Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SCBWI WWA Mentorship Program 2018-2019

SCBWI WWA Mentorship Program 2018-2019 

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators of Western Washington is excited to announce the second annual mentorship program.

For a six-month period, writers and illustrators will work one-on-one with a published author to analyze every aspect of their manuscript and perfect their work for publication submissions.

Last year, the program accepted fourteen writers from our chapter. 

The mentees are: Lisa Cach Heideger, Linda Buck, Faith Conlon, Melissa Koosmann, Rebekah Hosman, Amy Poffenbarger, Sarah J. Mendonca, Kelly Rae Bahr, Maria Marshall, Shilpa Agarwal, Dawn Marie Hooks, Lenae Nofziger, Connor Desai, and Aubri Keleman. 

The mentors are: Dori Hillestad Butler, Kim Baker, Laurie Thompson, Lisa Owens, Lois Brandt, Peggy King Anderson, Jeanne Ryan, and Kevin Emerson.

Do you have a completed manuscript that needs help with revision? If yes, then do not miss out on the program announcement in May. More information coming soon!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Grupo de Crítica formación-- en Español!

An online critique group for writing in Spanish is forming thanks to a volunteer in Wales and La Cometa. We hope this can be the first of many other groups as there are Spanish speaking members all over the world. 

If you would like to participate in an ONLINE GROUP IN SPANISH, please contact the coordinator at SLC@SCBWI.ORG.

¡Escritura feliz!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Eastside Network Craft Book Club: The Magic Words with Cheryl Klein

Are you reading Cheryl Klein's The Magic Words this month? If so, come join the discussion! As a special treat, we will be skyping with Cheryl about her book during this meeting. Space is limited, so please RSVP to Dori Butler at Cheryl has asked to see the questions ahead of time, so if you have a question you'd like to ask Cheryl, please send that to Dori as well. She'll be forwarding questions on Feb. 26. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SCBWI revises anti-harassment policy

Recently, there has been a great deal of controversy about incidents of harassment that have occurred at SCBWI programs and events. It is of paramount importance to SCBWI that we maintain a welcoming and safe environment for all members of our community. 

We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment, discrimination and intimidation of any kind. To underscore that commitment, we have revised our anti-harassment policy to now contain a complete definition of what constitutes harassment, a code of conduct for all our events, a detailed and entirely new reporting procedure, and a list of sanctions for offenders. All members and faculty attending our events will be required to acknowledge this policy and adhere to it.

Please note our newly established direct email for reporting harassment concerns ( You can read the entire policy here

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sexual Harassment Within the Children's & YA Book Community

Anne Ursu, acclaimed middle grade novelist and 2012 Weekend on the Water faculty, recently put out a call on social media for personal experiences with sexual harassment within the children's and YA publishing world. Today, she shared her findings on the pervasive problem. Please take the time to read Anne's important post as we continue to work on maintaining a nurturing and safe community where writers and illustrators may grow and thrive.

For the record, we have zero tolerance for harassment within our region and community. Please let us know if there is ever any problem. In addition, SCBWI's official anti-harassment policy can be found here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February meeting this SATURDAY with Harold Underdown!

This month only we're bringing you our Monthly Meeting on Saturday, February 10,10am-12noon, Demaray Hall, SPU

Industry Low-Down with Harold Underdown
Join long-time children’s book editor Harold Underdown for a Q&A session filled with insider tips and techniques for success.

Register in advance if you plan to stay for Harold's masterclass on Editing Without an Editor- A Revision Tools Workshop, February 10, 1-5, Demaray Hall, SPU
This carefully condensed version of a Three-Day Workshop is set up to help you learn revision techniques to use on your manuscript. Harold Underdown of Kids Book Revisions will show how to use a variety of revision techniques and help you get more out of critique groups. More info here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Inside Story May 2018 applications open

Do you have a new book out? If so, you may be eligible to present at Inside Story, our SCBWI region's biannual celebration of new books. We invite our membership, area booksellers, teachers and librarians to come and hear two or three minute presentations from eligible PAL (Published and Listed) members. Deadline to apply is Friday, March 16, 2018.

