Category Archives: NESCBWI

The New England region was established in 1972 as the very first SCBWI region. For New England residents, membership in SCBWI automatically confers membership in one of the three New England regions at no additional fee: New England North (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), New England Central (Massachusetts), and New England South (Connecticut and Rhode Island).

NESCBWI: Encore! 2012

From: New England SCBWI
August 31, 2012 at 12:05AM

On Saturday October 20, SCBWI in Southern New England will host ENCORE! 2012, a day with four workshops by faculty who received high evaluations at our spring conference.

For this event, NE-SCBWI teams with the Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature (ASTAL) at Rhode Island College in Providence. The registration fee of $50 includes a continental breakfast and hot buffet lunch.

For information and a simple registration form, go to 2012Encore.pdf, print it, fill it out, and mail it in. For additional information on the workshops and presenters use the following links:

The registration deadline is October 15th.

NESCBWI: Illustration Symposium – 29 September 2012

From: New England SCBWI
August 27, 2012 at 09:01AM

Melissa Sweet
The 2nd annual
Children’s Book Illustration Symposium

When: Saturday, September 29, 2012
Time: 9:30-4:30
Where: Emma Blood French Auditorium (The French Building) on the New Hampshire Institute of Art campus in Manchester, NH.

Click here for a map.

Keynote speaker: Melissa Sweet

The workshops:

“The Process, Challenges, and Rewards of Teamwork.” 

Melissa Sweet, Author/Illustrator, Rachel Newborn, HMH Designer, Crystal Paquette, HMH Print Production Coordinator will discuss the teamwork required to publish the ALA Sibert Winning book Balloons Over Broadway. The panel will focus on the processes, challenges, and rewards of working with/and integrating two and three dimensional art. 
“Color Your World” 
As poet Lucille Clifton said, “The literature of America should reflect the children of America.” But in the 21st century, the children’s book field is not nearly as racially diverse as our society – neither in those who select, create and produce the books, nor in the books themselves. We’ll review some of the reasons for this reality, including some good news: research demonstrating that exposure to diverse children’s books can actually reduce prejudice. For the bulk of the workshop, Anne Sibley O’Brein will focus on what illustrators can do now, including exploring your own experience of race, creating characters from races different from your own, drawing racial differences (we’ll do some quick drawing exercises), supporting writers and illustrators of color, and choosing diverse books. Together we’ll imagine possibilities for creating books in which all of our nation’s children can see themselves reflected. 
“How to Sell Your Book Without Selling Your Soul” 
Brian Lies has had his books read on NPR, his Batmobile spotted at book signings across America, and his artwork used for public library summer reading programs. In this workshop, Brian will give you concrete marketing tools to become the best advocate for your book.

Portfolio Critiques:

We are introducing a limited number portfolio critiques at this year’s event. Critiquers (starred in the presenter list below) will be randomly assigned by the conference staff. Critiquers will use the SCBWI Illustration “gold form” to give feedback. Since the critiquer will not have the work before the symposium, we have asked them to give their first impressions regarding the areas on the “gold form” in a way they might if they were at the office, got a postcard that interested them, and took a first look at your online portfolio. The critique fee of $45 is not included in the symposium fee.


Registration Fees/Dates:

  • SCBWI Members, $70
  • Portfolio Critique, $45
  • SCBWI Registration opens Monday, August 27th. There are limited spaces available for portfolio critiques. Please register/pay early.

Payments may be made by check or online

If you choose to pay by check, your registration is not confirmed until we receive your check.
Checks should be made payable to: NESCBWI
Checks should be sent to:

Denise Ortakales, Illustrator Coordinator 
711 Shore Drive, Laconia, NH 03246

Those who choose to pay online will incur a $5 processing fee. 

NESCBWI: Overcoming Challenges: A Program for Writers and Illustrators

From: New England SCBWI
July 02, 2012 at 02:11PM

Saturday, October 6, 2013, 10:00 – 3:30
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA

Overcoming Challenges: A Program for Writers and Illustrators
Saturday, October 6, 2013, 10:00 – 3:30

Four authors and author-illustrators participate in a two-part program that addresses the challenges we all face as writers and illustrators of children’s book. A book sale and signing will round out the day.

