Monday, March 12, 2018

Upcoming Spring Classes & Webinars

The English Department at Northwest University is excited to host Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval, on March 15 as part of our annual Faith in the Humanities Conference. She will give a keynote address at 8 p.m. in the Argue Health & Sciences Center Room 104. The conference is free and open to the public. Copies of Caraval will be available for purchase and signing at the event. More information here.

Settings Webinar via Montana SCBWI 
Building Worlds: A Setting Toolbox for Fantasy, Contemporary, and Everything In BetweenWednesday, April 4  -  6:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time(Webinar will be recorded if you can't attend it live)$15 Members, $35 Non-members

Join P&L author Kent Davis (A Riddle in Ruby trilogy, Harper/Greenwillow) for a fun, fast-paced, interactive, idea-packed exploration of crafting a singular, authentic, vibrant world for your story. Participants will investigate concepts and exercises designed to discover and hone in on the essential qualities of your setting, equally viable for the most magical of throne rooms or the most realistic of lunch rooms. 
Here's the link for more details and to register.

Picture Book Webinars, hosted by the SCBWI Dakotas region (Members outside of the Dakotas welcome).

Join picture book illustrator/author and graphic novelist Matt Faulkner for an illustration webinar. He will address the core issues in developing an illustrative style that catches the eye and captures the heart! He’ll share information on designing dynamic characters and environments, developing a sketch process that yields an underlying structure for final art, creating a dummy layout that expresses the written narrative, and understanding and applying the essential qualities of color.
DATE: April 9, 2018, 7:30PM-9PM Central
Cost: $15
More information and registration.
In this webinar, picture book author/illustrator Matt Faulkner will focus on constructing the three core avenues to crafting your story: weaving enticing plots, breathing life into believable characters and developing compelling settings. 
 DATE: April 16, 2018, 7:30PM-9PM Central
Cost: $15
More information and registration.

Writing Children's Books
with Rebecca Van Slyke through Whatcom Community College
April 17 - May 8, 2018
Tuesdays : 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
6.00 (Clock hours available!)
Village Books & Paper Dreams in Lynden
Rebecca Van Slyke
Register online, by mail, or by phone:
Whatcom Community College
Attn: Business Office
237 W. Kellogg Road
Bellingham, WA, 98226

Have you ever wanted to write a children's book, but weren't sure where to start? We'll look at requirements for children's books, the process of publication, share our work in a friendly critique-group style, and talk about revision. Come find out what it takes to be a successful children's writer. Feel free to bring a current manuscript. Rebecca Van Slyke is an author and illustrator with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Writing Children's Picture Books
with Jennifer Mann
at Barn on Bainbridge Island, Wednesday nights, May 2-23
In this 4 session class, you will explore the genre of picture books via classic and contemporary examples, with a focus on current publishing preferences and practices. 
Your look at this unique literary form will cover topics such as narrative structure, character development, word choice, the relationship between words and images, developing a story, thumbnails and book dummies, steps to finding an agent and publication, joining critique groups and professional organizations. A portion of each class, except the first, will be devoted to sharing and critiquing student projects. 

More information and registration here

Hugo House Spring Courses
And registration is open for workshops on a variety of writing topics at Hugo House throughout the spring. Check it out

Double check times and dates before setting out. If you have a class or event you'd like to share with the community, let us know with at least a week's notice at 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Anait Semirdzhyan: Featured Illustrator

Anait Semirdzhyan is our Featured Illustrator for March! Anait moved to Seattle with her husband and twin girls from Armenia in 2012. She majored in Economics, never planned to make a profession out of illustration but kept it as a hobby. In the last four years, people started noticing her illustrations as she continually raised the bar with her work, and it became much more than just a hobby. She now dedicates all her time to illustration and is currently looking to get signed with a traditional publisher.

Can you briefly explain your creative process, favorite mediums, etc?
My favorite tools are pen, ink and watercolor.

My process starts from sketching with a pencil, then I outline everything with a Micron pen or a regular dip pen and color it with watercolor. Sometimes I use colored pencils as a touch-up, to give some texture to my drawing. Then I scan my art and, if needed, edit it in Photoshop. I do color my line art digitally sometimes, it's fun, but I definitely prefer traditional media.

Where do you find your ideas? Do you have a process?
When drawing something for fun I usually start without any roughs, right away on watercolor paper, and I don't know what it is going to be at the end, some kind of improvisation. Those are my favorite works. When I'm asked to illustrate something, I start drawing lots of thumbnails to find the idea, composition, etc. Searching for reference images on Internet works well too.

How do you deal with creative blocks?
I force myself to sketch something every day and just work through the block. I wish I knew a better recipe!

