Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

A Novel Idea – April 2019

Date(s) - 04/13/2019
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Norse Hall
111 NE 11th Ave - Portland, OR 97232

logo by Nicole Roberts

Join us for a full day of workshops, one-on-one critiques, and a panel discussion about middle grade and young adult novels, featuring editor Camille Kellogg from HarperCollins, agent Moe Ferrara from Bookends Literary Agency, YA author Fonda Lee and MG author Cindy Baldwin.

A limited number of one-on-one consultations with our faculty will take place during the workshops. Consultations are still available with our authors! Manuscript consultations are $50 each. The deadline for manuscripts to be received is March 9th. Sign up when you register, first-come, first-served. See more details here.

This event is limited to 70 attendees.

Note: There will be books for sale at this event. We accept cash, checks, and credit cards with a nominal fee.


Moe Ferrara, Agent at Bookends Literary
Camille Kellogg, Editorial Assistant at HarperCollins

Cindy Baldwin, MG Author
Fonda Lee, YA Author

Click here for bios and photos. Or follow the link in the tan box above


Time A Novel Idea April 13, 2019
9:30 Registration and Check-In
Book Sales
                                  Norse Room
10:00 Welcome and Introductions

                                  Norse Room

10:15-11:15 Moe Ferrara: Thinking Inside the Toolbox

                                  Norse Room

Manuscript Consultations


                     Dining Hall

11:25-12:25 Cindy Baldwin: Descriptive Writing 101: It’s Way More Than Just Adjectives, Baby!

                                  Norse Room

Manuscript Consultations


                     Dining Hall

12:25-1:30 Book Sales

                                  Norse Room

12:30-1:30 Lunch

                                     Dining Hall

1:45-2:45 Fonda Lee: Untangle Your Novel                                   Norse Room Manuscript Consultations


                     Dining Hall

2:50-3:50 Camille Kellogg: Hook, First Line, and Sinker

                                  Norse Room

Manuscript Consultations


                     Dining Hall

4:00-4:30 Faculty Panel

                                  Norse Room

4:30-4:45 Wrap up and goodbyes

Final Book Sales

                                  Norse Room


Descriptive Writing 101: It’s Way More Than Just Adjectives, Baby!
Speaker: Cindy Baldwin

Even novice writers have heard the oft-quoted writing advice to “show, don’t tell”—but how exactly do you DO that? Through top-notch description, of course! In this class, we’ll discuss how good description consists of more than mere adjectives. We’ll study the descriptive tools a writer can use to pull the reader into the story, deepen characterization, and foreshadow plot points. We’ll also learn how much description is too much and how to make sure our description packs a punch, rather than overwhelming the reader with long passages of exposition that aren’t strictly necessary. Finally, we’ll explore some easy writing exercises to put our new descriptive tools into play!   

Hook, First Line, and Sinker
Speaker: Camille Kellogg

How many times have you picked up a book in a store, flipped to the beginning, and then put the book back on the shelf? Most readers, including agents and editors, make up their minds about a book on page one—which means you have 10 to 15 lines to make a good impression. Children’s books, especially, should ground a story and hook a reader right away. Using examples from published books, this talk will go over the qualities of a successful first page, mistakes to avoid, and how to revise your first few pages to make your story shine.

Thinking Inside the Toolbox
Speaker: Moe Ferrara

Topics to be discussed include the pros/cons of being a plotter or a pantser, world building (yes, you need it in contemporary manuscripts just as much as a fantasy novel!), crafting believable dialogue, and other tools that should be in a writer’s toolbox.

Untangle Your Novel
Speaker: Fonda Lee

At some point in the novel writing process, it’s very likely you’ll get stuck or feel overwhelmed by the seeming impossibility of your task. Maybe you sailed smoothly through the first third of the draft but now it seems like the story is going nowhere. Maybe you wrote an outline but more and more problems seem to be cropping up the further you go. Or perhaps you have a completed first draft and are staring at a daunting major revision.

This workshop will focus on analyzing your manuscript and finding your way back to the core of your story. We’ll talk about common ways novels get tangled, how to audit your story structure and pacing, breaking problems into manageable pieces, and strategies for getting unstuck. Come with your questions, and remember that every published author will tell you it feels impossible until it’s done!  


Sign up when you register, first-come, first-served. You’ll choose your consultant when you register. Be sure to read all information in the tan box before you register! (Or follow link here.) Must sign up for a consultation by March 1st. Manuscripts MUST BE RECEIVED BY MARCH 4th. (Not postmarked.) Consultation fees are nonrefundable.


Registration opens on January 31st at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Early Bird Registration ends on February 21st. Registration closes April 1st at 11:59 pm. No refunds after April 6th. We retain a $15 cancellation fee.


  by February 21st February 22nd – April 1st
Consultations – optional*
Members $100 $110 $50
Non-Members $120 $130 $50

Fee includes coffee and tea in the morning and lunch.

*Consultation fees are nonrefundable.

SCBWI Oregon is offering two $100 scholarships for this event. EXTENDED DEADLINE to apply is February 4th. Go to our Scholarships page for the application form and instructions.


Contact Laura Byrd, CO-RA, at

Having problems registering? Members be sure to sign into SCBWI first. Contact Sue Ford at