Anna Dewdney lives in a very old house in Vermont. She has two daughters and three very muddy dogs. Anna is best known as the author/illustrator of the Llama Llama books, a series about the challenges of being a small person.

A lawyer by day and author/illustrator by night, Greg R. Fishbone is the author of two middle-grade novels: Penguins of Doom and Galaxy Games: The Challengers, the first book in a trilogy. Greg is also the NE-SCBWI webmaster.

Jeff Mack spent his early years in Upstate New York setting booby traps for his siblings and drawing monster comics on his math homework. Now in Western Massachusetts, he writes and draws children’s books full-time.

Nancy Poydar has illustrated more than 45 picture books and is the author of 16 titles. Before becoming an author -illustrator, Nancy was a classroom teacher for 14 years. Her influences include Little Lulu comic books and her grandchildren.

For additional information, directions, and registration form, click here.

Questions: Email

NESCBWI: 10 March 2012 Event on Working with a Book Marketing Consultant

From: New England SCBWI

Working with a Book Marketing Consultant

Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:00 – 3:15
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA

Working with a Book Marketing Consultant
Saturday, March 10, 2012, 10:00 – 3:15

Are you feeling unsure of your path after publication?
Do you wonder how best to handle the promotion of your book?

Many children’s book creators are supplementing their publisher’s book promotion efforts with the advice and tactics of marketing consultants. Is this the right step for you?

Listen to authors and illustrators discuss their relationship and work with their marketing partners, Deborah Sloan and Kirsten Cappy. Then ask question of your own.

For additional information and registration form, 2012-1 Carle Flyer.pdf.

Questions: Email

NESCBWI: 3 December 2011 Children’s Book Event at MIT

From: New England SCBWI

SCBWI member and President of The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, Mary Brigid Barrett, reports:

Please mark your calendars now for our upcoming event designed for everyone who loves literature for young people (and the authors and illustrators who create it!) titled “The Exquisite Conversation: An Adventure in Creating Books,” to be held Saturday, December 3 at 1:00 PM in the Kresge Auditorium (48 Massachusetts Avenue) at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This special presentation is co-sponsored by the Cambridge Public Library and The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

This lively and informative event will feature a panel of our nation’s most gifted storytellers and illustrators. A discussion of the rollicking episodic story game The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (Candlewick Press) will quickly evolve into a fascinating conversation about creative writing, narrative illustration, and the creative process! Who knows, we may even explore Andre Breton and the wild and crazy Surrealists who inspired our exquisite game!

The program will feature renowned authors and illustrators for young people Katherine Paterson (National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature), M.T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Susan Cooper, Timothy Basil Ering, Steven Kellogg, Patricia MacLachlan, and James Ransome in a roundtable discussion moderated by Mary Brigid Barrett, Executive Director of The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

The program is FREE and open to the public. The suggested audience includes young people (ages 10 and above) and adults who love children’s books. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new paperback for a child or teen to donate as a holiday gift to children and young adults in family shelters in Cambridge.

Books will be sold by Porter Square Books before and after the presentation. Autographing will follow the presentation.

Wine and Cheese Reception with the Authors and Special Guests!
Following the presentation, the NCBLA is hosting a ticketed, adults-only Wine and Cheese Reception with the authors and special guests! This is your opportunity to meet each of the participating authors and illustrators in an intimate setting—share a glass of wine with Katherine Paterson! Take your picture with Steven Kellogg! Ask each of our authors the questions you’ve always wondered about. Our entire “Exquisite Conversation” panel will be there to meet you: M. T. Anderson, Natalie Babbitt, Mary Brigid Barrett, Susan Cooper, Timothy Basil Ering, Steven Kellogg, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and James Ransome!

Also at the reception you won’t want to miss the Silent Auction, featuring an exciting and diverse collection of themed book baskets, manuscript critiques by editors at Candlewick Press and Houghton Mifflin, and a picture book critique by a senior partner at the esteemed literary agency Curtis Brown Ltd. The auction will also include an illustration by David Macaulay, a pastel painting by Katherine Paterson, and much MORE!

The Wine and Cheese Reception and Silent Auction will take place in Room 307 of the Stratton Center from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.

Limited tickets are available! Click here to buy your tickets today.

