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


Upcoming events

    • 07 Mar 2015
    • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • LA Public Library - Harbor Gateway Branch 24000 S. Western Ave., Harbor City, CA 90710
    • 2
    Calling All Picture Book/ Early Reader/ Chapter Book Writers: Critique Session!

    This critique session will focus exclusively on Picture Books, Chapter Books, and Early Readers.

    Join this 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:                      

    Picture Book/ Chapter Book/ Early Reader, please bring copies of the entire picture book and early reader book, or if you're working on a chapter book, bring the first two chapters.

     The general rule is that you must bring copies for every member who has signed up for the session. 

    *Please wait for the final email from the organizer before printing copies, so you know exactly how many to print.*

    2. A voice/tape recorder if you wish to record the critiques.

    3. A notebook/pad and pen to use for your critique notes.


    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 1pm. 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: cassie@cbw-la.orgOtherwise we may be unable to critique your work that day.
    We look forward to seeing you there!

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


    With Kathie Fong Yoneda
    and Pamela Jaye Smith

    In the last several years, the fantasy and mythic genres have enjoyed great success on the best-selling book lists and on multiple media screens.  This workshop will focus on some of the ways to take your creativity to a higher level of effectiveness by helping you to define and enhance your plots, characters, worlds and action with classic myth-making and fantasy story-telling tools.

    Noted mythologist Pamela Jaye Smith and former Disney studio exec Kathie Fong Yoneda will introduce you to the internal and external rules and challenges that will balance and complement your manuscript, by applying your own unique perspective, allowing you to present your project to publishers, editors, agents and producers in an attention-getting way that will hook their interest.

    It’s no fantasy -- your project and your presentation will improve with the inspiration and information you’ll learn in this ground-breaking workshop.

    There’ll be some time set aside for a limited number of authors to give a 5-minute pitch for feedback from Kathie and Pamela Jaye.


    Kathie Fong Yoneda is an entertainment consultant specializing in development and marketing of live action and animated film, television, literary, and web projects. A former exec at Disney, Touchstone, Island Pictures, and Disney TV Animation, she has taught workshops worldwide.  Her clientele includes several award-winning writers and she is the author of The Script-Selling Game. Kathie serves on the board of directors for Imago (French production company) and The LAWEBFEST, co-exec produced the cable series Beyond The Break and teaches a popular online class, Pitch & Presentation, for Screenwriters University.

    Pamela Jaye Smith is a writer, international consultant-speaker, and award-winning producer/director with over thirty years experience in media from major studios to wildly independent projects. Pamela authored 5 books for media-makers, is co-author of two children’s books, Petra Volare and Skruffy, writes short stories and articles and teaches online for writers groups. Her company MYTHWORKS helps people improve their stories, live their personal myths, and better present their projects.  Pitch Materials  PitchProxy Pros. She is co-founder of Alpha Babe Academy and Mythic Challenges – Create Stories that Change the World. 

    Date: March 14, 2014, Saturday

    Time: 1 - 4 PM

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

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

    *Fee includes workshop materials, handouts, worksheet and copies of the speakers' books 


    Having trouble making your story fit the pattern of The Hero's Journey?

    Can't quite make those paradigms match your own characters and plot?

    Maybe that's because your story is actually based on a different pattern.

    Contrary to popular opinion, The Hero's Journey is not the only Mythic Theme. It's certainly a good one but it is only one of many.

    A few years after the publication of Hero With a Thousand Faces, Dr. Joseph Campbell modified his position and observed that for different times and places there were different mythic structures and archetypes.

    This book introduces you to many other powerful Mythic Themes ranging from "About Face" to "Damsel in Distress", from "Stealing Fire From Heaven" to "The Wakeup Call".

    Each Mythic Theme is explained and explored via:

    * Media Echoes - other media on the same theme

    * The Myth itself

    * Mythic Meaning

    * Symbols, Analogies, Metaphors, and more

    * Plot Points - guidelines for your own story

    * Mythic Statements - Theme, Mission, and Lesson

    Using the guidelines in this workbook you can:

    * Refine and focus your story theme.

    * Select an appropriate sub-plot to enhance your story.

    * Use the Plot Points as guidelines for plot drivers, incidences, and scenes in your story.

    * Use symbols and images to spark audience recognition.

    * Maintain your originality while tapping into the timeless power of these classic myths.

    * Take your place in the long line of myth-makers who create moving and memorable stories that engage and entertain your audience.

    The Script-Selling Game is like having a mentor in the business who answers your questions and provides you with not only valuable information, but real-life examples on how to maneuver your way through the Hollywood labyrinth. While the first edition focused mostly on film and television movies, the second edition includes a new chapter on animation and another on utilizing the Internet to market yourself and find new opportunities, plus an expansive section on submitting for television and cable.

    • 19 Mar 2015
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, 1590 Rosecrans Ave. Ste. T, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

    Join us for our monthly CBW–LA event, the Third Thursday Weekday Write-In! Carve out a couple of hours to work on your manuscript; bring your laptop or your pen and paper and come out to a coffee shop for some quality writing time.

    This event takes place on the third Thursday morning of every month, September through May.

    There are no critiques or lessons, just an opportunity to support one another and hold yourself accountable to get in at least a few hours a month writing and revising. It's a great way for our members with alternative schedules to keep on task.

    Third Thursdays take place at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Rosecrans in Manhattan Beach. If you know of another great location, please feel free to share your favorite coffee shops with WiFi and plenty of space to write and park and we might move around occasionally!

    To find us, look for Alana (Publications Director) in a CBW–LA jacket and red-framed glasses.

    This event is free, and limited to current members. Please support this business by purchasing a drink when you arrive.