Who are your illustrator heroes?
Oh, so many of them, but my top 5, in no particular order, are Norman Rockwell, Lisbeth Zwerger, David Small, Erin E. Stead, Eric and Terry Fan.

Did you have any favorite children’s books as a child?
I grew up on Soviet children's books and European fairy tales. Poems and tales by Korney Chukovsky were my favorites when I was a preschooler. When I grew up it was The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry.

What’s inspiring you and your work right now?
It could be a beautiful movie, a person at the street, some funny situation, and even my own mood. My critique group inspires me a lot too, ever since I joined it a few months back. Every time after our monthly meetings I'm full of ideas and itch to work.

Any words of wisdom you want to share?
Draw every day! Enroll in a critique group (thanks, SCBWI, for all the help and support in the last couple of years), and use social media, this is the best way to stay connected to other illustrators all over the world.

Thank you, Anait!
You can view Anait Semirdzhyan’s portfolio at or follow her on Instagram at

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Upcoming SCBWI WWA Meetings and Network Events!

Northern Network

In the Beginning...

First impressions count, both in meeting new people, and for our readers who are meeting our books. This month we’ll look at crafting strong story beginnings. What are some ways we can hook our readers (and editors!) from the very first page, inviting them into investing their time in our stories?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 7:00 p.m. at The Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4099 Meridian Street)
Questions? Email Rebecca at

Critique Group Road Show

Are you looking for a critique group to help you get your writing to the next level? We’ve got you covered! The Critique Group Road Show is back with two spring dates:

March 28, 6-9pm, Spotted Cow, Mill Creek (15118 Main St #700, Mill Creek, WA 98012)

April 18, 7-10pm, Southcenter DoubleTree (16500 Southcenter Pkwy, Seattle, WA 98188)

These meetings are free of charge and will give you a chance to try out Mark & Donna’s recipe for critique group success. Come meet other SCBWI members looking for critique groups. Bring 10 paper copies of your first chapter, and come ready to read and critique with your peers!

Peninsula Network

The Peninsula Network meets up for a Kid Lit Drink Night at a new location on March 10! All are welcome to join from 6:30 on at The Old Whiskey Mill in Port Townsend. Meet behind the bar near the fireplace.

Upcoming Southern Network Events

Book Trailer workshop hosted by local Illustrator and Author Mindy Dwyer
Saturday, May 5th at The Evergreen State College

Kid Lit Drink Night and First Pages Event with a panel of local PAL Authors and Illustrators
Saturday Jun 9th (location to be announced)
Deadline for entries: May 26th

Kid Lit Movie Night
A selected viewing of Illustrator-in-workshop shorts or a Lit-themed full length motion picture (outdoor viewing - weather permitted)
Sat Jul 7 - location to be announced.
Contact Tony Dorrough at for more details

And don't miss our monthly meeting March 14th!

Monday, March 5, 2018

March SCBWI WWA Meeting with Laura Moe!

March 14, 7-9pm, Bellevue College – Objective Correlative with Laura Moe
Objective Correlative: What All Great Poems and Stories share
The objective correlative sets an adequate tale or poem apart from extraordinary one, where the personal becomes universal through the use of objects, setting, and other details to evoke an ineffable emotional response from the reader. It helps your readers fall in love with you.
In her presentation, Laura Moe will use classic and contemporary children's literature to demonstrate how authors employ objective correlative. In addition, she will demonstrate how using the objective correlative can help authors amp up the writing at critical scenes to create emotional engagement, use detail to “show don't tell,”  and move the text from abstract to concrete.

Where: Bellevue College, Paccar Auditorium in Building N, Room 201. Building N is on Coal Creek Road near the South Entrance (corner of Coal Creek Road and Snoqualmie River Road). Parking is free after 5 pm except where noted by signs. Closest parking lots are Lot 13 and 14.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Opportunities Abound: Awards, Teaching Gigs, Magazine Submissions

Sno-Isle Libraries Call for Proposals

Sno-Isle Libraries is entering our third year of offering our popular Write Now series in our 23 libraries. We’ve taken a bit of an analysis of our offerings and customer interest, and we would like to add additional classes aimed at adult writers writing for a youth audience. We currently have a few SCBWI members on our roster including Deb Lund, J. Anderson Coats, and Lisa Mantchev. I’m hoping that you will be willing to share our call for proposals with your members. We’re looking to add around five additional classes, but that number is flexible. We do pay instructors for classes, although, obviously since we’re a public library it’s by no means lucrative.

Proposals should be submitted via this link.
We’ll begin to review proposals on March 12.

