Educating and Inspiring Writers Since 2010 Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles


Upcoming events

    • 05 Sep 2015
    • 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • LA Public Library - Harbor Gateway Branch 24000 S. Western Ave., Harbor City, CA 90710
    • 8

    Calling All Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers!

    (Please note the time change. We have extended the hours from 12-4pm to provide more time for individual feedback.)

    Join this EXTENDED-TIME critique session to:

    Get constructive feedback for your manuscripts, meet potential critique partners, and make new friends!

    *Critique will be at the East Conference Room, so there will be a limit of 10 attendees. Please look for the sign outside the door.

    What to Bring:                      

    • Please bring the first chapter of your manuscript or the chapter with which you need the most help (the first 5-10 pages, or more if there are less participants). **We will read as much of your work as time allows**
    • Please bring a copy of your work for everyone to read (11 copies if the session is full), a notebook/pad and pen to use for your critique notes, and (optional) a voice/tape recorder if you wish to record the critique.

    If you are new to critique groups, please read the following:

    1.  Our group provides some guidelines and handouts to help you get the most out of the critique. The handouts will aid you in your own revision process by teaching you what to look for while critiquing your own work as well as the works of others. 

    2.  If you are a CBW-LA member (meaning you have registered and paid for membership via, you may download the critique handouts under the Members Only section on the website. 

    If you are not a CBW-LA member, please sign up and pay the $10 fee.


    As writers, we are very close to our work and oftentimes we miss certain details on story development or story elements like characters, setting, etc.

    Critique sessions allow other people with “fresh eyes” to have a look at your writing sample and read them as your future readers would, providing you with valuable feedback to improve your writing skills and get your manuscript submission-ready.

    In all our Critique Sessions, we give you feedback in the most TACTful way possible.

    TACT = Finesse, thoughtfulness or having a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

    TACT is also the technique we use for our critiques:

    T = Terrific

    We share what we loved in your piece, what worked in your story and what we liked about your plot, setting, character, pacing, etc.

    A = Author Questions

    In the last few minutes of your critique time, we encourage you, as the author, to ask questions either about your story or to  clarify the comments you received.

    C = Constructive Comments We deliver, in the politest way possible, comments that are specific and helpful to help you improve your story. 

    T = Talent Talent can get you far, but hard work can get your farther. We always end by encouraging you, the author, to keep on writing. We remind you that we are here to help you achieve your writing goals.


    Please note, CBWLA's Critique Sessions will be implementing the following policy changes beginning January 1, 2015:

    • Cost: Critique sessions will remain free to members and $10 for nonmembers (Due to logistics, there will no longer be a pay-at-the-door option for nonmembers. Members are not affected).
    • No Show Policy: A $10 charge will be added for no-shows (both members and nonmembers) unless 24-hour notice is given to the facilitator: Since there is a limited number of spots available, please register only if you are sure you can attend the critique. If you are unable to attend for any reason, please email the facilitator immediately so that other interested members may be given the chance to participate.
    • Late Arrival Policy: Please arrive on time. The critique sessions will begin promptly at noon. The amount of critique time is determined by the number of participants present at the start time. If you know that you will be arriving later than 15 minutes, please inform the facilitator prior to the start time of the critique session.Otherwise we may be unable to critique your work that day.

    • 26 Sep 2015
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • El Segundo Library 111 W. Mariposa Ave, El Segundo CA 90245




    In this interactive workshop Eve Porinchak, of the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency (JCLA), will teach you the basics of how to write a QUERY LETTER – the most important step in landing your wonderful manuscript on an agent’s desk.

    During QUERYPALOOZA you will learn to:

    - Identify QUERY Do’s and Don’ts.

    - Write a One Sentence Logline whittling down your book to its main hook and theme.

    - Write a brief one-paragraph synopsis of your book.

    - Write a brief, intriguing and/or applicable bio.

    - Write a one-sentence explanation of why you are sending to a particular agent.

    - Pull all these pieces together to create a concise and killer QUERY that will leave an agent begging to read your entire manuscript!

    * Please bring a sample query letter you have written (it could be a quick rough draft, or one you’ve used in the past) and get ready to have it pulled apart, stretched, re-worded, chopped down, and critiqued in small groups. At the end of QUERYPALOOZA, you will have an edited, perfected one-page query letter, ready to submit.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you there! P.S. There may be cupcakes. Why? Because there should always be cupcakes!

    NOTE: Workshop attendees' will have an open window to submit to literary agent Eve Porinchak, and their submissions will be given priority. 




