Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2015 SCBWI Hawaii Annual Conference

Date(s) - 03/07/2015
8:30 am - 4:00 pm

William S. Richardson School of Law
2515 Dole Street - Honolulu, Hawaii 96822


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March 6 – 7





Friday, March 6


With Sarah Ellis and Susan Fletcher

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Paki Hale

Registration Limited to 30



Saturday, March 7


With Sarah Ellis, Susan Fletcher, Kat Brzozowski and Local Publishers

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

William S. Richardson Law School,

University of Hawaii

Registration Limited to 120


Hear what's trending in the world of children's books, polish your writing and/or illustration skills, meet other writers, and take advantage of the option of having your work critiqued by a professional.  Both days will be chock full of insider information that is sure to inspire both beginners and experienced writers and illustrators—and just might put you on the road to your first or next publication.  Attend one or both days! 


Our extraordinary featured speakers:


Susan Fletcher, author of ten books for children and young adults. Her work has been included on a number of lists, including the ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and ALA Notable Books.


Sarah Ellis, award-winning author of more than a dozen books including novels and picture books, and children's book columnist and reviewer for Hornbook Magazine and the New York Times.


Kat Brzozowski, Associate Editor at Thomas Dunne Books, a division of St. Martin's Press, with extensive experience at literary agencies.



Friday March 6, 2015 Workshop Program:

9:00 am – 3: p.m.

Are you afraid of plot?  Do you shy away from the disaster, the quest, the coincidence, the accident, the crime, the secret, because they seem contrived?  In the safe environs of this workshop we will allow ourselves to become operatic.  We will parse the plot of Rebecca Stead’s Liar and Spy and generate plots of our own based on what we discover, with a view to deepening our understanding of the organic nature of plot and its flexibility.  We hope that participants will be able to apply this technique to other novels and explore further plot varieties in their own work.


We ask that all participants read and be familiar with Liar and Spy prior to the workshop.  The workshop itself will consist of a detailed discussion of plot and structure, an in-class plot generator exercise and a discussion of the results and experience of this exercise.


Saturday March 7, 2015 Conference Program:


8:30 – 9:00 a.m.          Registration/Welcome/Announcements

9:00 –9:40 a.m.           Sarah Ellis Key Note Address:  Getting into Scrapes:  The Middle Grade Novel.

While the older sister, the y.a. novel, is upstairs in her airless room msn’ing her cohort and the younger brother, the early chapter book, is downstairs under parental supervision, strapped into a booster seat, the middle-grade novel, taking advantage of being slightly ignored, slips out the door, finds a friend and jumps into that most classic of childhood activities: play.  We'll look at topics big and small — structure, character, point of view, voice and maybe even punctuation. 


9:45 –10: 25 a.m. Susan Fletcher Key Note Address: In Cahoots with the Reader: Exposition 101

It’s often said that writers create fictional worlds, but that’s only part of the story.  In truth, reader and writer are in cahoots; together, they co-create a world.  This lecture will explore the art of exposition, including techniques that entice the reader to join in the act of creation. 


10: 30 –11:10 a.m. Kat Brzozowski Key Note Address: BE NICE TO EVERYONE: And Other “Small” Things That Make a BIG Difference to Agents and Editors

Any aspiring author can (and should!) go online and read tips for getting published – stick to certain word counts, follow submission guidelines, “write what you know.” But what do agents and editors brag about – and complain about! – over drinks? Kat Brzozowski gives her 10 rules that every author, no matter what age group you’re writing for, should follow to stand out, from how to use social media (and how NOT to use it!), why you should always follow up, and the number one phrase that every editor shudders to hear.


11:15—11:30 a.m.      Break

11:30 a.m.—12:15 p.m.  First Pages/First Look: Susan, Sarah and Kat

12:15 p.m.—12:30 p.m.  Local Editor Panel

12:30 p.m. –1:30 p.m.     Lunch

1:45 p.m.—3:30 p.m. Afternoon Breakout Sessions: (Choose one)  

A. Sarah Ellis: Picture Books 101:  

For those of us who write for children the picture book is the art form that we can truly claim as our own – unique and original with its own possibilities, its own history and conventions. What is this animal called the picture book?  Where did it come from?  What makes a good picture book text? Why is the discipline of picture book writing so useful for all writers for children and young adults?      


