Kid's Book Revisions:
What Our Students Say

Note: We have compiled these from student comments about our workshops and tutorials. We have a separate page for comments from our Revision Retreat.

Comments on Workshops:

A Comment on "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Novel or Chapter Book" (webinar series, October-December 2017) from a published author:

I just want to thank you for this incredible experience with your revision and reimagining workshop. I have learned so many new strategies on revising my stories. This comes at a crucial turning point in my life and career and has made all the difference. I particularly like the plot checklist and have used it for my current WIP as well as a new one I’ve started. The study on voice was also very interesting and has come in handy as I revised [my new manuscript]! -- Bobbi Miller

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Comments on "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book Manuscript" (webinar series, February-April 2017):

From a published picture book author:
I've been writing picture books for almost ten years but Harold & Eileen's webinar presented revision strategies I had not considered before. An extremely valuable series that I would recommend to every picture book writer. -- Tara Lazar

-- from people's evaluations:
I learned a tremendous amount from your Webinar. For me it was like getting some 'secrets' for revising redoing re-imagining my story. I only wish I had the information for further development of my writing picture book skills years ago. The resources-little gems- you shared are invaluable. Thank you!

This course offers sound editing techniques to help writers take their picture books to the next level. I especially recommend it for those who have trouble connecting their stories to emotion or those who, like me, didn't really understand this concept until Eileen and Harold explained it with concrete exercises. Thanks!

I want to thank you. Working with you both on how to take up ms. revisions was a rich learning experience. And I very much appreciated your emphasis on picture books!
If you offer this picture book webinar in the future, I would probably enroll again if you'd let me. The structure of this webinar is innovative--a facilitated writers' group with an added instructional component. This approach fills a gap in the PB professional development community.
I live in a smaller community so resources for picture book writers are limited. I do try to stay connected with on-line critique groups but they wax and wane! So the R/R webinar is a great opportunity.

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Comments from the SCBWI organizers of a revision mini-retreat that Harold did with West Central NY SCBWI in the fall of 2015: Harold Underdown was very well received by our people and seems to have just the right mix of clarity and gentleness in his critiques so that participants were able to hear him. His revision techniques were easily put to use right away, too. We want Harold to come back and do another retreat for us in Western/Central Upstate New York. In fact, we're working on booking him now. [Harold returned in the fall of 2017 and will be offering another mini-retreat in 2018.]

Here's what one participant, a published author, in the 2017 mini-retreat had to say: "Even though I'd previously taken part in Harold Underdown's and Eileen Robinson's "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book" webinar series, I decided to attend a weekend-long retreat of the same name led by Harold.

"You might wonder why I spent the money to attend the retreat when much of the material covered was the same as in the webinar. One reason was that it was a weekend--Friday evening until Sunday afternoon--away from the demands of day-to-day life. I could think, write, talk craft with the other writers there. It was both energizing and centering for me. The combined energies of the participants is a strong creativity sparker for me, too--I came home refreshed and ready to get back to work.

"I would recommend this retreat to anyone--newbies or seasoned pros."

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About the August 2015 Revision Retreat at Highlights: I've been to over 20 writers' conferences in the past 10 years and the Highlights Revision Retreat was, by far, the best of them. The setting, the food and the staff were unmatched. The schedule included plenty of writing and exercise time (and long walks in the country beat long walks down hotel corridors any day). I loved the intimacy of our small group over the 200 ― or even 2,000 ― participants at larger conferences. But best of all was the small, yet vastly knowledgeable faculty ― Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson. I learned something new for the first time in years, which helped me to finally move one particular manuscript over a difficult hurdle so I can get it into circulation. -- Jeanette Juryea

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Comments on "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book Manuscript" (webinar series, spring 2015):

Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson made the impossible seem possible. The webinar helped me face the hard fact that my practice of revision, pre-webinar, consisted of tending to things that should come later in the revision process. Re-imagining is in the title of the webinar for good reason. Along with introducing me to the helpful Reader Response Theory, Harold and Eileen provided me with tools and techniques along with exercises prompting me to ponder POV and strengthen my characters, plot, and setting. And, goodness, what an abundance of useful resources they provided! The chat feature brought forward good discussion points and gave a nice sense of camaraderie. When the webinar ended, and even now nearly two years later, I know that Harold and Eileen are rooting for me and I can keep up with them in the Kids Book Revision Facebook Group page. -- Sarah Corson

From a published picture book author:
I found the picture book webinar to be full of useful nuggets and techniques, (some variations of old friends and some new,) that help me bring fresh eyes to the revision process. They are among the notes I return to when stuck. The page by page chart breakdown was a particular favorite -- a simple and elegant view of the PB. -- Erica Silverman

From a participant:
Dear Harold,
Thank you for the wonderful webinar, and for answering my many questions throughout its course. I have been a fan of yours since I joined the SCBWI about 15 years ago and learned a tremendous amount by reading your posts on the boards. Your website is always the first place I go when I am looking for information on a publishing topic. When I first learned of the webinar, I was hesitant to sign up for it because I wasn't certain the format would work for me. But when I learned that you were behind it, I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did! The format ended up working very well for me, and I gained a tremendous amount from the experience--not only knowledge, tools, and techniques, but inspiration and a rekindled excitement for writing. To top it all off, it has been an indescribably wonderful experience for me to be able to take a class from and communicate with someone I have admired for so long.
Thank you so much for sharing your time, knowledge, and advice, and for being so positive and encouraging. -- Cathy Isaac Lindquist

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The Editing without an Editor Webinar is filled with an abundance of techniques for looking at your manuscript with an editorial eye. It's not only a great introduction to writing children's books for those just getting started, but also- for those of us who have been in the field awhile - an effective way to recharge one's engine, review familiar tools of the craft, pick up some new ones and discover new resources. The participants' discussion adds much to the experience. There's a lot going on in each session, so it's quite helpful to have it up online afterwards to review at your own pace. -- Erica Silverman (published picture book author)

If you're in the business of writing for children, then I highly recommend KBR's, "Editing Without An Editor" webinar. This webinar not only gave me the tools that I needed to edit my manuscripts more efficiently, but it also gave me insider knowledge that can only come from someone who has been an editor. Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson both offer a combination of brains and insight - I couldn't recommend this webinar more. -- Elaine Kiely Kearns (writer and owner of KidLit 411)

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On Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book workshop, Western PA SCBWI, June 2014 (comments from individual participants):

"I learned so much about the whole process of writing picture books."

"Harold has a great way of explaining concepts in a way that makes them so easy to understand."

"Harold and Eileen worked together so well. They each brought important information to the workshop."

"Wow! There is a lot more to writing picture books than I ever knew. I am so glad that I came to this workshop."

"The day passed too quickly. I learned a lot and could have spent another day learning more! I feel like my picture book is really just an idea, and now I have a lot of work to do to make it a book. At least now I have an idea of how to start."

(with thanks to Marcy Canterna of the WPA SCBWI for compiling these)

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On Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book workshop at the Eric Carle Museum, March 2014:

Kids Book Revisions' picture book workshop is a fantastic opportunity to learn everything from the basics to the cutting-edge in the world of writing picture books. With both lectures and hands-on writing exercises, I gained knowledge and practiced techniques that I continue to use today. I learned about current trends in the marketplace, where my stories might fit, and how to approach new drafts. Understanding the insiders' perspective of what goes through the mind of an acquiring editor has greatly helped me when writing and revising. Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson showed me ways to re-imagine my stories and helped me take them to the next level, and ultimately onto children's bookshelves. -- Josh Funk (3 picture books forthcoming in 2015 and 2016)

One of the handouts I received when I took this workshop had this statement: "What works for you is important – but so is trying new things." This workshop is cram-packed with new things that will make you think about your writing and revision processes. I apply the tips and techniques I learned to every manuscript I write. For me, the cost of the workshop is a bargain because what I got from it is priceless. -- Carol Munro

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You can also see comments about our earlier online class, now inactive.

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