Free Virtual Events

Saturday, June 22 11:00 am – 1:30 pm RECORDING LINK BELOW :)

Sheila Fernley virtual workshop 6-22-24.png


Giving and receiving feedback is not a natural instinct, something we are reminded of as a novice author or illustrator giving feedback to fellow creatives, or when a critique partner unintentionally hurts our feelings. Learn how to give and receive critiques that help take projects to the next level. Study and discuss the purpose and process of critiquing. Learn about different models and structures, and best practices for effective critiquing. This workshop includes exercises and is for authors and illustrators. The last 10-15 minutes will be used to ask questions about querying and Sheila’s manuscript wish list.

Florida Free Virtual Meetings


Passcode: n&*2LutY


*Please remember this is ONLY for your personal use. You may share with your SCBWI FL critique group, but can't share online or with others without permission.

Picture Book Critique Checklist

PB Illustrator Critique Checklist

MG and YA Critique Checklist


Analyzing Key Story Elements

Speech to Text Settings


Question: How do you represent the page turn in a picture book without illustrations? Is it simply adding

page numbers?

Response: A page turn is a device used by an author at the end of the right-hand page that makes the

reader wonder, “What happens next?” It makes the reader turn the page to find out. These

devices are most common in picture books, but are also important to consider at the end of a

chapter in a novel. What makes the reader read on to the next chapter?

Adding pagination (inserting page numbers before each spread) is not a device used for page

turns. For picture books, pagination should be used to help the author or author/illustrator

visualize the scenes, actions, and to determine that the correct number of spreads are used for

a picture book (i.e., 32-page, 40-page). Most agents and editors do not want to see the

pagination, so if you aren’t sure, remove the page numbers before submitting a manuscript for


Some examples of how to create a page turn include:

• Pausing in mid-sentence at the end of the spread, using an ellipsis (…) or an em dash (—).

This indicates that the rest of the sentence continues on the next page. For a rhyming

picture book, this pause might be created by having a rhyme pair split at the end of a

spread, making the reader anticipate what the rest of the rhyme pair is going to be on the

next page.

• Ending the spread or chapter with a thought provoking question. Who doesn’t want to

know the answer to an intriguing question?

• Foreshadowing hints at something to come. For example, having a raven suddenly

appear, which often represents an ill omen or loss. For YA, an example might be a

gunshot being heard. In the workshop example from my picture book SAVING ALBERTA,

the narrator states about the fishing boat, Alberta:

She watched the dark clouds roll in.

Lightening lit up the sky and the thunder bellowed … DANGER!

• Declaring an emotion is another way to create an effective page turn. For example, I

stood alone in a the empty house, afraid to stay. Afraid to leave. If the reader is

emotionally connected to the character, they want to say, “No! I’m here. You’re not

alone.” The reader is compelled to turn the page.

• Illustrations can also create a page turn that is as compelling as words. For example, an

illustrated clue not mentioned in the text can be fun for a reader to find and can compel

them to read on. Leave room for the illustrator to determine what these and other pageturn devices might be.

Question: What do you do if you have a new member that doesn’t mesh with the established


Response: A critique group is not always be a great fit for everyone. “Doesn’t mesh” is a vague term, so

determine what exactly is the potential problem. Is it a personality issue or an issue with a

member not following the group’s established rules, or the SCBWI’s code of conduct. The host

may need to talk with the member. Always be honest and be kind. Hopefully both parties can

find a way for the member to continue participating in the critique group.

This is why it is important to establish rules, communicate those rules, and follow them. If a

member isn’t following the rules of the critique group, perhaps review the rules with the group

first. If the person still isn’t following the rules, then the group’s host/facilitator can talk with the

member. It may also be necessary to add a new rule. For example, if a member is always talking

over others, perhaps add a rule, if there isn’t one already, that states – No interrupting when

another member has the floor.

As a critique group of SCBWI members, remember that Connection is an SCBWI core value – No

one does this alone. We celebrate the power of connection and strive to ensure our members

find a lasting and meaningful community through our organization. If you believe that it is

necessary to remove a member from the critique group, seek advice from your regional SCBWI

critique group coordinator and always make sure to adhere to SCBWI’s Anti-Harassment Policy.

Question: Does anyone know of a publisher who is acquainted with novels in verse?

Response: The following editors have noted at one time or another that they are open to novels in verse;

however, most editors will only accept submissions from an agent. It is also helpful to do some

research on the editor’s other interests and the books that are published by these imprints. Are

they in the same vein as your novel in verse? Are any titles too close to your project, so as to

compete with what the imprint has already published? Perhaps follow these editors to see if

they are presenting at an event where they are open to unagented submissions.

Samantha Gentry, Assistant Editor

Hachette Book Group / Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Joy Peskin, Editorial Director

Macmillan / Farrar Strauss Children’s

Alexandra Cooper, Executive Editor

HarperCollins / Quill Tree Books

Annie Berger, Senior Editor


Catherine Frank, Editor at Large

Peachtree Publishing

11:00 am - 11:30 am


They'll introduce themselves and will discuss what's on the horizon and answer questions.

Don't miss the chance to meet and interact with our amazing new team...and give them a warm welcome. :)

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


Sheila Fernley, Associate Literary Agent

Storm Literary Agency

*There will be helpful handouts including a checklist for critiquing picture books and one for novels that can not only strengthen your critique skills...but also help you revise your own manuscripts.

Sheila Fernley is an Associate Literary Agent with Storm Literary Agency. She is actively building her client list, which includes PB, MG, and select YA projects. Sheila considers authors, author/illustrators, and illustrators. A former special education teacher and editor, Sheila is currently an agented picture book writer under the pen name Sheila Herrera, with three manuscripts on editorial submissions.

Learn more about Sheila, her wish list, and how to query her at

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