For complete information about the program and reception, including ticket purchases, please visit For directions, please visit

A flyer for this event is attached. Please feel free to print and distribute to all the children’s literature lovers you know!

To learn more about The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, click here.

Thanks! I look forward to seeing you there!

NESCBWI: Encore 2011 closed

From: New England SCBWI

The response to Encore! 2011 has been overwhelming and we have now reached the maximum number of attendees. We must close registration for this October 29th event, and anyone who registers now will be placed on a waiting list. If there are any cancellations, we will take people from the waiting list in the order they are received.

NESCBWI: Tu Books Call for Submissions

From: New England SCBWI

The Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books is reaching out to SCBWI members with this call for submissions:

Tu Books publishes speculative fiction for children and young adults featuring diverse characters and settings. Our focus is on well-told, exciting, adventurous fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novels featuring people of color set in worlds inspired by non-Western folklore or culture. We welcome Western settings if the main character is a person of color.

We are looking specifically for stories for both middle grade (ages 8-12) and young adult (ages 12-18) readers. (We are not looking for picture books, chapter books, or short stories. Please do not send submissions in these formats.)

For more information on how to submit, please see our submission guidelines at We are not accepting unagented email submissions at this time.

What we’re particularly interested in seeing lately: Asian steampunk, any African culture, contemporary African-American stories, Latino/a stories, First Nations/Native American/Aboriginal fantasy or science fiction written by tribal members, original postapocalyptic worlds, historical fantasy or mystery set in a non-Western setting.

We look forward to reading your book!

Look for The Challengers by our own Greg R. Fishbone on the debut Tu Books list this fall!

NESCBWI: Sing to Me, O Muse: 29 Oct 2011 Symposium

From: New England SCBWI

October 29, 2011, 10 am to 4 pm

Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138
Lecture Hall
(Floor L2)

Hosted by Children’s Literature New England, The Examined Life: Greek Studies in the Schools, and the Cambridge Public Library, SING TO ME, O MUSE derives from a colloquy and study tour in April 2011 in which American, British, and Canadian writers, illustrators, and educators visited Greece.

SING TO ME, O MUSE takes its title from the opening lines of The Odyssey, and will feature readings, talks, and performances highlighting the impact of the epic poems, myths, and legends of the ancient Greeks on childhood, literature, and society.

A remarkable chorus of artists, writers, storytellers, musicians, dancers, educators and students includes Gregory Maguire, Susan Cooper, Ashley Bryan, Sebastian Lockwood, Evi Gerokosta (on film), Tracy Barrett, Gareth Hinds, Jill Paton Walsh, John Rowe Townsend, Dr. John Pappas and his Metropolis of Boston Dance Group, Katherine Kleitz, Barbara Scotto, Martha Walke, Daryl Mark, Nora Tisel Farley, Connie Carven, Susan Flannery, and Barbara Harrison.

The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are required, and seating is limited. Please register for the event, by emailing Martha Walke at or by calling her at (802) 765-4935. In your message, include your name, email address, home phone and cell phone numbers.

NESCBWI: Jarrett J. Krosoczka workshop at Worcester Art Museum in October

From: New England SCBWI

Cover of "Punk Farm"

Cover of Punk Farm

Jarrett J. Krosoczka will be running a workshop on the business of children’s books and showcasing his art at the Worcester Art Museum from October 11 to November 13, 2011.  A celebration and book signing will take place on Sunday, October 23, from 1 to 4 PM.

Information for the workshop and for the exhibit reception is here.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka has been passionate about storytelling through words and pictures since he was a kid. He began his professional career by illustrating educational readers for a national publisher while still an undergraduate at Rhode Island School of Design. Then, just six months after graduation, Jarrett received his first contract for a trade book that he authored. Random House Children’s Books published Good Night, Monkey Boy on June 12, 2001 and Jarrett hasn’t stopped or slowed down since. He currently has ten picture books in print and is constantly adding new titles to the ever-expanding Lunch Lady graphic novel series. He is the two-time winner of the Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year in the Children’s Choice Book Awards and has seen his work recommended by national publications like Newsweek, The New York Times and USA Today. His Punk Farm and Lunch Lady series are both in development to be feature films. Jarrett is happily living out his childhood dream in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he resides with his wife and daughter and their pug, Ralph Macchio.

