Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2017 Houston SCBWI Conference Schedule


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2017 Conference Schedule


October 7-8 2017


7:30    Registration and Continental Breakfast…….. Marriott Westchase Convention Foyer

8:15    SCBWI Houston Regional Advisor, Vicki Sansum Opening Remarks ………Grand Ballroom

8:25    Bruce Coville, Keynote Address   Why We Do What We Do: ……..Grand Ballroom
                          Writing for Young Readers is a Calling, a Mission, and an Adventure
    We must come to it with full heart, and the happy knowledge that our impact
    may stretch beyond what we can imagine.

9:05    Local Panel:  What Keeps Me Going! ……..Grand Ballroom
        Crystal Allen, Jennifer Hamburg, Caroline Leech, Chris Mandeleski and Pat Miller             

9:35    Dierdre Jones, Editor, Little Brown Books for Young Readers……..Grand Ballroom
                      New Twists on Old Themes:
    Putting a unique spin on universal themes to make them feel fresh and exciting.

    So you want to write a picture book about the first day of school. Or bedtime. Or animals. Or making 
    new friends. But chances are, there are a lot of books with that exact same theme available in the market 
    already. In this session we’ll discuss examples that take on universal childhood themes, but with a unique 
    spin to make them feel fresh and exciting to consumers (and editors). We’ll also discuss strategies for 
    choosing your book’s topic, as well as how to craft layers that take the text to the next level and make 
    your project stand out.    

10:25    COFFEE BREAK   (Silent Auction Bids, Blue Willow Bookstore, Door Prizes) ……..Grand Ballroom                                                                       

10:40    Martha Rago, Executive Creative Director, Random House Children’s Books ……..Grand Ballroom                  
                          Speed Date with a Picture: What’s instructive, innovative, or just worth picking up?

10:40   Anna Roberto, Editor, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan  PAL Session ……..F&G Ballroom
                   The Author/Editor Relationship   

11:10   Christa Heschke, Agent, McIntosh and Otis, Inc. …….. Grand Ballroom
                             Writing and Engaging Mystery: Atmosphere, Tension, Pacing, and Premise 
    An engaging mystery successfully melds together a creepy or foreboding atmosphere, swift pacing, 
    mounting tension to an exciting conclusion, and a killer premise. I will provide tips on making sure your 
    premise stands out, how to add surprising twists and keep your reader in suspense as they eagerly turn 
    pages, and create a captivating cast of characters.  

12:00   LUNCH   (Networking, Portfolio Showcase, Silent Auction, Bookstore & door prizes) …….. Foyer Buffet

1:10    Martha Rago, Executive Creative Director, Random House Children’s Books ……..Briarpark Room
        Illustrator Breakout: Writing with Pictures
1:10    Pat Miller, Author……..F&G Ballroom
                          Curiosity and Clues: Creating Kid-Friendly Non-Fiction
    Writing nonfiction is the act of uncovering a story that already exists.  But how is that done? 
    This workshop will give you a roadmap from getting the idea through getting the facts to getting 
    it down on paper.  

1:10    Anna Roberto, Editor, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan ……..Grand Ballroom
                         Finding Your Voice
    In this presentation, we'll take a close look at voice in middle grade and YA fiction. Specifically, 
    what is voice, what makes it great/original, and how writers can apply it to their work.  
    (I'd love for those who come to this presentation to bring a book–citing a specific line or two 
    in that book–that they think is a great example of voice). 

2:00    Thao Le, Agent, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency …….. Grand Ballroom        
                        The Art of Revising
   Learn how to effectively revise a book. I will discuss what an R&R request means, how to make the
   most of the opportunity when an agent requests an R&R, and ten tips on how to tackle a revision.    

2:50    COOKIE  and COFFEE BREAK   Silent Auction Bids Close at 3:15……..Grand Ballroom

3:10    Adriana Dominguez, Agent, Full Circle Literary Ltd. ……..Grand Ballroom                                    
                        A Whole World: What Does #Diversity Mean to You?    
    The #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement has brought to the fore a conversation that only a few voices 
    in publishing had been having prior to its inception. In this session, literary agent and long-time 
    children’s literature, how to best approach writing diversity, and the #ownvoices movement that has 
    flourished since WNDB first hit the children’s literary scene, as well as share some of Full Circle Literary’s 
    own work with diverse authors and illustrators. A good portion of the session will be devoted to answering 
    participants’ questions so that attendees can figure out what diversity means in their own writing.    

4:05     First Look Writing and Art Pages—Speakers Panel ……..Grand Ballroom

4:45     Bruce Coville  Concluding Presentation  13 Off the Wall Tips ……..Grand Ballroom
5:15     Awards and wrap up   Nixon Awards  Silent Auction Winners ……..Grand Ballroom

5:30-6:15    Book Signings    Book Pitches/consulation                                                           

Bar opens at 6:15 in Foyer

7:00      Dinner & Dance   Come and network! ……..Grand Ballroom         

Blue Willow in Foyer;         Critiques:   Speakers-Westchase 3;    Local Authors-Westchase 1;    Illustrators-Briarpark

Sunday Intensives 

9AM-12PM: Bring your coffee and join us.
Coville Intensive in Ball Rooms F,G&H; Hamburg Intensive in Richmond Room; Illustrator Intensive in Briarpark Room

Novel Writing Intensive: At the Corner of Plot and Character         Presented by Author Bruce Coville.
Writers are concerned about plot. Writers are concerned about character. But what we should really be concerned about is the ways in which plot and character intersect – how plot reveals character, and how character drives plot. In this workshop Bruce will focus on these dual, intertwined aspects of storytelling, as demonstrated in his famous “Puddle Story.”

Picture Book Intensive: Finding the Funny        Presented by Author Jennifer Hamburg.

We know kids love to laugh, but when it comes to picture books, humor can be hard! In this fun (and funny) picture book intensive, we'll look at the different ways humor can shape a story, what types of humor works best for young children, how illustrations help bring funny stories to life, and how authors can develop their own brand of funny that keeps kids giggling. Please bring up to 500 words of a picture book manuscript – humor encouraged!

Illustrator Intensive: Developing Character         Presented by Random House Childrens' Books Executive Creative Director Martha Rago.

Character is extremely important to picture books. It can be the hook, the mirror to the reader, the element that engages them and pulls them in. Whether subtle or outrageous, the characters are almost always the key piece that makes the drama credible and the story-telling effective.

This intensive builds on the foundations from the breakout session with a special focus on the characters. You have already mapped out a story, put it into a dummy and developed the images to tell a story as effectively as possible. You have probably discovered through this process how important the characters are to creating drama and sustaining interest. The characters, the details of their world that reinforces who they are, and the drama they create combined will make them believable, compelling and appealing. In this intensive we will focus on developing characters that can carry that responsibility.  

Illustrator Intensive assignment details will be emailed to participants following registration.