Here are the event details:

Sunday, May 6, 2018 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Downtown Bellevue Library
1111 110th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

In order to present at our Spring Inside Story, you must be able to say "Yes!" to all of the following:

• You are a CURRENT SCBWI member at the PAL (published and listed) level and your profile at is updated to reflect this.

• You live in the official Western Washington region.

• Your publisher is on SCBWI’s list of recognized (traditional) PAL publishers. Check the list, if you're unsure.

Exception: If your self-published book is a continuation of a PAL published series and/or a Spark Award winner, you are still eligible to participate in Inside Story

• Your book is brand new (released between November 2017 and May 2018) and has never been published before. (Reprints and new editions do not qualify for Inside Story)

• Your book is readily available through normal trade channels (e.g., Baker & Taylor).

The application form is here. Please fill in all areas. You will hear back a week or two after the application deadline with further information.

If you're not planning to present this time around, please mark this event on your calendar anyway. You won’t want to miss it!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Upcoming events and classes- February and beyond

Network Events

Peninsula Network:

Multiple dates
SCBWI-WWA Peninsula Kidlit Critique Groups are forming! We have several sessions set up so that you can continue critiquing! Find your group! Discuss more meeting options. What happens after the Critique Road Show?
For illustrators and children’s book writers.Monday Feb. 5, 4:45 pm-6:45pm at the Charles Pink House, Port Townsend -Port Townsend LibraryThursday Feb. 22 4:45 pm- 6:45pm Charles Pink House, Port Townsend, Port Townsend LibraryThursday March 15, Jefferson County Library 5-8pmIf you would like to participate, bring 5-10 copies of a chapter 5-7 pages or soor copies of pb ms or illustrations/ dummy etc.

February 7The Peninsula Network meets up for a kid lit drink night at The Pourhouse, 7pm!

Northern Network:

February 7
Books We Love! As Valentine’s Day approaches, our hearts turn to love… of books! What are your favorite children's books? Picture books, middle grade stories, young adult literature, either current or from your childhood. Come share your favorites with us and find some new titles to explore. February 7, 7 pm, Bellingham Barnes & Noble (4900 Meridian Street). Questions? Email Rebecca Van Slyke at

Community Book Events

February 2
A.L. Collins (aka Ailynn), launches her new sci-fi middle grade, Redworld, at Brick & Mortar!

February 3
Special Story Time! with Kerri Kokias at Third Place Books in Seward Park

February 4
Story time and sing-along with Laura Veirs for Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten at Third Place Books at Seward Park

February 9
Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata talks about Checked at Third Place Books Lake Forest Park.

February 10
Join Elizabeth Rose Stanton and BUB for the Ballard Art Walk at Secret Garden!

February 10
Kevin John Scott launches Frederik Sandwich and the Earthquake that couldn't possibly be at Brick & Mortar Books

February 10
Story time with Kerri Kokias and Snow Sisters at Page 2 Books

February 11
Join our own Dana Sullivan at Brick & Mortar to launch My Red Velvet Cape! Not only is Dana launching his latest book, it's his birthday, too! Cake, crafts, and hijinks await. 

February 11
Janel Kolby launches her YA debut, Winterfolk, from Secret Garden! Kolby will also have an event at Elliott Bay on February 14th

February 17
Dana Sullivan flies over to Secret Garden with My Red Velvet Cape!

February 17
Special Story Time! with Wendy Wahman at Third Place Seward Park.

February 18
Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley have teamed up on a picture book! Join them as they launch Vincent Comes Home from Secret Garden

February 23
Stephen Wallenfels visits Seattle to talk about his newest, Bad Call, at University Bookstore.

February 24
J. Anderson Coats launches her newest middle grade novel, R is for Rebel, at University Bookstore

February 28
Tamora Pierce and Rachel Hartman in conversation with Lish McBride about Pierce's newest, Tempests and Slaughter, and more, at University Temple United via University Bookstore.

March 2
Inside Story chair Dori Butler launches King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth at Brick & Mortar

March 3
Dan Geimenhart crosses the mountains to visit Brick & Mortar for a talk and signing. 

March 10
Did you hear that Corinna Luyken won the PNBA Award for The Book of Mistakes? Come celebrate at Browsers Books! Cake and prizes! 

