More Notes From The SCBWI Regional Conference

I attended the Society for Children Book Writers and Illustrators regional conference last Saturday.  I’m almost a week away from that conference and am beginning to go through my notes and order the suggested books from the library.   I have already posted about Ruth McNally Barshaw’s presentation and about one of her influences David Small’s book Stitches.

The conference was inspirational. It was my first time attending.

This is a list of our presenters and presentations—

Ruth McNally Barshaw- Author-Illustrator
Drawing on the writer’s inner life.

I wrote about this in another post, but an element I wanted to remember was to sing to worms. Her book suggestions are also listed in that post. there is also a separate post on one of her suggestions the book Stitches.

Lea Hultenschmidt- Senior Editor Sourcebooks

  • Hook-what is new what is different?
  • Description, pretend your writing the back cover.
  • Wants to know marketing pros cons’
  • What are the digital opportunities?
  • RESEARCH! Give them marketing strategies.
  • YA 60-90,000 words
  • Unforgettable characters
  • Credible world building
  • Romantic element

Author info they would like

  • Awards wins
  • Endorsements from published authors
  • Industry contacts and affiliations
  • Online presence
  • Previous book and sales history
  • Where do you live?

BOOKS Mentioned or suggested
Dream big little pig
I drakula (Story told through messaging)

Laurent Linn-Art Director Simon & Schuster
Creating Real Worlds with Art & Words

  • Unfiltered story telling- filtered through reading
  • Emotional connection- what is the emotion on each page
  • Scenic  EVERYTHIGN IS A CHARACTER!  Everything in the environment can tell you about the character
  • Always be creative never generic.   Tree as a character ( BRIDGETTE TAKE NOTE pine cone on tree when you were litte.)
  • Create an environment in the shadows.

BOOKS Mentioned or suggested
Name of the Rose
Christian, the Hugging Lion

Sara Megibow-Nelson Literary Agency
Creating a Wow Inspiring Beginning to Your Novel

She is looking for a unique concept with superior writing.
Says she received 36,000 queries a year (Did I write that down correctly?)

Two different speakers talked about Miranda Kenneally’s book Score

  • Show vs telling
  • Incite incident—the moment which propels the novel forward
  • Compelling characterization
  • Mastering mechanics

She suggested to give a friend a red pen and ask them to put a red dot on the first few pages of the novel every time they go “ooooh” .  More dots, better it is.

Brenda Murray – Senior Editor (Scholastic)
10 Hot Tips for Nonfiction Writing

My absolute favorite book that she showed was the Zombies Guide to the Human Body. So cleaver.  Other cleaver examples Xtreme X-ray- everything is X-rayed.

1. Know your audience
2. Research the competition
Things they always can use are books on dogs, sharks, dinosaurs, and how stuff works.
3. Make it interactive
4. Keep it brief
5. Speak their language
6. Consider a narrative  – Suggested reading Ghosts in the fog about Japan attacking Alaska
7. Tell them something new – interesting little known facts
The boys book how to be the best at everything
8. Grab their attention – emotional element, gross, shock, funny
9. Don’t assume previous knowledge
10. Bonus material, maps illustrations articles, interviews

Kate Fletcher -Editor Candelwick Press
A Day in The Life of a Candlewick Editor

Anna Webman- Curtis Brown
Crafting an Inspired Author Agent Relationship

  • Questions to ask a potential agent
  • How do you balance my project with others?
  • How do you work editorially?
  • Do you take on digital rights?
  • ? The next question— I cannot read my own writing. I swear it says “different tie on girdles,” but I know that is not correct.
  • What is your submission process?

Abby Ranger – Editor at Disney Hyperion
What  Movies Taught Her About Craft and Fiction

My favorite line from Abbey’s speech was as she was telling about her husband being from Texas and how they now live in Canada- You should never use aye and ya’ll in the same sentence.

BOOKS Mentioned or suggested

Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus Moe Willems
Save the cat
The Talented Clementine Sarah Pennypaker
Hugo Cabaret Brian Selznik Amazon book
Video about Hugo Cabaret


Bridgette Mongeon is a sculptor, writer, illustrator and educator as well as a public speaker.

Her blog can be found at

She is also the owner and creator of the God’s Word Collectible Sculpture series

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