NESCBWI: Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival

From: New England SCBWI

Map of a municipality in Cheshire County, New ...

Image via Wikipedia

The 35th Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival is being held October 22nd in Keene, NH. This year’s speakers are Harry Bliss, Bryan Collier, E. B. Lewis, Melissa Sweet, and David Wiesner.. For information about the Festival and a registration form, go to and then click on “Festival Speakers;” on the home site is the downloadable registration form that can be mailed.

NESCBWI: Encore! 2011

From: New England SCBWI

On Saturday October 29, SCBWI in Southern New England will host ENCORE! 2011, a day of five workshops by faculty who received high evaluations at a previous conference.

For this event, SCBWI New England is teaming with the Alliance for the Study and Teaching of Adolescent Literature (ASTAL) at Rhode Island College in Providence. The registration fee of $50 includes a continental breakfast and hot buffet lunch.

For information and a simple registration form, 2011Encore.pdf, print it, fill it out, and mail it in. For additional information on the workshops and presenters use the following links: Workshops.pdf. Presenters.pdf. The registration deadline is October 15th.

NESCBWI: Overcoming Challenges: A Program for Writers, Illustrators, Educators

From: New England SCBWI

Saturday, October 1, 2011, 10:00 – 3:30
Danforth Museum of Art
123 Union Avenue, Framingham, MA

Overcoming Challenges: A Program for Writers, Illustrators, and Educators
Saturday, October 1, 2011, 10:00 – 3:30

Four children’s book creators participate in a two-part program that addresses the challenges they face as writers and illustrators. A book sale and signing will round out the day.

Jacqueline Davies has written four middle-grade novels and three picture books. Her newest title, The Lemonade Crime is a sequel to The Lemonade War, which was a Massachusetts Book Award Honor winner.

Newbery Honor-winning author Kathryn Lasky is both prolific and versatile. Her more than one hundreds books for children include nonfiction and picture books as well as historical fiction and fantasy novels.

During her celebrated career, children’ s book author Lois Lowry has explored such complex issues as racism, terminal illness, and the Holocaust. She won the Newbery Medal in 1990 for Number the Stars and again in 1994 for The Giver.

Billl Thomson has illustrated three picture books and is the creator of the award-winning
wordless picture book Chalk.

For additional information, directions, and registration form, click here.

Questions: Email

NESCBWI: NESCBWI 2011 Conference Thank Yous

From: New England SCBWI

Thanks to everyone who attended, presented, and volunteered for the NE-SCBWI 25th anniversary conference “Celebrating Milestones,” and a special thank you to those of you who took the time to fill out an online evaluation. We got over 300 evaluations, and they will help us choose programming for next year.

We promised a prize to one person who filled out an online application. The lucky winner is… Donna Ryan!

She won a discount to the 2012 conference.

If you didn’t yet fill out an evaluation and would still like to contribute, please do so here: before June 6.

Thanks again!

Kathryn Hulick and Greg Fishbone, 2011 Conference Co-Directors

NESCBWI: 2013 Regional Conference: Call for Proposals

From: New England SCBWI


The workshop committee of New England SCBWI welcomes proposals for the 2013 Spring conference, “Word by Word: The Art of Craft.”

The Art of craft is always at the forefront of a venue like ours. This year’s focus is on improving craft and honing skills in all areas of writing and illustrating. This conference is one of the largest regional SCBWI conferences and in years past, has sold out. We welcome proposals from everyone involved in the world of children’s writing and publishing.

We’d like to invite more intensive, hands-on workshops and advanced and master level studio proposals that focus on a specific aspect of the craft and would love to see more than one proposal from each you. Of course, larger lecture-style workshops are still welcome as well.

Important Information

Conference Dates: Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, May 3-5, 2013

Conference Location: Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, Springfield, MA

To Submit a Proposal: Please complete a conference proposal form.
Separate submissions are required for multiple presentations or workshop/intensive versions of the same presentation.

Proposal Due Date: August 27, 2012

Presenter Notification Expected: October 15, 2012

Types of Presentations: 55-minute workshops; 120-minute intensives; 180 studios w/15 minute break

We will give presenters who send in more than one, well-crafted and detailed proposal preferential consideration. Also, you may be asked to present your workshop twice during the conference.

