SCBWI Regional Conference 2016 in Miami

If you wonder what SCBWI means, I did, too, before joining years ago, when I started to write for children.

SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Although I have attended several SCBWI conferences in California, where the headquarters are based, it was my first in Florida and my first ever visit to Miami.

 

In no order of preference, this is what I like when I go to a SCBWI conference:

 

  • Crossing the path of an author I admire and love. I feel fortunate to have heard many great names of the American children’s literature since I joined the SCBWI. In Miami there was a mix of New York Times best-seller authors such as Michelle Hodkin and Jonathan Maberry (absolutely loved his presentation and generosity from day one to the last) and well known authors and illustrators such as Tammi Sauer and Debbie Ohi. Both are funny, full of energy and approchable.
  • Discovering an author and falling for her book. I was in luck in Miami since I fell for Christina Diaz Gonzalez and Kerry O’Malley Cerra’s works. I was drawn to their books before meeting them. They won me over when they spoke to the audience and to me, later on.
  • Listening to editors and agents who share their passion for stories, their aspirations and current needs. I used to work in a publishing house in France and I always feel a little stab of nostalgia when I hear these people talk about their jobs and how they have their authors’ backs. This is a world I love. In Miami we were spoiled. The selection was excellent. Perfect balance between editors and agents, representing all genres and readerships. Every single speaker was professional and yet approachable.
  • Attending workshops that focus on a writing aspect that I want to improve. I signed up for one about characters. The books I favor have often a big cast of characters. My current YA novel (work-in-progress) involves also several “people” who spend one summer together. The ninety minutes with the editor and about fifteen other writers were phenomenal. I left, aware of my challenges but also impatient to return to my story. That’s what we want, right? The second workshop focused on voice. Voice is the hardest writing component to describe. You just know what voice is when you’ve found it. I’m not too anxious about finding my main character’s voice because I “feel” that I got it.  Now, I also want each character to have her/his distinct voice. Like real people do, right?
  • Meeting other writers and illustrators. We are part of a weird family filled with members who spend hours in the company of people who don’t exist for real. We don’t need to know each other to understand each other. We share a common love for stories, told through words or drawings, sometimes both for the lucky few who can write and illustrate. We don’t need to talk much to know what we mean. We love to celebrate our successes and our failures together, because few people get why we are doing what we are doing and why we love it.
  • Leaving the conference, filled with renewed energy. A little like we feel on the first warm day after being cooped up during a long, cold snowy winter.
  • Adding a few hours to see beyond the conference rooms. I had never been as far south in the USA. It was cool to see a little bit of Miami and Key Largo, the upper tip of the Keys. I needed much more time to explore, so I’ll go back. For sure. Meanwhile, I snapped a few photos.

 

And this is for you, a little slice of southern beauty and sun to warm you up, wherever you are today.

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Comments

  1. Bev Broughton says:

    Happy travels! I have Town Hall tomorrow…so…of course…I think of you and the enjoyable times sharing the students with you.
    Bev Broughton

  2. Sounds fabulous, Evelyne! And you’re right – it’s great to come back inspired after these conferences. Glad you could enjoy and explore a bit of southern Florida, too!

    • That’s probably what remains when we’re back. The energy that keeps us doing what we like. And a visit to a new area is always a treat and a bonus for me. See you on your blog.

  3. Enjoy the conference 🙂

  4. This sounds like a wonderful, rewarding experience Evelyne that I’m sure will keep you inspired 🙂

  5. Beautiful pictures, and wonderful takeaways! I had such a great time, too. I’m so glad we were able to be there together.

  6. Thanks for the info! I was thinking about going to a SCBWI conference someday.

    • If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to sign up for one. Actually for a major inspiring moment, since you live close by, you could check out the Los Angeles one, first weekend of August. With the one in New York in February this is the largest and most renowned. But the small ones remain my favorite for the interaction with other writers, editors, agents and almost always an author I admire. California has a huge SCBWI presence through the entire state. I’m sure you’ll find something for you. See you on your blog, Jennifer.

  7. Very cool gallery! Thanks.

  8. Hello Evelyne, I have been following your blog for a while now and really enjoy it! I especially liked this one because I am also an author and illustrator of children’s picture books ( only one published so far) and a member of SCBWI. I attended my first SCBWI regional conference last fall in northern Virginia and it was such an inspiring experience. I could really relate to your comments that described it so much better than I could. I also relate to your blogs describing your expat experience, only mine was the flip side of yours. I am an American who lived in France for five years, only I knew no french when I arrived. Any way, I just wanted to say, I enjoy your blog and love that you include your own photographs!

  9. I love attending SCBWI conferences and workshops. It is always great to meet up with friends who share the same passion for writing and reading children’s books!

  10. lots of inspiration and enjoy Florida!!! 🙂

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