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


Upcoming events

    • 19 Dec 2015
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • LA Public Library - Harbor Gateway Branch 24000 S. Western Ave., Harbor City, CA 90710
    • 3

    Calling All Children's Book Writers: Picture Book, Early Reader, Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult

    All Genres Welcome: Sci Fi, Fantasy, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, etc...

    Join this open 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:                      

    ·       Middle Grade/ Young Adult/ New Adult: Please bring the first chapter of your manuscript or the chapter with which you need the most help (the first 5-10 pages). 

    ·       Picture Book/ Chapter Book/ Early Reader: please bring copies of the entire picture book or early reader book, or the first two chapters of a chapter book.

    **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 via under “Events” 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.
    • 16 Jan 2016
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • TBA

    A new year means another new start for your writing career.

    In this workshop, we hope to answer questions about writing/publishing to help you find the “write path” towards achieving your writing dreams. 

    We'll help you map out your writing career by clarifying your writing visions, setting your writing goals for the year, and mapping out a three year career plan.

    You'll discover what kind of writer you are, and learn all about your different publishing options.

    If you’ve always wanted to write, but don’t know where to start, if you’re stuck in a writing rut or want to rekindle your passion for writing, or if you’re serious about getting published but don’t know much about the industry, this workshop will be of great help to you.

    We’ll have worksheets, handouts and writing exercises to help you get started on whatever writing path you wish to travel.

    Here's a sampling of what you'll learn if you register for the workshop:

    1. The Key Paths to Publishing - Traditional publishing and self-publishing are just two of the many options you have for getting published.

    2. How a book gets published traditionally

    3. The basics of self-publishing including:

    a. Your self-publishing options

    b. The Real Cost of Self-Publishing a book

    4. The pros and cons for both traditional publishing and self-publishing

    5. Other Publishing Options

    6. Tools to kickstart your writing career
    And much, much more!

    About the Speaker

    Nutschell (pronounced Noo-SHELL, in case you were wondering) Anne Windsor is a middle grade/young adult fantasy writer who hails from the Philippines and now lives in sunny Los Angeles. She is the Founder and President of CBW-LA and is the Assistant Regional Adviser of the L.A. Region of SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).

    Nutschell founded the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles ( in 2010 with the hope of sharing knowledge with fellow children’s book writers in the area. Following a BA in Psychology from the University of the Philippines (Diliman), Nutschell became an English teacher at Miriam College High School. Currently, she is the Creative Writing (Online) and Events Rep for UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

    Nutschell’s experiences have turned her into a detail-oriented, organized planner, and she uses these skills to teach and facilitate workshops and critique sessions for CBW-LA. She is also an active member of the blogging community. She shares writing tips, techniques and reports on various writing events at and on Twitter @nutschell.

    Date: January 16, 2015, Saturday

    ***Date may change to January 23rd depending on room availability***

    Time: 1:00 – 4:00 PM

    Venue: TBA

    Fee: $45

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

    *Non-members pay the full amount 

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and a copy of STORY SPROUTS: SETTING: WRITING RESOURCE & ANTHOLOGY
    • 20 Feb 2016
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • TBA

    The Secrets of “Show Don’t Tell”

    If your story is written with too much telling, too many internal thoughts and emotions, and a lack of visual details, this is the class for you.

     ·         Do you understand the difference between “showing” and “telling”?

    • ·         Do you know when it’s okay to “tell”?
    • ·         Do you know the difference between metaphors, inference, or descriptions and how to use them?
    • ·         Do you write so that your readers see the characters interacting within their world?

     In this class you will develop a deeper understanding of how to put your readers into the world of your characters. You will learn to expand your visual writing by seeing how to bring close-ups, medium shots, and wide-angle shots into your writing.  You will learn when to show and why sometimes it is okay to tell.

    This will be an interactive workshop with writing exercises to help you expand your skills in developing images that will move the story forward. 


    Nancy Ellen Dodd, MPW, MFA, earned two graduate degrees in writing from the University of Southern California. She is author of The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages (published by Writers Digest), based on more than three decades of learning storytelling. The book teaches the creative writing process and the Aristotle/Freytag architecture of story.

    She also teaches advanced Screenwriting to undergraduate and graduate students at Pepperdine University; develops and teaches online courses in screenwriting and creative writing for Screenwriters University and Writers Digest University; and teaches a number of workshops in the U.S. and internationally.

    Nancy has published short stories, had a play and short films produced, and received several awards for writing. She is currently on faculty at the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University as academic editor of the Graziadio Business Review, and served as editor of two print and two online journals and published more than 130 articles. Her website is

    Date: Feb 20, 2016, Saturday

    Time: 1 - 4 PM

    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 WRITER'S COMPASS



    Map out your idea and finish your story in 7 stages!

    This book will show writers how to develop their ideas into a finished novel by working through it in 7 stages, while learning how to mapping out their story's progress and structure so they can evaluate and improve their work. It teaches writers to visualize their story's progress with a story map that helps them see all the different components of their story, where these components are going, and, perhaps most importantly, what's missing.

    The book simplifies Aristotle's elements of good writing (a.k.a. that each story should have a beginning, a middle and an end) into easily applicable concepts that will help writers improve their craft. The author helps readers strengthen their work by teaching them how to focus on one aspect of their story at a time, including forming stories and developing ideas, building strong structures, creating vibrant characters, and structuring scenes and transitions. Thought-provoking questions help writers more objectively assess their story's strengths and weaknesses so they may write the story they want to tell.


    • 05 Mar 2016
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • TBA


    with Editor Philippa Donovan

    "Writing for kids is not the easy option. Adults have bigger vocabularies. Kids have bigger imaginations." 

