Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Arkansas SCBWI Retreat 2017

Date(s) - 10/13/2017 - 10/15/2017
12:00 am

St. Scholastica Retreat Center
1205 South Albert Pike - Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903

The 21st annual Arkansas Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Retreat is Oct. 13-15, 2017 at the St. Scholastica Retreat Center in Fort Smith.

Retreat faculty includes Victoria A. Selvaggio, associate agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency; and Kari Sutherland, agent at Bradford Literary Agency.

The retreat will feature hands-on workshops; writing time; and private manuscript consultations with Selvaggio and Sutherland. At the retreat, writers will learn techniques to strengthen their works-in-progress, submissions and writing skills and improve their manuscripts positively. Workshops will focus on self-editing, dialogue, show versus tell and plot.

Registered attendees will meet with both agents for a private consultation at the retreat to discuss their manuscripts and ask questions.

Cost is all-inclusive: private rooms with shared bath, meals, snacks, all workshops and consultations with the agents. For questions regarding registration, email

Registration opens July 29. It is online with the option to pay online through PayPal or by check (mail to Arkansas SCBWI, P.O. Box 94109, North Little Rock, AR 72190). To register, you will select a registration ticket. SCBWI members: Be sure you are logged into to see member options and pricing.

Reservations are on a first come, first served basis for SCBWI members. This is a retreat for intermediate to advanced writers who are working towards publication.

Space is limited for the retreat, so register early! For questions, email

Registration opens: July 29
To participate in the Advance Manuscript Consultation, register by:
— Payment by check (received by): Aug. 30
— Payment online: Sept. 6
Manuscripts received: Sept. 6
To participate in the Pitch Consultation, register by:
— Payment by check (received by): Sept. 29
— Payment online: Oct. 6
No full refunds after Aug. 30

Accommodations are retreat-like with no phone, internet or television in rooms. Television and phone service are available in the lounge area.

Victoria A. Selvaggio
Victoria A. SelvaggioBusiness owner turned Associate Agent, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to the The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, with over 10 years of actively working on the executive board. Drawn to the publishing scene first as an Author, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.
Agency website:
Twitter: @vselvaggio1

Kari Sutherland
Kari SutherlandKari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.
Agency website:
Twitter: @KariSutherland


Show, Don't Tell – The Nitty Gritty of Just How to Do That from Characters and Relationships to World-Building and Line-by-Line Writing

You're Done! Now the Work Begins – How to Self-Edit and Get Your Project Ready – From Beta Readers to Agent Querying to the Publishing Process

The Dish on Dialogue  – As an important element within your story, dialogue shows characters in vulnerable ways, it expands on and reveals your plot, always moving it forward, and it adds the authenticity needed for readers to feel that compelling urge to join the journey. But, to be effective, dialogue doesn't work alone. Rather, dialogue teamed with the narrative voice creates balance, resulting in much more than s/he said. This presentation, with writing exercises and handouts, will cover the essentials for crafting realistic dialogue.

Plot: It's All about the Characters, Mainly, the Main – Many cringe when considering plot–its elements and how crafting those necessary events for the main character build in suspense and tension until finally, the momentum delivers that deserved resolution. But, regardless if a plot is plot-driven or character-driven, the main character is the heart of the story. This important fact is the ultimate who sets the story in motion, and why. This presentation, with writing exercises and handouts, will cover the essentials for crafting plot while highlighting the importance of the main character and secondary characters.


Sample Schedule:

3 p.m. Check-in
5 p.m. Welcome
5:30 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Workshop
9 p.m. Shop Talk/Socializing/Snacks
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
9 a.m. Workshop
12 p.m. Lunch
1-5 p.m. Manuscript Feedback (Individual appointments)
  Writing/Personal Time
5:30 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Workshop
9 p.m. Socializing/Ghost Stories/Snacks
9 a.m. Breakfast
10 a.m. Workshop
12 p.m. Evaluation/Farewell