NOTE: Be very specific when designating level of experience, pick only one level. (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, or Master)

55-minute workshops

What are we looking for?

  • Presentations that relate to our conference theme of Word-By-Word: The Art of Craft.
  • A wide range of craft related presentations for all SCBWI members, including illustrators and writers in all genres.
  • Be very specific when designating level of experience, pick only one level. (Beginner, Intermediate, advanced, or Master)
  • Leveled presentations. We are not trying to find one presentation that everyone can attend. Instead, presenters should direct material toward a specific experience level. For example, an “advanced” illustration presentation should not begin with “Why you should carry a sketch book,” and a “beginner’s” writing workshop should not address marketing a contracted novel.
  • Presentations that last 55 minutes in their entirety. When planning, leave time for participant questions and any required audiovisual setup.
  • Intensives that last 120 minutes and focus on specific pieces of the craft. i.e. story arc, character development, sex in YA, etc.
  • Focused presentations with clear learning outcomes. These should be clear, tangible “final products” that attendees take away. Plan the presentation thinking, “I want participants to leave with these tools or a real understanding of this piece of the craft.” A few examples: How to map out an in-depth revision, a step-by-step outline or map, creating a storyboard, A first draft of a non fiction proposal, how to develop initial sketches, etc.
  • Hands-on workshops where attendees spend significant time working on current writing, illustration, or marketing project so they can apply your presentation content to their own work.
  • Engaging lecture-style presentations filled with information that participants can take back to their desks to ponder and play with.
  • Presentations that include a range of examples. Attendees have expressed they want less presentations that draw solely from the presenter’s experience or body of work.
  • Presenters who are published members of SCBWI, as well as editors, agents, MFA graduates, and other industry professionals. Past presentation experience is appreciated.

120-minute intensives

Intensive proposals should meet all of the criteria listed above for 55-minute workshops. Also consider the following:

  • 120-minute intensives typically take place on Sunday, but there will be several slots for Saturday Advanced and Master level workshops.
  • Two hours are provided; so plan exercises or some interactive element in the workshop. An intensive should not only be a lecture.
  • Presentations that include a range of examples. Attendees have expressed they want less presentations that draw solely from the presenter’s experience or body of work.
  • Past presentation experience and in-depth knowledge of the topic are required.
  • Partner presentations are welcome.

Note: If you apply to present a 55-minute workshop or a 120-minute intensive and we feel your presentation may better fit the other format, we will let you know!

NOTE: Be very specific when designating level of experience, pick only one level. (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, or Master)

180-minute Studios

Studio proposals should meet all of the criteria listed above for both 55-minute and 120-minute workshops. But you must also consider the following:

  • 180-minute, 12 person studios will focus on Advanced and Master level authors.
  • Three hours are provided, so plan accordingly for intensive working sessions.
  • These include attendees submitting samples for you to review ahead of time.
  • Past presentation experience and in-depth knowledge of the topic are required.
  • Partner presentations are welcome as long as both are willing to work with a larger number of attendees. Total number in studio would be 24.

Note: If you apply to present a 55-minute workshop or a 120-minute intensive and we feel your presentation may better fit the other format, we will let you know!

Selection Criteria and Topics

Every year SCBWI New England receives many excellent proposals, more than can fit into a conference schedule. Therefore, we must choose on the basis of experience, quality, variety, novelty, attendant costs, and other factors. Please use the 2013 NESCBWI Workshop Rubric for more explicit selection criteria and standards.

We would love to see presentations on the following topics. If you are an expert on one of these topics, we would love to see your proposal.

  • Hands-on writing workshops that spotlight eleents of craft: outlining, story arc, tools, tips, character, dilogue, sketching, etc.
  • Hands-on illustration workshops
  • Publishing 201 session for intermediate authors or illustrators
  • Developing an idea from conception to completion
  • How to complete a Detailed Novel Outline
  • Secrets of Story Arc
  • How to lay out a picture book dummy
  • How to start your own publishing company
  • Gesture and emotion for illustrators
  • School and library visits and promotion
  • Grassroots Marketing strategies to libraries and other overlooked venues
  • Writing nonfiction articles and short stories
  • Mystery writing, organizing your mystery
  • Planning Out Clues
  • How to write chapter books
  • How to design an eBook

NESCBWI: On-The-Spot Critiques at NESCBWI 2012

From: New England SCBWI
April 14, 2012 at 10:55PM

This year, the NE SCBWI Conference is offering something new: on-the-spot critiques.

