Why Attend a SCBWI Conference #2013AFCC

Why Attend an SCBWI Conference #2013afcc

Why attend a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference?

I’ve been writing picture book stories since I was a kid.

But it’s only been in the last couple of years that I have seriously pursued the craft of writing.

I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 and Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo.

I participated in Susanna Hill’s various writing prompts and contests.

I even took the plunge and joined TWO critique groups whose members are all 12x12ers…a local one and an online international one (love you all, guys!).

Every month I would read about different SCBWI conferences that people in this kidlit community had attended.

New York, Los Angeles…from coast-to-coast, writers and illustrators were sharing how fantastic it was to connect with others in the field. They gave peeks inside the educational sessions.  They urged people to GO!

So, I did! Last week I took a leap of faith and boarded a plane for…SINGAPORE…over 10,000 miles away…my FIRST INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT EVER!!!!

Why attend a SCBWI conference #2013afcc


The 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content was a SCBWI conference AND MORE! Five days of sessions, book launches and festive awards’ dinners, geared towards showcasing the exceptional content being created in the Pacific Rim countries and providing educational and entertaining presentations to help writers, illustrators, educators and parents.

Day One: Teacher’s Congress (Preschool, kindergarten and primary school educators, librarians, language specialists and parents)

Day Two: Parent’s Forum (Parents and children, librarians, preschool, kindergarten and primary school teachers…I gave a presentation on this day)

Day Three: Seminars (Writers, illustrators, industry professionals, librarians and bloggers…I was part of a panel on this day)

Day Four: Writers and Illustrators Conference (Writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians, translators, educators and other professionals related to children’s content…I was part of another panel on this day)

Day Five: Writers and Illustrators Conference and Media Summit (Same as above in addition to producers, animators, TV and film executives)

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my experiences.

One of my favorite sessions was GRABBING YOUR READER’S ATTENTION.

Do you wonder how to infuse your writing with the spark that will cause an editor to turn the page? Do you hope children will ask to hear your story over and over again?

why attend a SCBWI conference #2013afcc

Kathleen Ahrens, author, translator and SCBWI International Regional Advisor Chairperson, told us that we need LIGHTS! CONFLICT! ACTION! She said that our main character must MOAN.

  • Must do or get something
  • Obstacle to reaching goal
  • Action that moves the story forward
  • Negative results

Her presentation was inspired and inspiring! Oh, and one more thing…don’t forget to ADD EMOTION!

why attend a SCBWI conference #2013afcc

Candy Gourlay, author, blogger and literacy advocate, took us on the HERO’S JOURNEY. In an award-winning slide show, she gave us the basic elements that every story must have.

  • Character
  • Introduction to the hero’s ordinary world
  • Call to adventure that the hero at first refuses
  • Hero meets a wise old person, mentor or friend
  • Hero walks through the door of no return
  • More challenges
  • The suspense ordeal
  • Hero seizes the sword
  • Hero wins the prize

Candy showed how this formula has been used over and over again…Star Wars, Toy Story, Shrek. This is a presentation she uses for school visits…it is not surprising that she is a sought-after speaker. Oh, and two more tips from Candy: write what you know and write who you are!

This duo presentation was worth the trip…but there were so many more!

I hope you will come back for my next #2013AFCC excerpt.

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