Newsflash: The Editor to Deliver State of Industry Keynote

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The Editor is honored to deliver the state of the children’s book industry keynote at the SCBWI 42nd Summer Conference August 2-5. She will also teach an intensive and two breakouts, as well as do one-on-one critiques. Registration for the conference just opened up. For details, read today’s full post or go straight to the SCBWI conference home page.

Dear Readers…

I’ve been speaking, teaching, and critiquing at the Society of Children’s Books Writers & Illustrators annual conference for over a decade, and I always walk away from it inspired and enlightened. If you’re writing for young people and it’s within your ability to attend this year’s conference, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. SCBWI has lined up a knowledgeable faculty covering great topics. I’m honored to be among them. I’ll deliver the “Market Report: An Up-to-the-Minute State of the Industry” keynote, teach the intensive “How to Build Your Own Teenager: Techniques for Writing Believable MG/YA Characters,” and run two breakouts: “The Read-Aloud Factor: Achieving Rhythm without Relying on Rhyme in Picture Books” and “Setting, Wherefore Art Thou?: The Surprising Benefits and How-To’s of Setting in MG/YA Fiction.” Plus, I’m critiquing! Registration for the conference has just opened. If you attend, I hope you’ll introduce yourself to me.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. Is the “Setting” breakout about the ‘whys’ of setting? Or is it perpetuating the mis-definition of “wherefore” as “where”? 😉

    Congratulations on the Keynote!

    • You Shakespeare scholar, you! By having fun with one of the Bard of Avon’s most famous lines, I am indeed walking a fine line regarding his use of “wherefore” and the general public’s misinterpretation of it. That is, the play uses “wherefore” to mean “for what purpose?” rather than “where the heck are you?” but most people interpret it as the latter. But perhaps you’ll grant that I maintain my balance on the correct side of that line when I explain that setting is indeed about the ‘where’ of a story and in the breakout I do lament the absence of a strong setting in so many manuscripts these days (where’d it go, people?), but the focus of the breakout is very much on the purpose that the elements of the setting serve in storytelling. A strong setting figures directly into plot, influences characters’ word choice, affects pacing and tension, and provides subtext and ambiance. With today’s heavy emphasis on plot and characterization, too many aspiring teen/tween novelists are ignoring setting—–and sacrificing storytelling depth as a result. This breakout teaches writers to enhance their characterization and plot using the elements of strong setting. And it lets me have a little fun with words, meaning, and Shakespeare in my session title. Thanks for your playful challenge and for your good wishes about the keynote!

  2. It seems you’ll be very busy. The setting workshop sounds great. With so many books in first person, I feel that good setting description and using atmosphere to establish tone are a dying art. Have a great time! 🙂

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