Montana Sparks

Join Us for Our Live Monthly Sessions!

About Montana SPARKS! 

Montana SPARKS! is an ever evolving experiment of creativity. The purpose is to get members interacting and creating. In previous years we paired illustrators and writers together to create short story and illustration combinations. We showcased our work in a physical show at the Billings Public Library in 2022, and a virtual show over Zoom.

We created a zine of our work that you can access here Sparks Show Zine 2022.pdf

This year, we are changing the format! After hearing from several creators that they just didn't have the time and space to create, Illustrator Coordinator Jeanne Bowman decided to make time!

The format for 2024 is this: 

On the 1st of every month, until October 2024, a prompt will be issued through the regional email. Around the middle of every month we will host a live working session over Zoom that will allow you to meet with your fellow creators, build in accountability, and give you an opportunity to share, while we work on our projects together. 

This will be a monthly activity for EVERYONE- writers and illustrators alike. The goal is to have built a body of work at the end of 12 months. Then you will pick the best pieces for a showcase at the end of the year- The Montana SPARKS! Show. There will be a virtual show for certain, and perhaps a physical show as well. (Details are still being settled) 

  • You can use the prompts that we have given you, or you can work on your own prompts/existing projects. The goal is just to get you working (instead of dreaming about working) and then you show your work at the end of 12 months. 
  • You define the genre, age range, medium and length of your monthly project. You are free to work on board books, picture books, middle grade novels, short stories, YA novels- whatever you would like. You can work on a chapter each month or make a new story each month- you make the rules! Illustrators, this applies to you as well- work on building images for your portfolio or work on a larger project you are in the middle of. You get to decide! 
  • The co-working session (info below) will be focusing on the prompt released at the first of that month- so November prompt/ November working session. But if you liked the prompt from a previous month and would like to work on that as well, that is fine too. We don't want to restrict you- we just want to get you going and sometimes having some guidelines/ parameters helps your mind settle on an idea. 
  • You do not have to wait for the co-working session to start working on your prompt. You can start working on it today! 

About the Monthly Live Working Session:

Every month Illustrator Coordinator Jeanne Bowman will send out an open zoom invite through the SCBWI MT regional email.


The working session will last from 1pm to 3 pm on the third Saturday of every month. 

The session will be casual in tone. 

You will be allowed to show up and leave when you want to. 

Chatting is optional, and so is showing your work. 

If you would like to share your work, please do not expect a formal critique. Instead, share to find out what resonates most with the other group members. The goal of this session is to create a feeling of accountability for your creative schedule and to build your body of work! 

Each session going forward will have the following schedule: 

(actual time blocks might be subject to change, depending on the session) 

1:00-1:10ish: Introductions

1:10-1:45: work time

1:45-2:15: intros for anyone joining later and sharing our work

2:15-2:40: work time

2:40-3:00: intros for anyone joining late. Sharing our work and group brainstorming/chatting. 

The co-working session will be facilitated by our Sharing Facilitator, Megan Emmot. Megan is also the person who wrote all of our prompts! She has written some incredibly fun prompts!

Our previous months prompts: 

October 2023- "There's something spooky living under the stairs" 

November 2023- "An Alligator goes stargazing"

December 2023- "A Memory of Ice Skating" 

January 2024- "New" 

February- "It's not easy being small" 

Feel free to join us! Bring along a friend! let's get creative!