    -Matt Haig, 2015

    Do you have a brilliant idea for a children's book? Have you started writing, or planning, but stalled after the first few chapters? Philippa Donovan is an editorial consultant from London and will be offering this interactive and practical workshop, designed to identify and connect your writing with your ideal readership. From picture books, to middle grade, to YA, we will be discussing all the tools, exercises and feedback that you need to edit and revise your own work, as well as explaining tricks of the publishing trade.



    Philippa Donovan established her Smart Quill consultancy in 2011. Since then she has worked with authors from around the world and recommends to stable of literary agents based in the UK, Australia, and the US. In 2014 she was named as a Publishing Rising Star and is the editorial consultant at Soho House, an international private members club. Previously Philippa commissioned children's and YA fiction for Egmont Books, scouted literary/commercial fiction and non-fiction for Random House, and worked at A P Watt Literary Agency. She has a vast network of worldwide contacts, and offers personalised editorial services to writers of any genre. For writing advice and book reviews, please see the Smart Quill channelFacebook, or Twitter.

    Date: Saturday, March 5, 2016

    Time: 1:00–4:00 p.m.

    Venue: TBA

    Fee: $65

    *$10 Discount for CBW-LA Members.

    *Non-members pay the full amount.

    • 16 Apr 2016
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • TBA

    Beyond the Book Deal: Charting the Path Ahead

    With so many daunting hurdles to overcome before embarking on a career writing for children, it’s easy for pre-published writers to become preoccupied by acquiring an agent and making a first sale—not to mention harbor too many doubts about their talents. But are you ready for what happens after your dream of having a book on the shelf comes true? In this workshop, you’ll get a detailed look at what happens afteryou sell your first manuscript and how you can best prepare yourself and stay motivated for the long road ahead. Along with practical information about the publishing industry, this workshop will include exploratory writing prompts to help you clarify your vision and goals in writing stories for young readers.

    Speaker's Bio:

    KRISTEN KITTSCHER is a former middle school English teacher and author of tween mystery The Wig in the Window (Harper Children’s, 2013) which garnered a starred review from School Library Journal and was named to ten Best of the Year listsThe 2014 James Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence and a graduate of Brown University, Kristen frequently presents at schools, libraries, and festivals. She lives with her husband in Pasadena, home of the Rose Parade—the inspiration for her most recent novel, The Tiara on the Terrace.

    Visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@kkittscher).

    Date: April 16, 2016

    Time: 1-4 PM

    Venue: TBA

    Fee: $45

    *Non-members pay the full amount 

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and a copy of the authors’ book THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE.


    Get ready for parades, pageantry, suspense, and a hefty dose of hilarity as seventh grade spies Sophie Young and Grace Yang trade their high tops for high heels to investigate a deadly crime in this funny, clever Miss Congeniality set in middle school!

    • 14 May 2016
    • 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
    • TBD (Anticipated: Torrance Municipal Airport Meeting Room)
    • 32

          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 one year of completing the workshop!

    See our first two books: Story Sprouts Writing Resource and Anthology (Volume One and Volume Two: Voice). Our third and fourth books will be published in late 2015 and early 2016. Stay tuned for links.

    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 the group novella and the CBW-LA Story Sprouts Anthology, Story Sprouts: Conflict. All submissions will go through thorough developmental, content, 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 Diverse Voices Scholarship (open to all writers who speak from a minority voice).


    • 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.

    • 25 Jun 2016
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • TBA

    Author Marketing Secrets: 

    How to Authentically Connect with your Readers through Social Media & Beyond

    Best-selling independent author Sheri Fink will share marketing strategies to build awareness of your book and cultivate relationships with your readers. Learn what to do, what not to do, what works, what doesn’t, and how to make marketing and social media rewarding so you can have fun doing it and then get back to your writing. Whether you’re traditionally published, independently published, or hoping to one day be published, you don’t want to miss this insightful, strategy-packed session.

    Speaker's Bio:

    SHERI FINK is an inspirational speaker, #1 best-selling author, and the creator of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” award-winning brand. She creates books, products, and experiences that inspire and delight kids of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem. All 5 of her books have become #1 best-sellers, including The Little Rose which was a #1 Amazon Best-seller for 60 weeks. Sheri has expanded her inspirational brand with books, live events, beauty items, and music all designed to create magical experiences for her Fans. CBS Los Angeles selected her as one of the top 3 authors in her local area, a distinction she shares with Dean Koontz. Her brand is the recipient of the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award for the best in family friendly entertainment.

    Date: July 12, 2014, Saturday

    Time: 1 - 4 PM

    Venue: El Segundo Library, 111 W. Mariposa Ave., El Segundo, CA

    Fee: $45

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

    *Non-members pay the full amount 

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and a copy of the authors’ book THE LITTLE FIREFLY.

    About The Little Firefly:

    ISBN: 978-0983408963

    The Little Firefly is an enchanting tale about a late-blooming firefly who can't wait to be all grown up. When all the other fireflies are glowing except for the Little Firefly, she discovers that true friends will love and support her just the way she is. This charming story helps kids learn about love, friendship, and acceptance.

    Themes include: Shyness, Popularity, Growing Up, Maturity, Love, Acceptance, Tolerance, Friendship, Sports

    Written by Sheri Fink and Illustrated by Mary Erikson Washam,

Past events

14 Nov 2015 Collaborative Novel Launch Party & 5th Year Anniversary Celebration
08 Nov 2015 SUNDAY Critique Session: Middle Grade & Young Adult
07 Nov 2015 Take a Scene from Ho-hum to Holy Crap!: Writing that Gets an Editor's Attention
24 Oct 2015 From Kickstarter to Good Morning America: One Writer Shares Her Secrets to Success
17 Oct 2015 Saturday Critique Session: Open to All!
05 Sep 2015 Critique Session: Middle Grade & Young Adult
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
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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