Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Revision Workshop

Date(s) - 11/14/2020 - 11/22/2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Taking Your Manuscript—Wherever It Is Now—to the Next Level

A one-or two-part Zoom workshop with Harold Underdown,
children’s book editor and revision expert.


Saturday, November 14, 2020
9:00am – 10:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm

Plus an optional intensive:
Sunday, November 22, 2020
9:00am – 10:00am
11:00am – 12:00pm

This revision workshop is for anyone who has a manuscript* that needs work to get to the next level, whether that means from rough draft to solid draft, or from solid draft to finished draft. You’ll learn techniques you’ll use now on that manuscript, techniques you’ll be able to turn to in the future, and gain an understanding of the revision process itself.

*Workshop manuscripts should be in narrative form, be that picture book, early reader, chapter book, novel, or narrative nonfiction, for you to get the most from this workshop.
Some, but not all, of the techniques will also be usable with concept books, expository nonfiction, or poetry.

In the first part of the workshop on Saturday, the 14th, Harold will introduce several revision tools and techniques in each of two, one-hour segments. The first focuses on “big-picture” issues such as plot or character problems. The second hour looks at ways to polish a nearly-done manuscript on your own. Overall, Harold will provide you with a framework to help you think about revision and where you are in the process. Handouts and recommended resources will be provided.

Many attendees will reach a stage that enables them to go off and work on their own. Those that choose to go on to the intensive on Sunday, the 22nd, will be invited to send Harold two of these three items:

1. Your work with a particular tool
2. Pages from your manuscript after revising it
3. Your questions or comments or discoveries

Harold will build the second part around these student submissions, and undertakes to give everyone who submits materials to him a response, either directly or during the online class. Submissions will be due by Wednesday, November 18th.

Students who take both parts of the workshop are also eligible to request a paid manuscript critique of up to 15 pages, or the full manuscript if under 15 pages. Harold will work on the critiques in the weeks following the workshop and will provide his invaluable feedback in writing.

Harold Underdown

Harold Underdown is an independent editor and publishing consultant; he does critiques, helps to develop manuscripts, does strategic consulting, and provides other services for individuals and publishers.

Harold enjoys teaching, and in that role wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Children’s Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs “The Purple Crayon,” a respected web site with information about the children’s publishing world at He speaks and gives workshops through the Highlights Foundation, SCBWI’s national and regional conferences, and Kid’s Book Revisions (offering online and on-site tutorials, webinars, retreats, and workshops in partnership with Eileen Robinson:

As an in-house editor, he has worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing.


Saturday, November 14th only: $30
Saturday, November 14th and Sunday, November 22nd: $60
15 page manuscript review (available only to those attending both sessions): $55

This event is open to SCBWI members only
No refunds
This event will not be recorded

Registration for this event is now closed.