March 10
Joy McCullough makes her YA debut with Blood Water Paint. She'll be in conversation with Martha Brockenbrough at University Bookstore

March 11
The Whatsits-- Kevan Atteberry, Ben Clanton, Jennifer Mann, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, and Wendy Wahman talk all things picture book at Brick & Mortar

March 22
Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz makes his picture book debut with Islandborn. Signing line tickets available with preorder from Third Place Books.

Classes & Webinars

February 15
(Un)Stuck in the Middle webinar
Join Lorin Oberweger of Adams Literary Agency to learn how to handle the challenges associated with the middle of your novel. Lorin will help you vet your novel’s premise to make certain it’s sound, develop fully formed characters, and tackle pacing issues to help you understand when to slow the narrative and when to let it fly. Following the webinar, participants will also receive a special opportunity to submit to Lorin, who is otherwise closed to submissions. This webinar is sponsored by SCBWI Nebraska. February 15, 7-8:30 p.m. CST. Please click here for more information and to register. 

February 15 & 22
Lois Harris will be leading a Writing for Children: "D" is for Dummy class at Skagit Valley College in Mt. Vernon February 15th and 22nd, 6:30-8pm, $49. Register for 6089 CENGL by calling Community Education 360-416-7638. More information here.

February 22
In her webinar "A Master Class on Plot + 3-Act Structure," TV writer and YA author, Sheryl Scarborough, will discuss the 3-Act structure and how it can guide you as you write your draft and assist you as you revise. Sheryl will help you answer these and other crucial plot questions. Check out her "Suggested Reading List" (in the right-hand box on the Event Page) when you register. Sheryl will use these books to explain what successful authors have done right and how they did it. February 22, 2018, 7:30-9:00 CST, $15.00. Sponsored by SCBWI Dakotas. Click here to register or for more information.


February 12
Set your alarms for the Oscars of the children's and YA book world-- the ALA Youth Media Awards. Follow along as awards are announced in multiple categories, including the Newbery and Caldecott. Broadcast from Denver this year, the 2018 awards announcements start at 7 a.m, our time.

Events will be added periodically.  Did we miss something? 

Email us at

Double-check times and whatnot with bookstores before you set out for events. If you snap a great picture, tag us at @scbwiwwa on Instagram and/or Twitter, and we'll try to repost. If you have good news or an event coming up, let us know!
Support book culture.

Support independent bookstores and libraries.
Support authors.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why Do I Need an Editor? - A Q&A with Harold Underdown

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, long-time children's editor Harold Underdown will join us for a four-hour revision workshop titled Editing Without an Editor: A Revision Tools Workshop. He joins us here on the blog for a Q&A about the workshop and about revision.

JA: First of all, who is it for--beginners or more experienced writers?

HU: It's for both! The workshop covers the different stages and different ways to work on and revise a manuscript. I present appropriate techniques to use at different points, and a framework in which to understand them and modify them as needed.

Beginner or moderately experienced writers will find a range of new ideas and techniques, while published writers will benefit from a broad review and will encounter some new things along the way. It is a general course with a broad focus--which really is how Kid's Book Revisions designs all of our workshops and webinars and our retreat. From the feedback we've received over the years from those who take our workshops, this approach works.

JA: That sounds good, but why do writers need to learn to be their own editor? What's wrong
with sending in a manuscript when someone thinks it's ready?

HU: That question gets at one of the main reasons why I teach about revision. Though it's not true that in-house editors 'don't edit anymore,' it is true that the competition for publication is fierce, and
writers need to submit manuscripts to agents and/or editors that are as strong and polished as
they can make them.

It's difficult to be objective about one's own work, which is why we teach
the best ways to get feedback from others, methods to use to uncover big problems in a story,
and techniques to use to do the final polishing.

JA: That sounds like a lot of work. Why wouldn't writers just want to hire independent editors
like you to help them fix their manuscripts? And why are you offering up techniques that
make writers less likely to need your help?

HU: To start with your first question, an independent editor isn't going to rewrite a manuscript for
you, and you wouldn't want them to. They'll help a writer find problems, but they’ll still have to
do the work.

What we teach in the KBR workshops will save someone time and money and help
them get farther along on their own. We teach about revision because we like to teach, and we're
not concerned about undermining our market (as it were!). Writers will still need our services,
but we hope that they'll solve the easier problems themselves before they come to us.

