Conferences and Workshops

The page where we share our knowledge gained from conferences and workshops that we’re lucky enough to attend. If we can’t attend a conference/workshop but we hear about it from our friends around the web, we’ll post some insight here, too.

Upcoming Events:

Previously Attended:

MidAtlantic SCBWI 2015 


MidAtlantic SCBWI 2014

New Piece of Information:

The most important thing we took away from the conference that we thought we knew already:

One of the best parts of the trip:

Hanging out with Racquel and talking about writing and Black Fox! Also we were able to spend some time with Pam’s awesome agent, Sarah LaPolla. That was pretty amazing, too!

One of the worst parts of the trip:

When we had to drop Racquel off at the airport 😦 Also…picking her up, the guy who loved his job at the aiport would not allow us to wait for her, so we had to drive around the arrivals area over and over until Racquel came outside. That was annoying… Hey, are you all noticing a theme here??

James River Writers Conference 2014

New piece of information:

Jim Henson (yes, creator of The Muppets and Sesame Streets) had many words of wisdom to offer writers. Biographer Brian Jay Jones shared some insight that Jim Henson had that could be used by writers–among them were two key things that we took away:

“Give yourself permission to suck with the door shut.” Probably one of the best pieces of advice EVER. It’s okay to write that crappy line because that’s why we have that little thing called revision.

Have perseverance. It took Jim Henson TEN years to get The Muppets on the air. We’re still slogging away on this publishing journey but it WILL happen. We just have to believe it. Right?

The most important thing we took away from the conference that we thought we knew already:

We thought we had all we could take in terms of character motivation but we learned something new from author Scott W. Berg. He suggested thinking about power. When working on character motivation, think about using power. What kind of power does your character have? When, where do they use it? How & why do they use it? And a really neat question to think about: when don’t they use their power?

One of the best parts of the trip:

We were able to connect with Meg Medina and Lamar Giles, rock star YA writers from Virginia and also members of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Also, we always enjoy the First Pages session where agents and editors listen to first pages from manuscripts and offer their critiques on what worked and what needs to be tweaked.

One of the worst parts of the trip:

Two words: Scalloped. Potatoes.  More details? The JRW conference was pretty great this year. Besides the general annoyances (things like people asking specific questions about THEIR MANUSCRIPT, long lines in the women’s bathroom, etc.) the banquet style lunch included a glob of scalloped potatoes. But hey, if that’s all we can think of to complain about, we’d have to say it was a pretty good conference.


Taken from

Taken from

New piece of information:

Learning about the “tropes” for ending chapters or scenes with a BANG! from Lamar Giles (and also learning that he LIVES literally a few miles from us. Seriously, we HAVE to meet up with him for coffee/dinner/drinks or something…without seeming like total stalkers. And we need to definitely do a separate posts on how helpful those chapter/scenes endings likened to TV shows/movies has been for us with our writing.

The most important thing we took away from the conference that we thought we knew already:

Character development is harder than we thought. Through activities like role play you can truly get to know your character. One of our fave things was when we completed theater activities in a session with executive editor of Philomel Books, Jill Santopolo. We had to embody our character and do things such as tell two truths and a lie with other attendees at the conference. This forced us to really get to know our character and ask the hard questions like what motivates them?

One of the best parts of the trip:

Getting to hang out/know more about the lovely Jenn Baker.

One of the worst parts of the trip:

Tie between getting lost during a morning run and the travel. Ugh, the travel always sucks 😦

BEA 2014

New piece of information:

On the first day of BEA, go around to each booth, get their schedules of which books will be given out on which days and make your own schedule based on that (this is what we did and we ended up getting pretty much every book we wanted).

The most important thing we took away from the conference that we thought we knew already:

We really need to read Allegiant. Like yesterday. We sat in a panel where Veronica Roth talked with author, Alex London and literally had sweat pouring because we feared that either people around us would tell the ending or that the authors were going to say something to give it away. We don’t know how we still have managed to not  hear any spoilers yet…

One of the best parts of the trip:

Meeting Pam’s agent Sarah LaPolla–she is truly full of amazing! Also, hanging with our sister from another mister, Racquel Henry (check out her writing/coaching services website Writer’s Atelier here) and meeting up with Ghenet. Oh, and meeting Jenn Baker for the first time…getting ALL the books…spending time with Matt Ryan, our bro from another (well, we’d never call his mom the word that rhymes with that), seeing a Broadway show for the first time…wow, there were A LOT of good things during this trip!

One of the worst parts of the trip:

The traffic going into the city from our hotel in New Jersey. We mean, really? Oh and being SHUSHED on the bus when we were riding into the city…yes, we were told to be QUIET on a CITY BUS into NEW YORK CITY!


 See our post here


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