B. Susan Fletcher: Exposition in Magic and History

One of the biggest challenges in writing historical fiction and fantasy is that there's often a huge burden of exposition–background facts and information the reader needs to know.  In this workshop, we’ll practice showing the rules and limitations of magic without stopping to explain; converting information to action; and embedding exposition in emotion.


C: Kat Brzozowski: Speak Up, I Can’t Hear You! – Writing Voice

You’ve come up with a plot. You’ve created characters. You have a setting. Now how do you make your readers feel like these characters are really speaking to them? Voice is one of the most important elements of fiction and one of the hardest to master. In this session, we’ll work hands on to improve voice in fiction, with a focus on young adult fiction (and techniques that also apply to middle grade). By reading and discussing how authors create voice on the page and working on our own writing to sharpen our voice, this session focuses on writing that really brings your characters’ individual personalities to life.


3:30 p.m. –4:00 p.m. Q &A and Closing.


Throughout the day and from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sarah, Susan and Kat will do their one on one critiques


First Pages/First Look Critiques

Our guests will share their reactions to first pages and postcards/illustrations submitted anonymously by participants. No advance sign-up is needed, and there is no extra cost. Depending upon the number of submissions, we may not have time to review them all. In order to be fair, we will have a blind drawing for pages/illustrations to be reviewed. In order to be in the drawing, you must comply with the formatting instructions:


Manuscript formatting: Double-spaced, 12-pt. type, one-inch margins, title, but no name. Begin at the middle of page with Chapter 1. Follow that with not more than 1/2 page of text. This is intended to replicate an actual book and focus on not only the text but the first page-turn effect. The manuscript can be picture book, middle grade or young adult fiction, or nonfiction. NOTE: If it is picture book, you do not need to have a chapter heading or start at the half page point. HOWEVER, please limit the submission to the first 150 first words.


Artwork formatting: Post cards or illustrations that fit on one page (un-crowded please).


All submissions will be returned.



Optional Book/Picture Book Critiques (See fee on registration form)

Manuscript critiques will be done by Susan Fletcher, Sarah Ellis, Kat Brzozowski, and Hawaii children’s writing professionals at assigned times on Conference Day (including after the conclusion of the day). Guidelines for submitting a manuscript for critique:

  • Format: double-spaced, 12-pt. type, one-inch margins, author’s name/title/page number on all pages.
  • Picture books: five-page maximum. Novels: five pages plus one-page summary.
  • No folders, binders, cardboard, plastic sheets.
  • No artwork except for author/illustrators submitting story with dummy.


Optional Portfolio Critiques (See fee on registration form)

Portfolio critiques will be done by a Hawaii children’s illustration professional at assigned times on Conference Day; bring portfolio to conference.




February 6, 2015:  Conference with manuscript critique. If we receive your registration and remittance payment after this date, there may be no way to accommodate your critique request.


February 20, 2014: Conference only with breakout selection (including portfolio critique). If we receive your registration and remittance payment after this date, we may not be able to guarantee a meal or accommodate a portfolio critique.


HUGE INCENTIVE: If you register and remit payment for the workshop and conference before February 1, 2015 you will be eligible for a drawing for a free critique. 


To register, send check payable to SCBWI-Hawaii (and manuscript for critique, if applicable) to:



4348 Waialae Ave., #493

Honolulu, HI 96816



Registration Packet AC 2015



Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators—Hawaii

Workshop and/or Conference Registration Form   

Friday March 6, 2015 and Saturday, March 7, 2015       



Name _______________________________________________________________




Phone        __________________     


Email         _____________________________________


Workshop fee (3/6/2015) (brown bag lunch)


___ SCBWI Member: $100               ___ Non-member: $130


Conference fee  (3/7/2015) (includes lunch)   


___ SCBWI member: $100                ___ Non-member: $130



Conference Day Choices:


Break-out Session Choice: (see schedule for session descriptions) Break out session assignments will be made in order of registration date. For the best chance of getting the session you want, please register early.


                                                  ___ A – Sarah Ellis 

                                                  ___ B – Susan Fletcher

                                                  ___ C – Kat Brzozowski



Optional Critiques: 


Manuscript Critique (with or without illustration dummy)


___ Member $30 each                         ___ Non-member $40 each


Manuscripts for critique must be sent in with registration.


Portfolio critique:  Bring portfolio to conference

___ Member:  $30                                    ___ Non-member:  $40