    A true omnivore (both literarily and gastronomically) Eve has eclectic tastes, with favorites ranging from THE STUPIDS STEP OUT to Walter Dean Meyers’ MONSTER. Eve is open to everything from picture books to adult novels, with special interest in Young Adult and Adult Fiction featuring younger main characters. Eve is especially fond of contemporary, realistic, edgy stories, speculative fiction, gang-lit, prison-lit, crime, and light magical realism, but is not a fan of high fantasy. A lover of psychologically intriguing plots, Eve loves “nothing is what it seems” themes, a la GONE GIRL. A world traveler and lover of fresh adventures, Eve will travel anywhere, read anything, and eat anything (except frog legs – EWH!)

    Eve graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Psycho-Biology. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and also attended medical school, anticipating a career in Pediatrics, but decided she loved sleep and creative outlets too much to continue doctoring (not to mention those white lab coats - such a fashion DON'T). Eve has always worked with children in some capacity. She has taught Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade, was a foster care case manager in Vermont and court-appointed Guardian ad Litem, currently teaches creative writing to incarcerated teens in Los Angeles, and serves as an aid worker in Tijuana orphanages.

    A writer and active member of SCBWI for 13 years, Eve worked as Jill Corcoran’s assistant (reading thousands of queries) before being promoted to Agent.



    Books I Wish I had Represented: 

    • THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton
    • TRUE NOTEBOOKS by Mark Salzman

    Favorite Movies:

    • The Breakfast Club (Pure brilliance!)
    • The Blue Lagoon (Don't judge)
    • Kings of Summer

    Dream Job: Quality Control Tester at Cinnabon

    Death Row Meal: Anything cake related: cupcakes, bundt cake, ice cream cake

    Likes: Books, movies, running, golf, tennis, travel, cupcakes, puppies, cows that run

    Dislikes: Frogs, snot, eyeballs (Please don’t send me your book about a snotty-nosed frog with conjunctivitis—sorry!)

    * If interested in querying Eve Porinchak of JCLA, please submit a brief query letter with short bio and synopsis, and the first 10 pages to

    Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015

    Time: 1:00–4:00 p.m.

    Venue: El Segundo Public Library

    Fee: $65

    *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members.

    *Non-members pay the full amount.

    • 03 Oct 2015
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • El Segundo Library 111 W. Mariposa Ave., El Segundo CA 90245

    From Kickstarter to Good Morning America: 

    One Writer Shares Her Secrets to Success

    Learn how indie author Lucy Ravitch went from putting her picture book project up on Kickstarter to being on the Good Morning America show. Lucy will share tips and recommendations on how to independently publish your book, promote and market your work so it gets noticed by the media, and run a Kickstarter project, among other things. 


      Lucy Ravitch is the author of The Pancake Menu and the Kids Math Teacher blog. She has complete manuscripts for several math-focused children’s books. Visit Kids Menu Books for her hands-on math fun series. Intended as the first in a series, Lucy has already mapped out six more books to follow The Pancake Menu. Lucy serves as Board Secretary for Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles, and has been a member and volunteer for CBW–LA since its founding in June 2010. She is also a member of SCBWI.

      Connect with Lucy on Twitter @Lucy_Ravitch or through her Facebook Author Page at Lucy Ravitch — Enjoy Learning Something.

      Date: October 3, 2015, Saturday

      Time: 1 - 4 PM

      Venue: El Segundo Public Library

      Fee: $45

      *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members.

      *Non-members pay the full amount.

      *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and a copy of the authors’ book THE PANCAKE MENU. Additional book products will be available for sale at the workshop including: Play 'Menu Money' packs, spatulas, and aprons.



      Kids 6-11 read, play restaurant & practice math w/ Menu Money & Order Sheets! Fun & educational! Recipes included!

      • 07 Nov 2015
      • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
      • TBA

      Take a Scene from Ho-hum to Holy Crap!

      Writing that Gets an Editor’s Attention

      Award-winning author Catherine Linka and former St. Martin’s Press editor Mollie Traver are back with a workshop on writing knock-your-socks-off scenes that elevate a book and grab the attention of agents, editors, and readers alike. Drawing on their extensive writing, editing, and publishing industry experience, Mollie and Catherine will take you through the crucial elements of a great scene, questions to ask yourself as you write and revise, how to recognize and revive a scene that’s not working, and more—with plenty of insider tips along the way. They will then provide specific feedback on scenes that workshop participants have written. Participants will be asked to turn in the scene that they would like critiqued (five double-spaced pages or less) two weeks beforehand, by Oct. 24th, as well as a brief plot synopsis (450 words or less). 

      *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, two copies of your scene marked up by Catherine and Mollie, and a copy of Catherine’s book A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS or A GIRL UNDONE.



