1 March 2019 | Uncategorised

SCBWI conference 2019

Lovely blog readers, my head and heart are full indeed. Both are full of shiny gems of knowledge, creative ideas and wonderful connections. I’ve spent four days in Sydney for the final part of Kate Forsyth’s Story Doctor course and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference.

As with any industry, it’s fabulous to talk shop with like-minded people. The other participants in Kate’s course were wonderful and I met lots of creative people at SCBWI. We discussed matters from social media, picture book illustrations, honing pitches and much, much more.

Kate discussed dialogue in her course, and I attended a masterclass on dialogue at the SCBWI conference with Zoe Walton, a Penguin Random House editor. Kate uses a different-coloured highlighter for each character to highlight their speech. This makes it easier for her to identify any anomalies – a seventy-year-old character is unlikely to say, ‘Yeah, nah, all good,’ while this might be usual speech for a thirteen-year-old character.

Zoe suggested we think about the actions we use to describe our characters while they’re talking. Actions are important – you don’t want two talking heads without context! But it’s also essential to avoid characters who are continually nodding their heads, biting their nails or sighing!

And I met with a publisher who liked my work! She has asked to see my full manuscript when I’ve finished editing (taking in all of Kate’s sage advice) in a couple of months.

And now, it’s back to reality with a proofreading job coming in next week, a memoir for a client to edit and three children who like to eat something other than a ten-minute pasta or sushi.

Ovarian cancer day



So pleased you enjoyed and benefitted from the seminar. Being with like-minded people and talented peers will always encourage you to continue with your dreams.
Onwards and upwards Karen.

March 1, 2019 at 7:36 am


Karen, it sounds like you’ve had a wonderful and inspirational time.
Your life is so full of interesting work that you love so much.
Good luck with the publishing of your new manuscript.

March 1, 2019 at 8:56 am

Colleen Warfield

Go girl, good luck,♥️

March 1, 2019 at 9:19 am

Terri Dixon

Your family won’t starve, Karen! Concentrate on your writing.


March 1, 2019 at 11:24 am


Karen, I admire your dedication and commitment – I’m sure it will all pay off before long!

March 1, 2019 at 11:44 am


It was great to chat at the SCBWI Conference, also got so much out of Zoe Walton’s dialogue class! The Kate Forsyth workshop sounds excellent and so worthwhile, too.

March 1, 2019 at 12:02 pm


Ooh, that sounds promising on the manuscript! Fingers crossed!

March 1, 2019 at 7:34 pm


It was an honour to share a part of this incredible literary adventure with you Karen. Actions are so important as you say and you are a woman of action. I love that about you.

March 3, 2019 at 8:36 pm

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