Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Midsouth Fall Conference Intensives

Friday, September 14

Pre-conference intensives are available for an additional fee. Registration is limited. To register for intensives, please check the appropriate box on your online conference registration. Intensive registrations are non-transferable, and there will be no refunds.


8:30-11:30am | Cheryl Klein—Vocal Exercises: Aspects of Voice ($60)

Voice is the oxygen of a novel, often invisible to the reader—and, even more, to the writer—and yet suffusing every sentence on the page. In this three-hour intensive workshop for novelists, we’ll talk about both the technical and soulful aspects of voice. Beyond discussions of tense and person, we’ll examine diction, syntax, tone, image systems, and other elements that you can develop or adjust within your manuscript. We’ll pay attention to the differences between middle-grade and YA voice and try multiple hands-on exercises to explore what we’re learning. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have new techniques in hand to make the voice of your novel more distinctive, pleasurable, and ultimately useful to your narrative purpose. Limit 50.


12:30-2:30pm | Bess Cozby—Building a Revision Toolbox ($55)

In YA, reader experience is especially crucial. With so many digital distractions, teens expect books to start fast and stay fast. They want characters to jump off the page. How do you achieve pitch-perfect pacing that still engages readers with characters they can root for? Revise. Revise. Revise. In this workshop, we’ll explore different tips and tricks so you can make the most of each round of revision, implement reader feedback, and ensure the pacing is on-point for a YA audience. From reader questionnaires to scene cards, outlines, character arc breakdowns, and book-maps, you’ll leave with all the tools to rock a revision. Limit 30.


12:30-2:30pm | Alyssa Mito Pusey—The Nonfiction Mechanic: Taking Your Writing Apart and Putting It Back Together Again ($55)

Learn strategies for fine-tuning your nonfiction in this two-part, interactive intensive. In the first part, we’ll work on developing the clarity and effectiveness of your writing for kids. We’ll explore different tactics for helping young readers understand big, complex ideas. In the second part, we’ll work on making your nonfiction pitch clear and irresistible to editors and agents. We’ll deconstruct your pitch and rebuild it, keyword by keyword. Bring a nonfiction manuscript or passage that’s not quite clicking, as well as your elevator pitch (two to three sentences that convey the essence of your nonfiction book). Limit 30.


2:45-4:45pm | Debbie Dadey—Series Writing ($55)

Debbie Dadey’s first book, Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots (co-authored with Marcia Thornton Jones), came out in 1990. Since then she has traditionally published 165 additional books. Learn how Debbie sold thirteen series, how she spent years writing a book a month, and how she creates a series proposal. Limit 30.


2:45-4:45pm | Patti Ann Harris—An Illustrator Intensive ($55)

Participants will develop an illustration assignment provided by creative director Patti Ann Harris. Initial sketches will be turned in approximately two months before the conference with comments returned from Ms. Harris by August 15th. Final artwork will be reviewed and critiqued in a group setting during the intensive on Friday, September 14th. Registrants will receive assignment details from illustrator coordinator Mary Uhles after registration. Conference registration, intensive registration, and all fees must be received by July 1st to participate. Limit 12. (Want to observe this intensive? Illustrators wishing to observe only may do so for a fee of $25. Check the “observe only” box on the online registration. Limit 15.)