Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 November First Impressions Event

Our First Impressions Event was a wonderful success! Susan Kochan, Associate Editorial Director of Putnam Children's at Penguin Group USA and Jennie Dunham of the Dunham Literary, Inc. gave their first impression on our attendees first manuscript page or query letter on Saturday, November 15, 2014.  

Besides learning what to do and what not to do on your first page or query letter, attendees enjoyed fellowship by reuniting with past writer friends or conference colleagues over light refreshments.

Special submission information has been emailed to all conference attendees. Please follow the instructions regarding marking your envelope and note the submission deadline.

 "The First Impressions Event was a rousing success. So much helpful information and constructive critiques from Susan & Jennie." Doreen Tango Hampton, 2014 attendee.

Our next event will be June 13, 2015 at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Poughkeepsie. To receive updates about current or future conferences, sign up for our newsletter


Susan Kochan  and Jennie Dunham



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 Conference

The Children's Writers of the Hudson Valley held their second annual writer's conference at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Poughkeepsie on June 14, 2014. 

Jill Davis, Executive Editor, Katherine Tegen Books led the picture book workshop. She said get to know your character: who are they, where do they come from, where do they live, etc. She reviewed the picture book basics: the physical structure of a picture book, voice, rhythm, language, tone, page turns, universal experience and emotion. She also spoke on point of view, the rule of threes and playing with concepts and character.

The writing exercise involved mining your childhood memories to recall memories and objects and using some of those memories to write paragraphs.

Stacey Barney, Senior Editor, Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers led the novel writing workshop. Stacey reviewed the mechanics of novel revising: character, plot, setting, conflict, dialogue, voice, point of view, genre, writing style and mood. Each of the above topics were discussed and broken down further.

The writing exercise was to work in pairs and write a first page using the elements above and expand that to five pages.

Our closing speaker was Alan Katz who entertained us as only Alan Katz could. He sang several songs, shared some of his childhood experiences and his family history. Specifically, how he was told at every turn, "no one needs funny." His advice was to play with words, have fun with them, be all you can be, meet everyone you can and put your work everywhere you can. His closing words were anyone can "do funny."

Manuscripts were critiqued by Tracy Marchini off site. Attendees received their written critique when they checked in and had the opportunity to speak with Tracy during the conference.

Thank you Stacey Barney, Jill Davis, Alan Katz, Tracy Marchini, the CWHV team, Merritt Bookstore, Panera for delivering our lunches and our hard working attendees for another successful event.

 "Thank you for an excellent Children's Writers Conference. I found it both enjoyable and enlightening with lots of good ideas. My editor review by Tracy was also quite helpful and [an] incentive to keep writing." Catherine Cwiakala, 2014 attendee.

"Thank you for encouraging me to attend the young adult novel workshop with editor Stacey Barney. Just weeks before, I had decided to give up writing. I was done, and I didn't want to write anymore. During Stacey's workshop she not only presented the dynamics of writing a young adult novel, she offered how-to instructions. Her Powerpoint presentation was chocked full of writing ingredients from  types of genres, and dialogue to the high school five point plot.

During the workshop, I had the opportunity to discuss my first page with another participant, and actually crafted a query letter based Ms. Barney's guidance. Her workshop sparked my interest in revising my own novel, not just simply revising to revise, but specific revision: remove dialogue tags and quotes, check verb tense, remove overuse of phonetically spelled words. Ms. Barney coached, she guided, instructed, she did not lecture." Angela Hooks, 2014 attendee.



 Q&A with Stacey Barney and Jill  Davis
Tracy Marchini talking to an attendee during lunch

Closing remarks by Alan Katz