      CATHERINE LINKA  is the author of the young adult novel A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and its sequel, A GIRL UNDONE. A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS was the winner of the SCIBA Young Adult Book Award 2014, an ABA Summer Kids Indie Next Selection, and finalist for the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. An MFA grad of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Catherine was also the Children's and YA Buyer for an independent bookstore in Southern California, and has spent almost 100 hours listening to tweens and teens talk about what they love and hate in books. Learn more about Catherine at

      MOLLIE TRAVER is a freelance editor and writer and a former editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she specialized in young adult fiction of all kinds, and worked with a host of wonderful authors, including Catherine Linka, Amy Kathleen Ryan, Jenna Black, and Jana Oliver. Mollie graduated from Stanford University with a degree in creative writing, a serious relationship with black coffee, and a passion for helping shape other writers’ work. Learn more about Mollie at


      A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE are a two-book series set in LA today, but ten years after the deaths of fifty million US women from hormones in beef. Teenage girls like Avie are the most valuable commodity in the country, and multi-million-dollar marriage Contracts make it almost irresistible for fathers to sell their daughters into marriage. The only way out for Avie is to make a life-threatening run for Canada where she can be free to go to college and love who she wants.


      Date: November 7, Saturday

      Time: 1 - 4 PM

      Venue: TBA

      *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay online

      *$5 Discount for CBW-LA Members when you pay at the door 

      *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, two copies of your scene marked up by Catherine and Mollie, and a copy of Catherine’s book A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS or A GIRL UNDONE.


      • 14 May 2016
      • 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
      • TBD (Anticipated: Torrance Municipal Airport Meeting Room)
      • 33

            CBW-LA Writing Day Marathon 

      Join us for a Writers' Marathon
      ! This is high impact, high intensity writing at its best. You will be challenged. You will feel a rush. For just over ten hours, you will be fed high quality writing lessons on the topic of Conflict, which you will turn into fiction and non-fiction stories on your own and in writing groups by following new, original Story Sprouts exercises. Not for the faint of heart, this is a major commitment to yourself and your writing goals.

      It is a supreme mental workout, and by the end, you will have a minimum of three pieces ready for publication in our fourth annual Story Sprouts Writing Resource and Anthology.

      As one of our 2015 Story Sprouts Authors put it, "
      5,596 words today at Story Sprouts!!!! Exhausted but exhilarated. Thank you CBW–LA for putting this amazing event together."

      Your Invitation

      We invite you to take part in our Story Sprouts series through registration for Writing Day 2016. Every author who attends this workshop will walk away with a bevy of inspiration and writing lessons, an expanded writing community, and a publication in two books (a group novella and the full Story Sprouts Writing Resource and Anthology) with YOUR name—and story—within six months of completing the workshop!

      After an intensive day of creative writing, see your work published in the Story Sprouts Writing Resource and Anthology (Volume One and Volume Two: Voice) in the fall. Story Sprouts Volume Three: Setting is due to be released on September 30, 2015.

      About The Facilitators

      CBW-LA Founder and President Nutschell Windsor and Publications Director Alana Garrigues lead attendees on a whirlwind adventure through the writing process, complete with prompts, tips, games, time for reflection and revision ... along with food and socializing along the way! This is Nutschell's fourth year and Alana's third facilitating the highly rated workshop that former authors have called "an awesome and fun day," "spectacular," "delightfully surprising," "encouraging and motivating," and "well done."

      About the Book

      Children's Book Author J. Enderle said of Story Sprouts: Voice, "Applause for both the authors who gathered all this information and put it in understandable context as well as to the workshop writers who allowed their spur-of-the-moment work to be used as learning examples. Impressive! Definitely worth the money."

      About the Workshop

      This year's theme is CONFLICT!

      We will teach you how to move your story forward with a plot that employs just the right amount of tension, twists and turns to keep your reader on the edge of their seats, aching to turn the page for more information.

      Learn about different types of conflict that appear in stories, how to hook your reader, the best way to write a cliff-hanger

      This workshop is geared toward children's book writers, and you will explore Middle Grade and Young Adult levels, but it is open to anyone. The lessons will carry across genres and audiences. We only ask that you come prepared to write at a PG-13 level or below.

      What's New?

      Every year we innovate our approach, based on self-assessments and workshop evaluation forms. Look for a streamlined collection process ... and more goodies and innovations that we'll announce as we finalize details.

      Publication Process

      By the end of the workshop, you will have a minimum of three pieces ready for publication in this year's CBW-LA Story Sprouts Anthology, Story Sprouts: Setting. All submissions will go through thorough line and copy editing prior to publication.

       Register early. Space is limited! Payment required to confirm your reservation.

      The Details

      Date: Saturday, May 14, 2016

      Time: 8:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

      *Early check-in opens at 7:45 a.m. Arrive early and enjoy a light continental breakfast and some chit chat while you set up your writing space.

      *Workshop will start PROMPTLY 8:30 a.m.

      *There will be a group photo, so we'll provide the shirt, but you may want to bring something to freshen up after lunch.

      *PLEASE BRING A LAPTOP if possible! We welcome your handwritten submissions and we will transcribe them for you, but it will be easier for you to edit and revise your work on a computer.

