Marcia Strykowski

ENCORE 2014

Rhode Island College campus

Rhode Island College campus

It was a beautiful day at Rhode Island College for the 8th annual ENCORE event. Due to overwhelming attendance and interest in the NESCBWI yearly spring conferences, a special one day workshop is added on a few months later. Five of the most popular workshops from the big conference are presented. The function room and parking were both comfortable and convenient, and breakfast awaited us upon arrival. Emcee Sally Riley did a great job introducing everyone. I’d guess about 100 participants gathered for the following fascinating workshops:

First, writer and editor J. L. Bell discussed the physics of a fast-paced story in Building Narrative Momentum. We learned about stronger openings, adding conflict and tension, and attaching emotional weight. Who knew that p = mv?

Second was picture book pro Janet Lawler who taught us how to get those word counts down and let illustrators help tell our stories. After hearing Janet’s talk, I’m inspired to chop!

Sally Riley & Mark Peter Hughes get ready for Act 3

Sally Riley & Mark Peter Hughes get ready for Act 3

Then we broke for a hot buffet lunch. I eat gluten-free, so I didn’t partake, but it looked delicious. Throughout the breaks there were plenty of books to buy and have autographed.

After lunch, award-winning novelist Mark Peter Hughes started us off with an energetic discussion about creating and maintaining suspense for more effective stories.

Mark Peter Hughes

Mark Peter Hughes

Next up was Kendra Levin, Penguin senior editor. She had us step outside our comfort zones. Literally. We got up, switched tables, and wrote genres and point-of-views we weren’t used to trying. (Surprisingly fun!) This was the one workshop I’d actually been to before at the bigger conference, but Kendra changed it up enough to make it seem new.

Last, but not least, popular author Anna Staniszewski took us through 7 common storytelling missteps and offered tips and tools for how to avoid them.

Anna Staniszewski speaks to a full house.

Anna Staniszewski speaks to a full house.

ENCORE presenters: Janet Lawler, Mark Peter Hughes, Kendra Levin, J. L. Bell, Anna Staniszewski

Presenters: Janet Lawler, Mark Peter Hughes, Kendra Levin, J. L. Bell, Anna Staniszewski

 All in all, a very productive day, thanks to the conference committee. Oh, and guess who got a door prize? I won a copy of Deborah Freedman’s The Story of Fish & Snail!

22 Comments

  1. What a fun prize- I’ve had my eye on that one for a while, looks like such a cute pb. I really like one day workshops, I’m headed to one at the beginning of Nov.

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  2. Ashley

    This looks like a good conference. You go to the coolest places!

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  3. What a great concept to repeat some of the presentations in a different venue. Sounds like fun!

    Yvonne

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    • It works really well, especially since you get to hear all five, rather than having to pick & choose.

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  4. Bette Norton

    It sounds like a very informative but enjoyable conference.

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful event! Conferences and workshops are fun and inspiring.

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  6. Becky Shillington

    Sounds wonderful, Marcia! I would have especially benefitted from Janet Lawler’s presentation–I am slogging through a huge PB edit right now. I am trying to cut, cut, cut, but it is so hard!

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    • Janet was great. In a nutshell she encouraged us to focus on essence, and leave ‘see’ details to the illustrator.

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  7. mirkabreen

    Storytellers are the nicest people, don’t you think? I’m jealous that you met Anna Staniszewski, I just love her posts.

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    • Yes, Anna’s wonderful. She was way across the room and quite busy, but I enjoyed her presentation.

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  8. Look at the brilliance of those green and their shadows on the ground … Seems like you’ve attended yet another wonderful conference, Marcia. I might try the writing exercise very soon. Enjoy reading your prize! (It’s got a nice title. :))

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  9. What a great conference:) Happy you had a great time. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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  10. Funny! Sounds like it was a comfort-zone-stretching weekend here, there, & everywhere!

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  11. Sounds like a great conference. Hope you got a lot of great tips.

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