Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Craft Breakouts


Opposite your Pitch Perfect Session, you may pre-register to attend ONE of the following Craft Breakouts from our award-winning SCBWI-IL PAL faculty members Crystal Chan and Carolyn Crimi.


Writer Talk: Writing What You Don’t Know, Including and Beyond Race
a Novel Craft Breakout featuring Crystal Chan (135 minutes)

How did Crystal Chan slip into the mind of a 15-year-old male teen and focus her novel, ALL THAT I CAN FIX on a struggle between a father and a son? How did she write a book that portrays the gun rights debate in a balanced light – when she is staunchly anti-gun? In her talk, Crystal explores the different types of diversity in Writing What You Don’t Know – the risks,  challenges, and deep rewards – and the transformation that happened to her as a result. She will also cover the desire of white authors who want to write about people of color – what to watch out for and what they must know to be emotionally true, self-aware, and power-aware.


Finding That One True Thing
a Picture Book Craft Breakout featuring Carolyn Crimi (135 minutes)

Writers are often told to keep their picture book texts under 500 words, but word count isn’t everything. Those five hundred words must be tightly focused. They must be about one true thing. In this session Carolyn Crimi will discuss how to find that one true thing, and how losing your focus can often mean the difference between a good story and a great one.
NEW: Attendees will bring (2) hard copies of a work-in-progress picture book text in addition to writing materials with which to work during this breakout.