      Place: TBD (Anticipated: Torrance Municipal Airport Meeting Room)

      Great Discount

      Students and Returning Authors SAVE with registration code! Send proof of student status to to request discount code and register at Story Sprouts alumni price for only $125! Returning authors, if you misplaced your email discount code, let us know and we'll send it your way. Email us to find out about our Young Writer Scholarship (open to high school and college students up to age 25).


      • Full day writing workshop
      • Lunch, snacks and beverages throughout the day
      • 1 print copy of the finished anthology
      • 1 digital copy of the finished anthology
      • Professional editing, formatting & book design
      • Handouts, Workshop Materials & Swag
      • T-shirt
      • FREE Launch Party Celebration to toast your success!
      • Inspiration and publication!
      • YOUR name and work in this year's Story Sprouts!


      Ready to register?

      Visit NOW to complete your online registration.


      Story Sprouts Author Alumni: $125

      Members: $150

      Non-members: $175

      Writing Day refund policy: 

      We understand things come up, but we really hope to see you at the event. 

      After all, we're saving a space for you! 

      However, please note - if you must cancel, we offer a 50% refund until 30 days prior to event. No refund after April 14, but we will send a complimentary copy of Story Sprouts. 

      Thank you for understanding.

    Past events

    29 Aug 2015 Critique Session: Open to All!
    22 Aug 2015 Understanding and Unlocking Amazon and Online Marketing
    25 Jul 2015 Picture Book Workshop: The Power of Critique Groups & Writing Tips I’ve Learned Along the Way
    25 Jul 2015 CBW–LA Summer Write-In Session
    20 Jun 2015 How to WOW Agents and Editors at Your Next Writing Conference
    13 Jun 2015 Critique Session: Middle Grade & Young Adult
    23 May 2015 Using a Story Map to Find the Holes in Your Story
    21 May 2015 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    09 May 2015 Critique Session: Open to All!
    25 Apr 2015 Story Sprouts: Setting, FULL–DAY Writing Workshop and Anthology
    16 Apr 2015 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    11 Apr 2015 Critique Session: Middle Grade & Young Adult
    19 Mar 2015 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    14 Mar 2015 Presenting Your Fantasy or Mythic Story
    07 Mar 2015 Critique Session: Picture Books, Early Readers, Chapter Books!
    28 Feb 2015 Critique Session: Middle Grade & Young Adult
    24 Jan 2015 Critique Session: Open to All!
    15 Jan 2015 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    10 Jan 2015 Kickstarting Your Writing Career Workshop
    06 Dec 2014 Novel Critique Session
    20 Nov 2014 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    08 Nov 2014 Write the Truth: Creative Nonfiction and Real World Inspiration
    16 Oct 2014 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    11 Oct 2014 Story Sprouts 2014 Launch Party
    04 Oct 2014 Baiting the Hook: Nabbing the Reader With Your First Page
    27 Sep 2014 Write Stories That Change the World & Pitch Them to TV & Movie Producers
    18 Sep 2014 CBW–LA Third Thursday Weekday Write-In
    13 Sep 2014 Picture Book/Chapter Book/ Early Reader Critique Session
    23 Aug 2014 Do You Give...Good Voice? How to Find (and Nurture) Your Writing Personality
    09 Aug 2014 Novel Critique Session
    12 Jul 2014 Establishing Your Independence: Marketing Secrets from a Best-Selling Independent Author
    28 Jun 2014 Do You Give...Good Voice? How to Find (and Nurture) Your Writing Personality
    31 May 2014 Writing Day Anthology Workshop: Get Published with CBW-LA
    29 Mar 2014 Novel Writing Bootcamp
    22 Feb 2014 Honing Your Middle Grade Writing Voice: A Workshop with Author Kristen Kittscher
    11 Jan 2014 Kickstarting Your Writing Career Workshop
    02 Nov 2013 Anthology Launch Party & Year End Celebration
    26 Sep 2013 Picture Book Workshop: The Power of Critique Groups & Writing Tips I’ve Learned Along the Way
    17 Aug 2013 Potent World-Making: What's Myth Got to Do With It?
    27 Jul 2013 Query Critique Session
    20 Jul 2013 Writing Between the Lines: The Power of Multiple Revisions A Workshop with YA Author Carmen Rodrigues
    22 Jun 2013 Writing Day Anthology Workshop: Get Published with CBW-LA
    25 May 2013 Queries, Loglines and Blurbs: Oh My! Workshop with Author Samantha Combs
    13 Apr 2013 CRITIQUE SESSION
    30 Mar 2013 The Author's Platform: Blogging with the Bird
    12 Jan 2013 Kickstarting Your Writing Career Workshop & Lunch Social
    Copyright 2013 Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles. All rights reserved.

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