Upcoming Events

We hope you can join us for these upcoming events!

Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCBWI is suspending in-person events through the summer of 2021. All events during this time will remain on a virtual platform.


WEBINAR SERIES: The Foundations of Story

When: February 1, February 15, and March 1, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EST

Where: Online

What: A three-part webinar series on writing craft

This webinar series is not to be missed for all children’s authors.

Join us for one, or all three!

Monday, February 1

Part I: The Foundation of Emotion: Tension, Desire, Stakes, and Emotional High Points

We know action is central to scene. But action alone can result in what Gardner famously calls just “one damn thing after another.” Constructing situations, actions, and events in light of desires (what characters consciously and unconsciously want), stakes (what characters stand to lose if things don’t work), fears, controlling beliefs, misconceptions, and various other internal qualities makes for a richer story. Using all of this to create tension, and intersecting all of this with what Maas calls emotional “high moments” makes our stories much richer.

Monday, February 15

Part II: The Foundation of Structure: Scene and Summary

Scene and summary are key elements of writing. Summary covers a longer period of time briefly. Summary is useful for giving background, for setting scene, for passing over time. You’ll find bits of summary sprinkled throughout a story. But the bulk of a story takes place in scene. In scene, we write about brief periods at length, where the camera zooms in close and we see what happens, real-time, blow-by-blow. Scene is where action and dialogue take place, where characters do things, where things change for the characters, where we find crises and turning points.

This session explores scene and summary in more detail, examining when each is useful. And for scene, we’ll examine key elements and what’s needed to really make a scene move your story forward.

Monday, March 1

Part III: The Foundation of Opposition and Growth: Antagonists

We all want more compelling heroes. One key to developing our protagonist and requiring their growth is to create better antagonists, especially in light of your character’s inner and outer desires. This session explores why the right antagonists are critical to help make your protagonist their best self and how to design better antagonists. This includes not only hostile antagonists but also well-meaning antagonists who have the character’s best interests at heart. There are even ways the hero can be their own worst enemy. We’ll consider internal and external tensions, how different types of antagonists stretch your hero in different ways, and how both emotional and practical opposition makes the character grow and change the most. A hero rarely if ever rises about the level of the antagonists.

CRITIQUES: (at additional cost of $50) Submissions are due on or before Friday, February 5, 2021. For picture books, send one full manuscript plus a two- to three-sentence pitch. For CB/MG/YA, send up to 10 pages of your manuscript plus a one-page synopsis. 

For more information and to register, go to https://epa.scbwi.org/events/webinar-the-foundations-of-story/

TWO CRAFT WEBINARS: Crafting Picture Books & Crafting Novels: Tips & Tools (And A Trick or Two!)

When: February 11 and March 25, 2021, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m EST

Where: Online

What: Two craft webinars with Emma Dryden

Join us for one or both!

Crafting Picture Books: Tips & Tools (And A Trick or Two!)

Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EST

In this webinar, Emma will explore elements that make great picture books, focusing on everything from word count, read-aloudability, and how to use page turns for best effect to defining three picture book structures, the difference between plot and story, and how to create picture book dummies. Emma will be suggesting writing exercises and providing a variety of invaluable handouts/worksheets.

Crafting Novels: Tips & Tools (And A Trick or Two!)

Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EST

In this webinar, Emma will explore elements that make great novels, focusing on everything from genres, the difference between MG and YA, and plot structure options to considering action plots and emotional plots, creating authentic characters, and how to world-build. Emma will be suggesting writing exercises and providing a variety of invaluable handouts/worksheets.

Career Consultations available: (at additional cost of $60)

Editorial and publishing consultant, Emma D. Dryden, will meet with authors or illustrators through 20-minute career consultations over Zoom or Skype to discuss or address any one of the following:

  • Career questions/concerns/conundrums
  • Query letter assessment
  • Synopsis (of fewer than 500 words) assessment
  • Digital portfolio or website review
  • Submission/query questions
  • Agent research/advice
  • Marketplace questions

Note: Emma will neither recommend nor refer specific agents/agencies. Emma will not be looking at manuscripts. In advance of the consultation, Emma will contact the author/illustrator via email to discuss their specific needs so she can determine what she’d like them to send to her prior to their consultation. She will also schedule a mutually convenient virtual meeting time.

For more information and to register, go to https://epa.scbwi.org/events/craft-webinars-crafting-picture-books-and-crafting-novels/ 



3-Webinar Series for MG & YA authors

January 11–March 4–May 20, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. EST

Join us for one, or all three!

Do you have a middle grade or young adult manuscript ready to query? Join us for Query Grind as three industry professionals take a look at how to put the final polish on your work before you submit.

A limited number of query package critiques are available.

(Presentations will be recorded and the recording link provided to all participants registered prior to the event.)

January 11: WRITING THE QUERY LETTER THAT GETS NOTICED with Literary Agent Danielle Chiotti, Upstart Crow Literary

This short class will walk you through all of the most important elements of a query letter and help you craft the perfect pitch to capture the attention of agents and editors. It will walk you through the most important elements of a pitch and show you the four most important questions to answer in your book description.

Danielle will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. 

March 4: TACKLING FIRST PAGES with Literary Agent Samantha Fabien, Laura Dail Literary Agency

In this webinar, Samantha will discuss the intentions and goals for the first pages of manuscripts. I will share tips to achieve those goals across various genres and age-ranges including examples from published books. Attendees will leave the webinar with actionable feedback and more confidence in how to start their manuscript whether it’s for the first sentence or for the first chapter.

Samantha will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. See ticket information below to register for this opportunity.

