Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Working Writer’s Retreat

The Working Writer’s Retreat: Critique, Revise, Repeat

Focus on your writing

Polish your pages

Read for and network with acquiring editors and agents

Click here for information about the upcoming 2016 retreat

This intense critiquing weekend is held at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino. The dorm-style rooms provide two twin beds and bathroom, but NO internet access, landline telephones or TV. Some limited internet access is available in the main building. There are areas for gentle walks, a steep hill for the more adventurous, and a duck pond provides a place for quiet contemplation.

The retreat opens Friday at noon and consists of critique sessions, revision time, parties – including Saturday night karaoke – and culminates in a pitch session with four acquiring editors and agents. Our eight groups (five in each group) spend over an hour with each of four weekend faculty members. Revision time is factored into the schedule. A laptop is highly recommended.

Friday’s ‘First Page’ author panel – right after registration and announcements – starts your revision engine to kick off this incredible weekend, provides great practice for Sunday’s ‘First Page’ pitch session, and gives valuable feedback on your work before reading in front of our guest editors/agents. One extra acquiring editor/agent will also be present for Sunday’s ‘First Page’ session. The ‘First Page’ sessions involve however many words you can comfortably read aloud in about 1 1/2 minutes (roughly 200 words).

Schmoozing at night with complimentary wine, cheese, beverages, karaoke and of course chocolate is a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends in the writing community. Packaged snacks and hot beverages are available all weekend. Family-style meals provided, from Friday dinner to Sunday breakfast.

Registration opens mid-May – look for announcements online. This popular retreat sells out quickly – sometimes in the first 12 hours after registration opens. If you miss out and really want to attend, it’s important to join the wait list as cancellations are filled on a ‘first-come’ basis.

We offer the ‘Sue Alexander Grant’ for the Working Writer’s Retreat. This is a wonderful opportunity for SCBWI members to attend the Retreat for free. The grant applications are available in October. Click here for more details.