    Members who have joined us in the past have found that the time is highly productive, and have taken the time to complete chapters, outlined scenes, or work through revisions.


    Thursday, March 19


    10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


    Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
    1590 Rosecrans Ave. Suite T
    Manhattan Beach, CA 90266



    CBW-LA Members Only.

    Please purchase a drink.

    • 25 Apr 2015
    • 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
    • Torrance Airport (Zamperini Field) Meeting Room 3301 Airport Drive, Torrance, CA 90505
    • 25

    Each fall, the Children's Book Writers of Los Angeles release a highly-rated Writing Resource and Anthology called Story Sprouts created by YOU.

    We invite you to take part in our Story Sprouts series through registration for Writing Day 2015. Every author who attends this workshop will walk away not only with a bevy of inspiration and writing lessons and an expanded writing community, but with a publication with YOUR name—and story—THIS fall!

    Plus, new this year, start your day getting to know your fellow writers in a creative and fun group writing activity. This is a stellar opportunity to network and grow your supportive writing community, sharing some quality time with others who "get" the writing life!

    After an intensive day of creative writing, see your work published in the Story Sprouts Anthology (Volume One and Volume Two: Voice) in October. 

    CBW-LA Founder and President Nutschell Windsor and Publications Director Alana Garrigues will 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 third year and Alana's second facilitating the highly rated workshop that last year's authors called "an awesome and fun day," "spectacular," "delightfully surprising," "encouraging and motivating," and "well done." One author said she'd like to attend the workshop every month if she could!

    Of the resulting book, Children's Author and former SCBWI President J. Enderle said, "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."

    This year's theme is SETTING! So get ready to learn techniques and writing exercises designed to help you weave time, place and location seamlessly into your stories. Setting is often referred to as the silent character, shaping your story with its own tale. Many authors have created entire books around a SETTING: James Michener, Edward Rutherford and Ken Follett to name a few. Try to imagine "Hunger Games" without District 9 and the Capital, or "Harry Potter" without Hogwarts. Impossible! The setting of your book dictates its physical and social world.

    In this workshop, you will explore eras and time periods, extreme conditions, real and imagined worlds, different cultures and traditions ... and more!

    By the end of the workshop, you will have a minimum of two pieces ready for publication in this year's CBW-LA Story Sprouts Anthology, Story Sprouts: Setting.

    All submissions will go through line and copy editing prior to publication.

    All writers will receive one complimentary print copy and one complimentary digital copy of the finished product - and additional print and digital copies will be available through Amazon and at future CBW-LA events! It will make a great stocking stuffer for your biggest writing fans on your holiday shopping list. Anticipated publication date Sept. 30, 2015.**

    Anticipated launch party date Oct. 10, 2015.


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

    The Details

    Date: April 25, 2015

    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. Before you leave, our board members will collect all of your work on a flash drive. Please wait for confirmation the weeks after the workshop that we have all of your submissions, and then you are free to delete your work.

    Place: 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 March 25, but we will send a complimentary copy of Story Sprouts. 

    Thank you for understanding.

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

    Using a Story Map to Find the Holes in Your Story


    Nancy Ellen Dodd

    How do you know when your story misses an important storytelling element? How do you find the holes? How do you create new ideas based on filling in those holes?

    This workshop will teach using a story map as a visual tool and how to use the key elements of good storytelling. You will learn not only what you know about your story, but more importantly, what you don’t know, and what key elements are missing. You will also learn how to determine whether you are telling your story in the most dynamic order of events. You can use this story tool whether you are starting the development of a new story or already have a well-developed story.

    In this interactive class, Author Nancy Ellen Dodd discusses the elements that go into building a strong story and her unique system for building rock-solid story structure.  If you’re able to start a story well, but have trouble getting to the end, or want to avoid a sagging mid-section, this is the workshop for you. Using a story map is one of the many tools Dodd will provide to help you stay on track writing a winning story that’s compelling through and through.

    • ·       The key elements that every story needs
    • ·       How to create your own story map
    • ·       How to develop new ideas
    • ·       How to develop the middle of your story
    • ·       How to determine a dynamic order for your story

    Using handouts with a structure chart and blank story map, we will go through the components of creating a story map and provide a practical application to apply to your story. This is an interactive workshop and includes a group writing exercise. This workshop is based on the book: The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages.


    Nancy Ellen Dodd, MPW, MFA, teaches Advanced Screenwriting to undergraduate and graduate students at Pepperdine University. She also develops and teaches online courses in screenwriting and creative writing for Writers Digest University and Screenwriters University (sister organizations under Writers Digest/F&W Publications). She also teaches a number of workshops as well as private classes at universities, conferences, writers’ groups, and internationally.

    Dodd is that rare breed of writer, editor, and educator who has studied all forms of writing and has business, academic, and creative writing publications in her portfolio. Her book, The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages (published by Writers Digest Books, June 2011), is based on more than three decades of learning storytelling. The book teaches the creative writing process and the Aristotle/Freytag architecture of story. She earned two graduate degrees in writing from the University of Southern California: an MPW in Professional Writing, which covers all writing disciplines, with a focus in screenwriting; and an MFA in playwriting from the School of Theatre.

    She has published short stories that also have been read on the radio, had her one-act play and short videos produced, produced audio and video interviews for online, and received several awards for writing. Dodd is currently on faculty at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University where she serves as academic editor of the online peer-reviewed journal the Graziadio Business Review (GBR). She has served as editor of two print and two online journals and published more than 130 articles. Her website is

    Date: February 28, 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 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.


Past events

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 The Write Stuff Children’s Picture Book Workshop
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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