Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Full Novel Workshop

Date(s) - 11/16/2019
8:30 am - 4:15 pm

Baca Center
301 W. Bagdad Avenue - Round Rock, Texas 78664


Master the nuts and bolts of novels at our


Nov. 16, 2019

At this one-day event, you’ll learn about the main aspects of novel writing plus have guided writing time during which you can work on your own manuscripts with our acclaimed faculty. (Register below. SCBWI members login to get the lowest rate.) The covered topics include:

* Character Development/POV

* Setting/World-building

* Plot/Structure

* Revision Techniques

Our faculty includes four amazing authors and teachers: Cory Putman Oakes, Varsha Bajaj, Nikki Loftin and Jessica Lee Anderson. Read their bios below.


8:30 – 9: Registration

9 – 9:50: HOW TO RAISE A GOOD CHARACTER with Varsha Bajaj

Raising and nurturing your characters from conception to infancy and beyond.

Allowing them to speak to you, to other characters and to your reader so they shine and become as real as possible.

Who will your character have to be live the life and face the challenges that you have planned for him/her?

10 – 10:50: NEXT LEVEL WORLD BUILDING with Cory Putman Oakes

Does the setting in your current work-in-progress feel more like a 2D backdrop than a living, breathing space that interacts with your characters and helps move your plot? Don’t fret – help is here! In this session we’ll discuss all of the most important aspects of world building: the building process (it’s all in the details), strategies for introducing your world to your reader (while avoiding “information dumps”), ideas for helping your world and your main character interact (in ways that elevate them both), and trouble-shooting common mistakes. And if you think world building is just for fantasy or science fiction books, think again! Every book has a world. Contemporary worlds (such as schools, small towns, summer camps) have just as many nuances as fantasy worlds and require just as much attention from the author.

This session will have four parts:

  1. Creating Your World: Factors and techniques to consider when building your world
  2. Showing Off Your World: Strategies for translating the world onto the page
  3. Your World and Your Main Character: How to make the most of this oft-neglected relationship
  4. Trouble-Shooting: Common world building mistakes (and how to fix them)

GOAL: For each participant to take the world-building in their WIP to a new level through discussion, examples, and worksheets.

11:00 – 12:00: Writing time / consulting with faculty

12:45  – 1:40: A DEEP DESIRE TO BLOW THINGS UP: Delving into Plot and Structure with Nikki Loftin 

Have you ever despaired in the “mushy middle” of your novel? Ever trembled at the thought of coming up with a cohesive, appealing series of events for your manuscript, and wished for a handy guide to understanding how, when, where and why your story could best move forward?

In this session, you will explore the interplay of character with plot and structure in famous works and in your own. The goal is to discover different ways to understand these fundamental authorial choices, so that when you get stuck starting, or carrying through mid-manuscript, you have a guide to working out your plot problems without resorting to blowing everything up (unless that’s what your novel needs).

1:50 – 2:40: DIAMOND MINING & REFINING: Revision Strategies to Get Your Manuscript Shining with Jessica Lee Anderson 

Typing “The End” at the completion of a first draft is a major accomplishment, but it also is the beginning of the next step in the publication process which can be daunting, yet inevitable and essential: revision. In this workshop, we’ll dig into revision strategies to refine a manuscript to reveal the luster within.

2:45 – 3:45: Writing Time / consulting with faculty

3:45 – 4:15: Discussion & Q&A

Attendance costs $50 for SCBWI members, $75 for non-members. (SCBWI members login to get the lowest rate.) Breakfast and lunch are NOT included. Bring a brown bag lunch or get something locally then network with attendees.

Come learn, network and write with wonderful published kidlit authors.

Meet Our Faculty

Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of four novels including TRUDY, winner of the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, and her most recent novel, UNCERTAIN SUMMER. She’s published multiple chapter books and early readers for Rourke Educational Media which includes such titles as BROWNIES WITH BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, CASE OF FOUL PLAY ON A SCHOOL DAY, and TIME TO MOVE, PEACOCK. She’s also published fiction and nonfiction with Capstone, Heinemann, Pearson, Seedling Publications, Six Red Marbles, and a variety of magazines including Highlights for Children. Jessica graduated from Hollins University with a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature, and previously instructed at the Institute of Children’s Literature and St. Edward’s University. She lives near Austin, Texas with her husband, daughter, and toothless rat terrier.

Varsha Bajaj is the award-winning author of picture books and middle grade novels. Her middle grade novels are COUNT ME IN and ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD, which was shortlisted for the Cybils Award and included in the Spirit of Texas Reading program. Her picture books include THE HOME BUILDERS, and THIS IS OUR BABY, BORN TODAY, a Bank street Best Book.
She grew up in Mumbai, India and when she came to the United States to obtain her master’s degree, her adjustment to the country was aided by her awareness of the culture through books.

Nikki Loftin lives with her Scottish photographer husband just outside Austin, Texas, surrounded by dogs, cats, chickens, and rambunctious boys. She is the author of three middle grade novels, all published by Razorbill/Penguin: WISH GIRL, NIGHTINGALE’S NEST and THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY.

Cory Putman Oakes is a children’s book author from Austin, Texas. Her latest novel, THE SECOND BEST HAUNTED HOTEL ON MERCER STREET is due out in Fall 2020 from Abrams/Amulet. Cory is also the author of two other middle grade books, DINOSAUR BOY and DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS, and two young adult books, THE VEIL and WITCHTOWN. Cory is an ex-lawyer and when she’s not writing, she enjoys baking, and hanging out with her husband, their kids, their cats, and their one-eyed hedgehog named Professor Pickles.



