Community Corner: What SCBWI Community Means to Us


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We asked attendees at Los Angeles Writers & Illustrators Day 2017 what the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators community means to them. From critique groups and partners on the journey to publishing to new lunch-friends and small-world connections, the day was full of smiles, introductions, and proof that a gaggle of introverts can build a thriving, dynamic community. As it turns out, we’re all just a big bunch of super supportive people who can’t get enough of each other! Here are just some of the things we heard: Continue reading

2016 Sue Alexander Service & Encouragement Award, Crystal Kite Award, and 2017 Writers & Illustrators Day contest winners


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While Writers & Illustrators Day on Feb. 25 gave attendees a roadmap for projects upcoming and in progress, it also was a day to honor the creative and volunteer success of SCBWI members. Read on to find out the winners of the Sue Alexander Service and Encouragement Award, Crystal Kite Awards and Writers & Illustrators Day writing and illustration contests.

The 2016 Sue Alexander Service and Encouragement Award, selected from member nominations and presented to an SCBWI member for outstanding volunteer service, went to Jill Tuckman, SCBWI-LA webmaster.

Jill-Tuckman-SASE2Here’s what Sally Jones Rogan, SCBWI-LA co-regional advisor, said when presenting the award: Continue reading

Lisa Cron: Story Coach’s Perspective, Writer’s & Illustrator’s Day Faculty


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Lisa-Cron-Photo-229x300Author and story coach Lisa Cron writes books for writers, but she doesn’t teach writing.

In her books Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence and its follow up Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere), Cron maintains that it’s not beautiful prose that captures readers, but the emotions driven by story.

“If beautiful writing is what we really crave, would 50 Shades of Grey have sold 100 million copies?” she asked during her keynote speech at Writers & Illustrators Day on Feb. 25.

Throughout her speech, she gave attendees a snapshot into the science behind storytelling that will help craft a work of fiction that is more than “a perfectly-penned ‘who cares?’”

“Writing is the handmaiden of story,” she said.

And what exactly is story?

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Ask an Editor: What is New Adult?



“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI memAskAnEditor_2bers submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Dear Editor – What is New Adult? How is it different from Young Adult?

—J.T., Los Angeles

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Illustrator’s Gallery: Annelouise Mahoney


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By Annelouise Mahoney

4Picture books are like little paper theaters inviting us to take a journey. When we provide a believable sense of space, we invite our readers to step into that world.

Environments are important to me. When I develop a character for a story, I think a lot about where the character lives, what their home looks like, and more importantly, why the character lives there. How does the environment serve the story? Does it set a mood, an atmosphere, a feeling of home, or uncertainty? The answers to these questions lead me to do lots of research to determine the particular elements needed to create a specific environment that suits the story. Continue reading

Writers & Illustrators Day 2017: Lynn Becker, An Illustrator’s Perspective


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WID-ByLynnBecker2Author and SCBWI member Lynn Becker reports on this year’s Writers & Illustrator’s Day.

This year, the Los Angeles Writers & Illustrators Day at the Skirball Cultural Center added a strong illustrator component to the mix. Along with a double dose of illustrator challenges and paid portfolio reviews, there were two breakout sessions specifically geared toward illuminating the intersection of picture book art and text. These presentations offered a chance for writers and illustrators alike to think about picture books as intertwined parts of a medium. Continue reading

Writers & Illustrators Day 2017: PB Rippey, A Writer’s Perspective


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WID3-PBRippeyAuthor and SCBWI member PB Rippey reports on this year’s Writers & Illustrator’s Day.

The Skirball Cultural Center, nestled in the Santa Monica mountains, presides serenely over the 405 freeway’s regular traffic jams, yet is removed from city chaos. Inside, a foyer of vaulted glass, contemporary murals and magical installation lighting exudes a calming aura—one absorbed by the friendly mob checking in to the annual Los Angeles Writers & Illustrators Day on Feb. 25. I sipped complimentary coffee and mingled with chatty strangers, feeling transported from Los Angeles to a rural writer’s retreat. Continue reading

Brian Won: Author/Illustrator Perspective, Writers & Illustrators Day Faculty


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Author/illustrator Brian Won was one of SCBWI’s 2016 Crystal Kite Award recipients and faculty for this year’s Los Angeles Writers & Illustrators Day, where he was a judge for the illustration contests and critiqued illustrator portfolios. He wore many hats–busboy, shoe salesman, library shelver, art director, and designer before making the leap to children’s books. Brian graduated from California’s Art Center College of Design with an honorary ninth term before co-founding National Television, a design and animation company. Read on for his insights and advice to author/illustrators and thoughts on illustrating for others as well as news about his current and upcoming projects!

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SCBWI Community Corner with Maria D. Laso and Dawne Knobbe


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The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a dynamic community of professionals and aspirings. Read on for Dawne Knobbe’s story, in memory of her friend Mari Lou, celebrating her publishing success and her life well-lived.

Don’t ever give up your book dreams. In the publishing world, anything is possible. Imagine signing your first contract with Scholastic. Impossible, you think? Here’s how it happened for my friend, Mari Lou. Continue reading

Sue Alexander Grant Contest Opens! Where Are Past Winners Now?


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By Marcelle Greene

awards-and-grantsThe 2017 Sue Alexander Grant contest opens today, offering one SCBWI-L.A. writer free tuition to the Working Writers Retreat. We asked five previous recipients of this prestigious award how winning impacted their writing careers. Continue reading