Speaker: Kathryn Otoshi, award-winning author/illustratorKO Photo 2014
Available for personal manuscript consultation on: Picture Books FULL

Beyond Words – The Emotional Heart of the Picture Book

Drawing from her experience with film and visual storytelling, Kathryn will present her views on ‘story’ and the importance of knowing your audience.

Participants will go through exercises for strengthening the visual narrative and finding hidden gems within a PB manuscript. This fun and interactive session will help unblock problematic areas—turning weak points into strengths. The result? A picture book that really packs an emotional punch!

About Kathryn
Kathryn Otoshi is a multi-award winning author/illustrator and national/international speaker best known for her character-building number book series, Zero (which deals with self-esteem), One (anti-bullying), and Two (friendships/breakups). She goes to schools across the country to encourage students to make positive choices and does presentations with her books to help educators find creative methods to engage and connect with kids through art, reading and literature. Prior to this, Kathryn worked in film as a graphic designer at George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic and Disney Imagemovers.

Speaker: Susan Dobinick, Associate Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readersusan-dobinick1
Available for personal manuscript consultation on: Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult FULL

Crafting with Heart
Big themes and emotional resonance are what make picture books become classics. But with such limited space, every single word included—or excluded–counts. We’ll look at examples of edited manuscripts, published books, and participants’ works to examine how making even small tweaks can have a large effect.

About Susan
Susan Dobinick is an associate editor at Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers. She works on picture books and middle grade and young adult novels. Her favorite stories have strong voices and clearly appeal to kids and teens as well as critics.

Novel Intensive: Advanced Voice and Dialogue    WAITING LIST ONLY

Speaker: Taylor Norman, Assistant Editor, Chronicle BooksNorman_sm-150x150
Available for personal manuscript consultation on: Picture Book, Chapter, Middle Grade, Young Adult FULL

Advanced Voice Workshop: “I Was So Surprised When My Character Said . . .” and Other White Lies
A discussion on how to write honest characters

About Taylor

Taylor Norman is an assistant editor at Chronicle Books. Over the past four years, she has had the honor to work on Megan Jean Sovern’s The Meaning of Maggie, Cathy Camper and Raul the Third's Lowriders in Space, and Annie Barrows’s Ivy + Bean series. With a particular interest in novels for middle grade and young adult readers, she is passionate about making books that matter: honest stories that need to be told as much as they need to be read.

Speaker: Bill Konigsberg, Award-winning authorbksghead1
Available for personal consultation on: Young Adult FULL

The Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue
In this workshop, participants will learn the seven deadly dialogue sins that will relegate their manuscripts to the eternal slush pile. By focusing on what makes dialogue not work, we will gain insight into what makes dialogue really sing.

About Bill

Bill Konigsberg is the author of three novels for teens. Out of the Pocket won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009, Openly Straight won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor in 2014, and The Porcupine of Truth is forthcoming in late May. Bill is Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Arizona State University and Coordinator of the Your Novel Year program at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at the school. Bill has an MFA in fiction from Arizona State, and prior to writing fiction, he was a sports writer for and The Associated Press. He is married to Chuck Cahoy and they have two Australian Labradoodles, Mabel and Buford.

Intensives Fees

Members: Until 4/10 $119 / after 4/10 $159

Non Members: Until 4/10 $159 / after 4/10 $189 Join SCBWI today! Learn about membership and save!

Lunch is not included. There are local restaurants nearby (we’ll give you a map) or bring a bag lunch.


Manuscript Postmark Deadline 3/23

$65 for 15 minutes on 10 manuscript pages, or full Picture Book if under 1,000 words.

You must be registered for an Intensive to register for a consultation. You may register for ONE consultation only. NO CHANGES. NO REFUNDS. (If you register for a consultation and are unable to attend, we will send you the speaker’s written MS comments. See Guidelines on how to receive your MS)

Click here for Manuscript Submission Guidelines or the side bar for the event.

Manuscripts MUST BE sent via USPS and postmarked by 3/23. Do not use email, FedEx, UPS, or any overnight service.


100% refund will be issued before 4/10 on Intensive registration. After 4/10 no Intensive refunds will be issued.

No refunds will be issued on manuscript consultation registration.


9:00 – 9:20        Registration

9:20 – 9:30        Welcome

9:30 – 10:45      Morning Speaker – other speaker will do consultations

10:45 – 11:00    Break (Additional breaks as needed, scheduled by speaker)

11:00 – 12:30    Morning Speaker – other speaker will do consultations

12:30 – 1:45      Lunch (Bring your own or go out to a local restaurant.)

1:45 – 3:00        Afternoon Speaker – other speaker will do consultations

3:00 – 3:15        Break (Additional breaks as needed, scheduled by speaker)

3:15 – 4:45        Afternoon Speaker – other speaker will do consultations


Program subject to change without notice