JA: What about specific kinds of writers, such as writers of picture books of chapter books?
Will the workshop be helpful to them? And what about illustrators?

HU: Absolutely! This workshop is for anyone writing narrative, from picture book to YA, and that
includes narrative nonfiction as well. Some of the techniques work better at one end of the age
range than the other, but the workshop is designed to work with different kinds of manuscripts.

It's not aimed specifically at illustrators, but illustrators who are working on their own writing or
are interested in understanding the writing process will find it helpful.

What Others Have to Say

Two of our own Western Washington members had this to say about their experience working with Harold:

"Not only does Harold have a strong understanding of the industry, he’s an excellent teacher for writers. He helped me with specific and clear feedback on how to make my work better.”  - Michèle Griskey

"I took Harold’s revision workshop at Highlights a few years ago—it was full of insights as well as concrete, actionable suggestions for revising and improving my manuscripts. Highly recommend!" - Kathy Manchip

Sign Me Up!

For more information or to reserve your spot, visit our Harold Underdown event page. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Upcoming classes and a conference

Second Saturday Writing Workshop at Woodinville Library

Catch Laurie Thompson this Saturday, January 13th, at the Woodinville Library for a free workshop on Writing to Make a Difference

Illustrating Picture Books with Dana Sullivan

A new crash course at Green River College for the kid writer/illustrator in a hurry! Overview includes manuscript formatting, storyboards, making a book dummy and illustration techniques. Agents, editors and publishing also discussed. Great for any level of illustrator, from beginner to pro. Bring story ideas and one or two recent picture books you like. Details here.

Nonfiction Webinar

Lisa Owens is offering a webinar on researching your nonfiction children's book on February 28th. See more details here.

Southside Class

Al Rubeck is offering a beginner's course on writing for children in Maple Valley on March 6th and 13th. Topics include plot, character development, point of view, dialogue, marketing, and getting published. Short writing exercises are included as well as an instructor critique if desired. More information here

Al Rubeck has sold fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to children's magazines. He also teaches writing for children with the Kent Parks Dept. 

And Even More South

SCBWI Oregon's Spring Conference will be May 19th and 20th in Wilsonville (just south of Portland). Registration opens on February 5th

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Nonfiction Writer Meetings!

Nonfiction writers, grab your calendars! Lisa Owens, our nonfiction coordinator, has organized a slew of free, informal coffee meetings over the next few months around town. The first one is next week! All welcome. 

Nonfiction Writers' Coffee Klatch
Tuesday, January 17, 2018, at 7:00 PM
Crossroads Bellevue, 15600 NE 8th Street, Bellevue
Bring a recent NF-for-kids book to recommend.
Nonfiction Writers' Coffee Klatch
Friday, February 23, 2018, at 10:00 AM
SPL Central Library/Chocolati Cafe, 1000 4th Avenue, Seattle
Social time and visits to children's section/reference desk

Nonfiction Craft Book Talk
Saturday, March 24, 2018, at 10:00 AM
NoteWordies, 636 7th Ave, Kirkland
The Art of the Proposal by Eric Maisel

Nonfiction Writers' Coffee Klatch

Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at 10:00 AM
Third Place Commons, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park
Discussion: Narrative vs. expository nonfiction for kids

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

January SCBWI WWA Meeting w/ Michèle Griskey and Megan Kelso!

Happy New Year! Join us for the first meeting of 2018 on January 10, 7-9pm, at Demaray Hall at SPU.

Get Better with Michèle Griskey & Comics vs Illustration with Megan Kelso

Get Better
Join Michèle Griskey for a presentation focused on helping writers and illustrators develop a more objective view of their own work to improve their craft. Participants will learn how to evaluate their skills by asking specific questions about their strengths and areas for improvement. Participants can then gain skills and techniques to apply to their own creative processes to overcome barriers and improve their work.

Comics vs. Illustration
Megan Kelso is a drawer with over 25 years of experience in comics and illustration. She will share her thoughts on the differences and similarities in these two modes of expression. The similarities can be deceptive and the differences subtle; Megan will discuss the different strategies she employs to create effective work in both forms.