Event Registration

General Information Required Fields*


Ticket Information

Full Novel Workshop Non-Member Ticket - $75.00
Full-price entrance. To get the lowest, discounted SCBWI member price, click here to join SCBWI before registering.

Full Novel Workshop Member Ticket - $50.00

This price is only available for SCBWI members.

Lowest price, discounted entrance fee for SCBWI members

The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy
To register for an SCBWI event, you are required to acknowledge our Anti-Harassment Policy.
Scroll to the bottom to read the policy.

You will then be able to click the checkbox indicating that you have read our policy.


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free environment for all of its members and will take any and all necessary steps to address and prevent harassment at events associated with SCBWI. Harassment under this policy may include verbal comments, written comments, displayed images, or behaviors such as intimidation, stalking, body policing, unwelcome photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention or advances, and bullying or coercion.


The SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy applies to all situations of harassment or intimidation at any SCBWI Event. An “SCBWI Event” is any event, meeting or activity that is authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager to be sponsored by, or affiliated with, SCBWI. SCBWI events may include, if properly authorized by an SCBWI Regional Manager, the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles, the Annual Winter Conference in New York, regional conferences, meetings and meet-ups. This SCBWI Member Anti-Harassment Policy also applies to “SCBWI On-Line Interactions,” which include communications and content posted on, or directed towards, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts or sent through any of the communication tools available on SCBWI’s website, SCBWI’s Social Media accounts under this policy include the official SCBWI accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn.



Code of Conduct

All participants in SCBWI Events and SCBWI On-Line Interactions, including faculty, staff, and attendees, are required to comply with the following anti-harassment code of conduct. The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits harassment, including but not limited to the following behaviors:

  • intimidation, stalking, or following.
  • Sustained disruption of talks or other events.
  • Inappropriate physical contact.
  • Unwelcome sexual attention.
  • Abusive verbal comments.
  • Quid pro quo– sexual harassment that occurs when one in an authority position requests sex or a sexual relationship in exchange for professional consideration or favors.
  • Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or reasonable and respectful critique made in good faith. SCBWI continues to welcome and appreciate presentation of appropriate controversial ideas, free speech, and creative artistic expression. SCBWI encourages members to hold one another accountable to the Code of Conduct as stated in this part of the Policy and to take the perspectives of others seriously when a disagreement arises.


Reporting Procedures

Any person who believes there has been a violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy can report the offense in one or all of the following ways:

  • Certain SCBWI Events, including the Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles and the Annual Winter Conference in New York, will designate one or more Safety Team Members who will be available during the conference to provide a safe space for members to report an incident. The Safety Team Member will report directly to the conference director or regional advisor in charge.
  • A complainant may submit a complaint under this policy to the Director of Community Marketing and Engagement, the Director of Illustration and Artist Programs and/or your Regional Manager.
  • SCBWI has a dedicated email address for reporting any potential incident of harassment under this policy. Anyone who chooses to report an incident can find the Anti-Harassment Report Form on the SCBWI website (About > Anti-Harassment) or use the following link: Reports should include the substance of the complaint, date, and whenever possible, a list of witnesses or a reference to the relevant URLs, if the offense occurred through an SCWBI On-Line Interaction.


SCBWI will investigate all complaints subject to the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy. If the policy applies, SCBWI will investigate the matter and take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to prevent a recurrence and protect the environment at SCWBI Events. If a complaint is made anonymously, please note that SCBWI will not be able to follow up on an anonymous report with the complainant directly, as SCBWI will not have contact information for the anonymous complainant. Moreover, anonymous complaints may hinder SCBWI’s ability to investigate the complaint.  SCBWI will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the complaint, to the extent possible.  However, complete confidentiality may not be possible in all circumstances.  SCBWI will make every attempt to respond to a named complainant in a timely fashion.

If appropriate, SCBWI may report the incident to local authorities.



The SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy prohibits retaliation against a member of the SCBWI community for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made under this policy. The sanctions for retaliation are the same sanctions available to address any other violation of the SCBWI Anti-Harassment Policy.



SCBWI takes all allegations of harassment seriously. Complaints will be investigated by SCWBI if they fall within the scope of SCWBI’s Anti-Harassment Policy. Depending on the results of the investigation, SCWBI will determine whether a sanction is appropriate.


Sanctions for faculty, speakers, staff or board members may include any of the following:


  • warning the party involved that the particular behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a temporary or permanent basis;
  • withholding of a contracted honorarium;
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements;
  • prohibition from future faculty appointments;
  • expulsion from SCBWI; and/or
  • removal from the Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, when appropriate.


Sanctions for attendees, members, and guests can include any of the following:

  • warning the party involved that specified behavior is inappropriate and must be ceased;
  • immediate removal from a particular event, without refund;
  • denial of access to SCBWI spaces and venues on a permanent or temporary basis;
  • termination of SCBWI membership, without refund; and/or
  • prohibition of future SCBWI membership.


If the conduct at issue involves one of SCBWI’s employees, SCBWI will handle utilize whatever corrective action is appropriate based on the result of the investigation and subject to SCBWI employment policies and practices.



SCBWI will make every reasonable effort to conduct all investigations into allegations of harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of all parties and witnesses. Notwithstanding the above, confidentiality is not absolute, and those with a legitimate business reason to know and be informed of the allegations will be so informed. Parties to the complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect the reputation of all parties involved.



If you wish to file a complaint or an anonymous complaint, CLICK HERE to access the Anti-harassment Report Form.


If you have questions regarding this policy, you may send an email to Please include the words "anti-harassment policy" in the subject line.

I have read and accepted the SCBWI Anti-Harassment policy.