SoCal Meet-ups and Critique Groups

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June 23 guest speaker: Bruce Hale

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Bruce Hale, award winning author

Raised by wolves just outside Los Angeles, Bruce Hale worked as a surveyor, actor, DJ, English teacher (in Japan), and corporate lackey, before turning to a career in writing. Bruce has written and illustrated more than 70 seriously funny books for young readers, including his award-winning series, The Chet Gecko Mysteries, Class Pets, and the Clark the Shark picture books. (One of which ended up in a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Not the way you’re thinking.) His book, The Malted Falcon, was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, and Murder, My Tweet won a Little D Award for Humor Writing. Bruce’s fractured fairytale, Snoring Beauty, landed on Oprah’s Recommended Reading for Kids list. A Fulbright Scholar (in Storytelling), Bruce is in demand as a speaker, having presented at conferences, universities, and schools from New York to New Delhi. His acting credits include numerous plays and musicals, several TV commercials, and an independent movie, "The Ride" (in which he plays a surfer's agent). Bruce is a member of the National Speakers Association, the Mystery Writers of America, and the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. A firm believer in fun, he can often be found hiking, kickboxing, or singing latin jazz with his band, Mezcal Martini.

Make Your Story Unputdownable: The Secrets of Suspense 

What keeps readers from putting down your book, no matter what its genre? In a word, suspense. Learn to grab your reader from the first sentence and keep their attention throughout your story, through the use of micro-tension, cliff-hangers, conceal-and-reveal, and other sure-fire tips for generating suspense. This session offers something of value for all writers of all genres, from picture books to novels.

When: Sunday, June 23, 1:00-2:00 PM

Where: Our meet-ups are virtual over zoom. The zoom link is provided in the bi-monthly email. If you'd like to be added to the email list, please contact Bev Plass at SoCal-RA@scbwi.org

SoCal welcomes you to join our monthly meet-ups to connect with other creative people and hone your craft. We mingle, have guest speakers, and celebrate writer successes. We generally meet on the fourth Sunday of the month from 1:00-2:00. Sometimes we change the dates due to holidays or other SCBWI events. We break into critique groups immediately following, using the same zoom link.



Critique Groups

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SoCal Writer's Group

SoCal Writers typically meet every fourth Sunday of the month via zoom immediately following the meet-up. The same zoom link is used for both meetings.

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Inland Empire Writers Group

Inland Empire Writers meet every third Saturday of the month via zoom for meet-up and critique groups.

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Illustrators Group

Illustrators typically meet every second Saturday of the month in person and via zoom (hybrid).

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Author-Illustrator Group

Author Illustrators meet every 3 months via zoom for picture book and graphic novel dummy critiques.

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Bilingual Group

Bilingual Latinx Writers who write in Spanish and English typically meet every second Wednesday of the month via zoom or e-critique.

Writer Submission Guidelines:

Picture Book (PB)

Submission length - Send in one manuscript. 1,000 words or less.

Document type - Word document (NOT Pages or PDF.)

Document name - GENRE (PB), LAST NAME, FIRST, TITLE

Document formatting - Size 12 font, Times New Roman. Double spaced. 1 inch margin on all sides.

Document header - Title/author last name (on the far left) and page numbers (on the far right)

Middle Grade (MG) / Young Adult (YA)

Submission length - Send in five pages (double spaced)

Document type - Word document (NOT Pages or PDF.)

Document name - GENRE (MG/YA), LAST NAME, FIRST, TITLE

Document formatting - Size 12 font, Times New Roman. Double spaced. 1 inch margin on all sides.

Document header - Title/author last name (on the far left) and page numbers (on the far right)

Note: If you are submitting a chapter that is later in the novel (not chapter 1), it is helpful to provide a “here’s what has happened so far” summary. It is also helpful to the critiquer if you include a complete synopsis of the novel so they can judge the excerpt within the entire context of the novel. These are merely suggestions, not requirements, to help you maximize the quality of the feedback from your group. First-time submissions: It is highly recommended you attend a meeting once before participating in a critique group. That way, you will know the process we follow. It is important you know the process as this is a moment of vulnerability for members of the group. We want to guide and inspire, not crush our aspiring writers.


Future Meet-up Dates:

July - no meeting

August 25 - Speaker: Nicole Chen- Writing about Taiwan

September 29 - Speaker: Tia Mele (agent) Pitches and Synopsis

October 27 - Topic: Query Letter Practice

November 24 - TBD

December - No Meeting