Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2015-16 Schedule for TNL

TNL logo2015-2016 SCHEDULE


Speaker The Next Level Topic Description
September Rosanne Parry Pitch, Logline, Synopsis: How to write effective promo pieces for your book A hands on workshop for writers with a story to pitch covering everything from the one sentence logline to the full pages synopsis using low stress examples from familiar stories, and practical exercises for talking about your work to a range of potential readers.
October Miriam Forester Worldbuilding from the Ground Up Whether you're writing fantasy, historicals or contemporary fiction, a vivid and vividly communicated world is always an asset to your story. This workshop will discuss worldbuilding at both the micro and macro levels, including the making (and breaking) of rules, how and when to draw inspiration from real life places, and the art of bringing your world to life through solid, specific description. 
November Cidney Swanson Get Better Mileage with Your Writing Career: Go Hybrid! In today’s publishing world, you have more options than ever. Should you consider independent publishing alongside your traditional publishing efforts? Should you try jumping on the query-go-round after publishing indie-style? Doing both in tandem can be a very satisfying and rewarding path for a motivated writer. But how do you know if “going hybrid” is the right choice for you?




In this presentation, we’ll take a look at what skills you need to succeed as an self-publisher, non-traditional ways of gaining visibility for self-published titles, and some tips on how to work both sides of your writing career should you decide it’s right for you.

January Abby Ranger It's Great, Now Change Everything: The Editorial Process Revisions don't usually happen on deserted islands. You need input on your writing and/or illustration from people you trust, and you need to trust yourself to sift through that input. Join editor Abby Ranger, author Nora Ericson, and illustrator Lisa Ericson for a conversation about deciphering the differences between helpful and unhelpful early responses to your work, giving and receiving feedback constructively, and best practices for creative collaboration.
February Bill Cameron & Teri Brown First: Not Who They Think They Are: Building Character Through Contradiction







Followed by The Plot Puzzle: Building Your Plot One Piece at a Time



At its core, character development is not about likeability, or relatability, or sympathy. It’s about empathy. As writers we must understand not only a character’s traits, interests, needs and desires, but what they value and how they see themselves—as well as how others see them. Internal conflict and contradiction is often foundational in who people are. This workshop will explore ways to build characters who may be fooling themselves, but are richer and more compelling as a result. 


Writing a novel is like building a house—everything depends on a solid foundation. The Plot Puzzle is a no frills way of building your novel’s framework by blending the techniques of plotting gurus such as Cathy Yardley, Donald Maas and Martha Alderson. From character driven plots, to high concept plots, Brown explores the ins and outs of what makes one plot work while another falters and how to build your plot one piece at a time.

March Lisa Schroeder Ten Crucial Things I've Learned after Ten Years in the Business From synopsis writing to idea generation to how to bounce back from disappointments, this talk will touch on a wide range of topics by a seasoned author who's been in the business for over ten years and has published over fifteen novels for kids and teens. Bring your burning questions!
April Shelby Bach & Christina Henry de Tessan The Other Side of the Table: Real-Life Dynamics in an Editor’s World

Ever wondered what really happens during an acquisitions meeting or why it takes so long to receive your editorial letter? What do editors actually do all day besides editing and reviewing submissions? Join Christina Henry de Tessan, a freelance editor with Girl Friday Productions, and Shelby Bach, a former editorial assistant and reader for multiple New York publishing houses, for a frank behind-the-scenes look at editorial teams. Learn everything you wanted to know about the other side of the table—from the tasks you might not expect to find in an editor’s usual routine to how editors are reacting to their evolving role in modern publishing.