#Blogmas | SCBWI Conference 2016: Part Two

Welcome to the third day of Blogmas! Yesterday, I blogged about the Friday of the SCBWI 2016 conference in Winchester. Saturday was even better and I can’t wait to share my experience with you guys!

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Saturday morning dawned bright and early, Barbara and I met a fellow SCBWI member over breakfast at the B&B and we all headed to the University together. Registration was at 8:45am and then there was a meeting area where regions could get together and meet other people.

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The SCBWI South-East Scotland group (and special guest!) at the regional meet ups. Photo courtesy of Sarah Broadley.

A couple of the members were missing from the meet up because they had their agent one to ones, but it was brilliant to see so many new faces there and most of us were first timers too!

After the regional meet, we headed to the main auditorium where the Author Keynote was delivered by David Almond. It was an utterly brilliant talk, full of laughs and visuals of his work process. I regret not taking more pictures over the weekend but I was so engrossed in everything that was going on that I didn’t even think about taking pictures.

I found David’s keynote so engrossing that I immediately wanted to learn more about him and his books. His keynote was so popular that his book, Skellig, actually sold out from the bookstore at the University.


After a quick coffee break, I headed to the St Alphege building to attend the PULSE session on Series Fiction, which was run by Ruth Bennett and Jane Clarke. I found it incredibly informative and opened my eyes to an area of writing/publishing that I hadn’t considered before.

There was some great discussion over royalties and the potential pitfalls of series fiction that doesn’t take off. It was also interesting to hear the other attendees’ stories about their successes in series fiction.

We were given a hand out on working with Working Partners – that I had actually never heard of before – and it’s definitely something I’m going to look into at a later date.


My one to one session was with agent Hellie Ogden, and I’ll admit that I was absolutely nervous all morning as my session wasn’t until 1:45pm. I decided to skip the Illustrator Keynote so that I could wait outside the one to one meeting room twenty minutes early.

When I got into my meeting with Hellie, I was really worried that I was going to say something ridiculous but she was absolutely lovely and she liked my idea! It was a really positive experience overall, and she even said I could send her more pages – which I’m totally going to do before the year is out (just need to polish it a bit more first)!

So, since I missed the Illustrator Keynote, I headed to the bookshop while no one else was there and picked up a book – because I couldn’t NOT buy a book! After discovering that Skellig was sold out, I headed to the YA section to see which one grabbed my attention most and bought More of Me by Kathryn Evans – even got her to sign it when she spotted me reading it.


The keynote ran on a little long, so I headed to my next session Practise Your Pitch with Benjamin Scott. I LOVED this session. It was so much fun and Benjamin really knows how to present a workshop.

We had to sit beside someone we didn’t know and write our pitches, then gather feedback on our pitches from the person beside us. My partner loved the idea of my novel, The Moon Child – which is the story I submitted to the Friday night critique – and I loved her idea too. It was an historical fiction and I’m really sorry for not remembering the name but I’m currently at my parents’ house and don’t have the notebook I took to the conference.

We got given a couple handouts for this session too and I’m looking forward to using them every time I start something new so that my ideas are always clear from the get go!


Then, Saturday turned into this:

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There’s an event called The Hook – which is kind of like Dragon’s Den – where five SCBWI members pitch their novels to a panel of agents. We had the fantastic Justin Davies representing SE Scotland and all the pitches were just brilliant.

I’m totally biased, but I thought Justin’s was best.

And the judges agreed because Justin WON! SE Scotland has a two year streak for Hook winners – with our previous coordinator Sheila winning it last year. It was a great way to end the first full day of events.

We then had a couple of hours to relax, so Barbara and I headed back to the B&B until it was time for the party.


The party was amazing. It was fancy dress so there were some amazing costumes milling around! One woman was dressed as Katniss Everdeen and it blew my mind!

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Somewhat unsurprisingly, Harry Potter characters were rather popular! They all looked amazing though!

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The majority of the costumed members!

I spent a good hour or so at the beginning of the party talking to agent Elizabeth Briggs, which was crazy because I never thought I would be able to speak to an agent without being tongue-tied! I even managed to sneak in a small pitch and she loved the idea of one of my WIPs, so that’s a mental note for the future. I managed to introduce her to some of the other SE Scotland members too.

I also was in the same room as Barry Cunningham. I came very close to him at the food table, but was not brave enough to actually talk to him. One of the other SE Scotland members, Elizabeth, was though and I was so proud of her!

Then the evening turned to the Mass Book Launch, which Barbara and Beth were participating in with their books. I was so proud of both of them and it was great to see them on the stage with their books.

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The cake with all the author’s pictures and book covers! Doesn’t it look amazing?!

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Barbara with Fir For Luck on the cake!

It was an amazing night. My face hurt from all the smiling I did. I met so many wonderful new people, spoke to complete strangers and just generally had an amazing night.

I was totally ready for my bed at half 10 though!


And that was Saturday! Be sure to come back tomorrow to see how the weekend ended!

Have a great day! x

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