Not to be confused with agent quick query meetings or manuscript/portfolio critiques, this is a new and exciting platform for receiving feedback from an editor or agent. The On-the-Spot Critique Coordinator is standing by to help, so let us know if this FAQ doesn’t address all of your questions!

What is an on-the-spot critique?

An on-the-spot critique lasts fifteen minutes, the same as a standard critique. The only difference is the editor/agent will not receive your work ahead of time, or have the ability to offer a written critique. In real life, your submissions must garner interest immediately. So this is a rare opportunity to see if your writing can indeed capture a professional’s eye. If it doesn’t, find out why. Ask questions, and always keep in mind that everything is subjective.

How do I sign up?

At the registration table, please ask for Betsy or Shirley, and do come early!

Can we contact you earlier to reserve a spot, via e-mail?

Unfortunately, no. You must sign up during the conference weekend. Spots will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

What does it cost?

$40. Payable in cash, or a check made out to: SCBWI New England.

How many spaces are available?

I have secured 50 slots, all thanks to the generous editors and agents.

We are also offering the opportunity to connect with a children’s magazine editor…

This editor from a renowned magazine in the Cricket group edits non-fiction, historical fiction, and retold folktales. Don’t miss your chance to get feedback on writing for this market, especially if you have been told, “Great story, but it might be better suited for a magazine.”

Which editors and agents are participating?

When you sign up for an on-the-spot critique, we will provide you with a list of available editors and agents. A total of twelve editors, and six agents, have agreed to take on additional critiques. I was quite moved by the overall concern of the editors/agents, and how they want to give their best, especially when having to read and respond on the spot. In real life, submissions are read this way, so the ability to get instant feedback is priceless. Please, please be appreciative!

Who will I be assigned to?

I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with our attending editors/agents, and then list your top five choices. Because of last-minute changes, names will not be available until the day of the conference. But if there is a slot available, and your genre is a match, you will be assigned to a person of your choice. Another reason to sign up early for an on-the-spot critique!

How much will they be reading?

Bring five pages of a novel, an entire picture book manuscript, or a magazine article.

What about illustrator portfolios?

Illustrator portfolio critiques may be available as well. Please bring your portfolio and ask at the registration desk.

Rather than having them read my work, may I use the fifteen minutes to ask them questions about the industry?

Of course! We have a wonderful agent who would prefer this type of interaction. If you request a one-on-one discussion, do not whip out a manuscript.

If I’m already signed up for a critique, can I still partake in an on-the-spot critique? Perhaps with a professional I had hoped to meet?

Yes! And again, the earlier you sign up, the better your chances for getting your top choice!

Can I submit to whomever critiques my work?

This is up to the professional, so please do not sign up with the sole intention of getting a golden ticket. And don’t prod. It only gets in the way of your learning, and it puts the editor or agent in an awkward position. This is the last thing you want.

That said, all editors and agents at the conference have agreed to accept submissions from conference attendees after the conference weekend. Instructions will be provided at the conference on how to obtain these submission guidelines.

How can I make this a positive experience?

It’s all up to you! First, remember that the agent or editor is reading your work on the spot, knowing you are waiting, and perhaps, watching for a flicker of interest. Both sides are vulnerable to being uncomfortable, but the session does not have to go in this direction. Keep your attitude in check. Look within yourself for expectations. Be willing to learn. Open your heart and mind. Come prepared with a list of specific questions. Use your time effectively. While they are reading your material, go over your questions. Perhaps you’ve wondered whether your first line is effective? Do they think you grab the reader’s attention? Is your story clear from the beginning? Do they like your main character and why? Or why not?

When I sign up for a one-on-one critique, I usually choose a manuscript that needs work. I am there to learn. And when interest has been shown, it blows me away. I walk away, grateful to have a new tool, one which I can use with all my manuscripts.

So choose your portfolio artwork, five pages, full picture book, or magazine article wisely. Arrive with a smile. Come prepared with questions. Thank your mentor.

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