Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Interview with Emma Dryden


PAL World Crafting and Revision Master Classes 

Over the course of three intensive and interlinked sessions—Writers as Atlas Makers, Writers as Architects, and Writers as Re-Envisioners—we will start by exploring various tools and techniques for world building in our work—the external world-building of setting, landscape, and geography, and the internal world-building of our characters’ voices and emotional engagement. We will follow with an exploration of how best to structure our work by focusing on our first sentences, first pages, and narrative voice. And we will close by exploring a wide range of tools and techniques for the robust and thoughtful revision of our work.

Authors can expect:  to write during each session, to come away with some new ideas for how to approach their works in progress, and to be surprised by new ways of tackling revision.  Authors will be given handouts for further writing exercises, a character interview questionnaire, and revision resource tools.

Each session will consist of a presentation in the form of an informal lecture. During each session I will guide authors through several writing exercises after which I will ask as many participants as possible to share their exercise work with the class. This will further the on-going conversation and provide feedback.  Each session will allow time for Q&A at the end.

Attendees should be sure they have access to their manuscripts during the sessions, and plan to bring whatever they feel comfortable with to engage in the exercises (laptop, tablet with keyboard, or good old fashioned pen and paper!).

Authors writing any sort of novels, picture books, or non-fiction can benefit from these sessions.  My focus is on writing craft, not on business practices or the marketplace; any author at any stage of their career can benefit from new approaches to take with their craft. In my experience the writing exercises always bring up some wonderful surprises for writers.

In addition to the PAL Master Classes, I am going to be donning my editorial and publishing consultancy hat and will be available for 15 minute one-on-one consultations to answer questions and discuss specific concerns.  Interested writers should sign up separately when you register. I’m happy to cover topics such as: assessing your one-page query letter to be sure it’s working; assessing your one-page synopsis; agent-related questions or concerns; publishing “etiquette” questions or concerns; best practices concerning publishing options; “awkward” questions that have been bothering you about something related to your work or the business that you’ve been afraid to ask anyone else; and nearly anything else that’s on your mind in relation to the craft of your work and the business of children’s publishing. All consultations are private and confidential.

EMMA D. DRYDEN is the founder of drydenbks LLC (, the children’s editorial and publishing consultancy firm she established after 25 years as an editor and publisher with several major publishing houses. She edits books and digital content, consults on writing and illustration careers and publishing strategies, and teaches extensively about writing craft as well as traditional and non-traditional publishing best practices. An SCBWI board member, Emma lives and works in New York City.

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