SCBWI Book Award Deadlines Approach!

New Calls for Submission!
Cricket Media Seeks Submissions for our 
Award-Winning Children's Magazines
Good morning,
The editors at Cricket Media are delighted to share our latest calls for submissions, and we hope that you'll be willing to share them with your SCBWI Chapter. While we accept general submissions year-round, we're hoping to see some great new pieces on these topics in the coming months. 
Cricket Media seeks fiction, non-fiction, folktales, and poetry for our literary magazines for children and teens: Babybug (ages 0-3), Ladybug (ages 3-6), Spider (ages 6-9), Cricket (ages 9-14), and Cicada (ages 14 and up). Especially welcome are works by LGBTQIA+ writers/artists, writers/artists with disabilities, and writers/artists of color. We are sensitive to issues of cultural appropriation and misrepresentation.

Read on for our latest calls for submissions, and visit for more details.
Call for Submissions: Dragons
Deadline: March 15, 2018
Spider (for ages 6-9) is looking for stories, poetry, activities, and nonfiction exploring the theme of Dragons and Magic. Calling all dragons! We want big dragons, small dragons, serpent-like dragons, Viking dragons, gold-hoarding dragons, dragons that breath fire or ice, swimming dragons, flying dragons, burrowing dragons, fierce dragons, timid dragons, nice dragons, and even wannabe dragons. Send your traditional tales, but also stories with a creative contemporary spin. 
Call for Submissions: Family
Deadline: April 13, 2018

Cicada (for ages 14+) seeks fiction, poetry, comics, and essays on the theme of Family. We want to see honest works exploring all aspects of family life, whether it be family by relation or a family of choice. What connects a family? What might break it apart? How do we define family? In what ways do our familial connections heal or harm us? We are especially interested in works depicting found families and other nontraditional or nonnuclear families—show us how the family you build can be just as strong as (or stronger than!) the one you are born with.
Call for Submissions: Over the Rainbow
Deadline: April 15, 2018
Spider (for ages 6-9) and Ladybug (for ages 3-6) are looking for LGBTQAI+ inclusive fiction, poetry, and non-fiction manuscripts. We would like to see warm family stories, an entire story without gender pronouns, children with different gender expressions, and gentle realistic or metaphorical coming out stories. We are especially interested in matter-of-fact stories where being different isn’t the heart of the story, but part of the character’s identity.
Call for Submissions: It’s Magic
Deadline: April 15, 2018

Ladybug (for ages 3-6) is looking for magical short stories, retellings of folk and fairy tales, rebus stories, action rhymes, riddles, and songs. Tell us about enchanted keys, magicians, and talking animals, or share strange-but-true stories that would seem magical to a young child. Stories should have childlike points of view and simple yet strong plots; they need to be short, too (under 800 words). When reading submissions, we look for playfulness, humor, and a sense of wonder.
Call for Submissions: Endless Summer
Deadline: May 15, 2018

Cricket (for ages 9-14) seeks middle-grade fiction, nonfiction, poetry, recipes, and activities for our summer issues.  We’re looking for stories of less than 1,800 words about neighborhood adventures; new or unexpected friendships; summer jobs and attempts to earn money; beach holidays, summer camps, and sports teams; surprising encounters with nature; as well as fireworks, family trips, and long afternoons at the library. Submissions can be light or serious, but should have appealing, well-drawn characters and solid plots. Humor is always welcome.
Call for Submissions: Inventions
Deadline: May 15, 2018
Spider (for ages 6-9) is looking for fiction, nonfiction, poetry, activities, crafts, and recipes for the theme Inventions. Send us stories about objects or gadgets that intrigued you as a kid or that intrigue kids you know. Write about the origin of a toy, secret code or language, special technique or process, game or puzzle, school supply, musical instrument, or lesser-known technology. We’re interested in the gross and weird, silly and useless, and even fictional inventions. Especially welcome: works about inventions by kid inventors, women, and people of color. Please provide a source list if your submission is nonfiction.
Call for Submissions: Tell Me More
Deadline: May 15, 2018

Ladybug (for ages 3-6) seeks simple, compelling explorations of the young child’s world. Introduce our readers to a kid who lives in an unusual home, share a cultural tradition you know well, explore a new city with them, describe a cool invention, or tell them a story about an intriguing animal or ecosystem. We’re looking for writing attuned to a young child’s interests and capacity for joy and wonder. We accept narrative nonfiction (to 800 words), nonfiction (to 400 words) poetry (to 20 lines), and activities. Please include a source list.
Click here for a printable PDF of these and even more upcoming calls for submissions
Download PDF Version