May 20: Navigating the Author/Agent Relationship with Literary Agent Reiko Davis, DeFiore & Co. Literary

You’ve written a wonderful manuscript, crafted a query letter that you’ve submitted to agents, and now you’re fielding interest from an agent who wishes to discuss representation with you. What are the next steps? This seminar explores the ins and outs of the relationship between author and agent, beginning with the preliminary conversation you have with one. We will discuss the process of signing with an agent, preparing a project for submission to editors, and beyond. We will cover communication, author/agent agreements, the editorial process, contract negotiation, and the agent’s role once a project is sold to a publisher. This seminar will be a 60-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of Q&A with attendees.

Reiko will be offering a limited number of query-package critiques for this event. See ticket information below to register for this opportunity.

Query-Package Critiques with Associate Literary Agent Karly Caserza, Fuse Literary

Karly will be offering query-package critiques only. 

Query Package critiques: For MG & YA manuscripts only (at an additional cost)

Have your query package critiqued by three of our faculty–Danielle Chiotti, Samantha Fabien, and Karly Caserza–with time to revise in between submissions. A limited number of single query package critiques will also be available with each webinar.

Format your work in 12 point font, with one-inch margins. Send…

  • 1-page query letter, double spaced
  • 1-page synopsis, single spaced
  • First 20 pages of a manuscript, double spaced

Include all 3 items–query letter, synopsis & manuscript pages–in the same document; please don’t send more than 1 document.

⇒Please include your name on every page of your work as a header or a footer, as well as identifying information on page one: first & last name, email address, title, genre.

⇒Please SAVE YOUR FILE as Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT as a PDF or DOC or DOCx.

    Example: Chiotti_Strocchia_PURPLE CARROTS

⇒Then send your file to Kristen at epawebco@gmail.com. The subject should read: Webinar Faculty Last Name_Your Last Name_TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT (same as saved file name).

Deadlines for Query Package submissions for each webinar as follows:

  • Query Grind part 1 [Monday, January 11, 2021] submissions due by Friday, January 8.
  • Query Grind part 2 [Thursday, March 4, 2021] submissions due by Friday, March 12.
  • Query Grind part 3 [Thursday, May 20, 2021] submissions due by Friday, May 21.

For more information and to register, go to https://epa.scbwi.org/events/webinar-series-query-grind/

VIRTUAL MEET & GREET: Critique Groups

Who: Those who want to start their own or learn more about critique groups

Where: Online (via Zoom)

When: Tuesday, March 9, 7:00 p.m.

Host: Heather Stigall

What: Have you thought about joining a critique group, but want to know more about why you would benefit from joining one, how they work, or even how to go about joining one before making the leap? Have you looked for a critique group, but haven’t found one that fits your needs? Have you thought about starting your own critique group, but want to know more about how? Are you already a member or leader of a critique group, but want to give/receive feedback or tips about making your group the best it can be? Then join me for this FREE Virtual Meet & Greet about critique groups! 

I’ll be providing an overview of the benefits of critique groups and focusing on starting new groups, but I want to address YOUR questions and concerns!

Maybe some of you will connect to form your own group!

Please RSVP to Heather Stigall at scbwiepaCGC@gmail.com. She will send you the Zoom link for the meeting the day before.

ONLINE WRITE-IN: Butt-in-Chair-a-Thon (March)

When: March 18, 2021, 8:00-10:30 p.m. EST

Where: Online

What: A monthly write-in

Are you stuck?
Do you need some inspiration?
Dedicated writing time?
Well, we’ve got you covered!

Whether you need to journal, work on a new manuscript, or revise an old one, we’ve got the time and place for you!

Come join us Thursday, March 18, 2021, from 8:00 p.m. EST until about 10:30 p.m. EST for our monthly BIC-A-Thon (they’re free!). We’ll start off with a 10-minute Brain Dump, then two 40-minute sessions. Can’t make it on time? Need to leave early? That’s totally fine! Come for as long as you can. We’ve got prompts if you need help getting started or to help you with your manuscript.

Please register for this using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIuduiorT0pEtX8LJ1KJaE1kdb9heVt1L0J

Once you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email with the link and PASSWORD to get in once the event starts. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Erik Ammon at erik (at) erikammon (dot) com.


WEBINAR: Picture Books as Physical Objects with Laurel Symonds

When: Thursday April 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EST

What: The youngest of readers interact with picture books in very physical ways—and we’re not just talking about chewing the cardboard or ripping out pages! We’ll consider how interactive elements, line breaks, page turns, and other techniques enhance the reading experience, focusing on picture books for ages 4+.

Registered participants will receive a Zoom link for the live webinar the morning of 4/22.

This webinar will be recorded. Registered participants will have access to watch the recording for 30 days following the event.

Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City and has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction, from picture books to young adult, particularly focusing on voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked. Her profile and submission guidelines are at  www.thebentagency.com and she can also be found online on Twitter and Instagram (@LaurelSymonds).

For more information and to register, go to https://epa.scbwi.org/events/webinar-picture-books-as-physical-objects-with-agent-laurel-symonds/

And check out SCBWI Webinars hosted by other regions here.

SCBWI has a zero-tolerance policy against harassment of any kind. Any violation of this policy is actionable. Please read our anti-harassment policy here.

1 Response to Upcoming Events

  1. Kim Briggs says:

    Adam Lehrhaupt made us laugh with his entertaining monkey book, Do Not Open This Book.

    Bryan Collier demonstrated that hard work and determination pays off and his artwork was nothing short of inspiring. For 7 years, he hit the pavement until one day, someone said YES.

    Debbie Dadey taught us that a ‘no’ means you get back to the keyboard or the canvas and KEEP going.

    Linda Oatman High made us excited to be a writer and/or illustrator. Stories exist in even the smallest picture.

    And that was just Saturday morning!

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