Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

The Writer’s Craft: Voice & Scene by Darcy Pattison

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Date(s) - 05/17/2019 - 05/19/2019
4:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Christ the King Retreat House
500 Brookford Road - Syracuse, NY 13224


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Important! Please read all the way through the entire description for valuable information. This event is geared towards the more seasoned writer. 

Registration for this event is limited to 15 people — on a first-come, first served-basis — and will close out thereafter — or by May 7, 2019 at the latest!

See schedule below. Check-in time begins at 2:00 p.m. and First Session begins at 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 17th. 

Please join us for a wonderful weekend retreat with Darcy Pattison at the beautiful Christ the King Retreat House, 500 Brookford Road, Syracuse, NY 13224

Registration Options

The Full Retreat registration fee includes EVERYTHING: lodging in private rooms (shared bathrooms) and meals. If you don’t want to stay the two nights and would like to commute from home instead, you can register using the Commuter ticket.

If you have any food restrictions or allergies, please notify us immediately after you register on-line for the event by sending an email to Sandra at Please include the words “food restrictions” in the subject line.

This is a wonderful facility chock full of awesome rooms for small group discussions, writing time, reading time, and lecture time. They also have beautiful grounds for a quiet walk or writing, reading, and group time. (The facility is handicapped-accessible, except for a few areas. Please advise Sandra if you have any mobility issues.)

Any questions or concerns that are not addressed here please send an email to Sandra at

The Writer’s Craft: Voice & Scene

By Darcy Pattison

Let’s dig into the writer’s craft and discuss Voice and Scenes.

Voice can and should be a conscious part of your writing. You can learn to make deliberate choices that affect the voice of your story. Scenes are the basic building blocks of a story. Learn to handle scenes well, and the story will be a page-turner. Mastering these two basics of the writer’s craft can make a huge difference in your writing career.

Writing teacher Darcy Pattison will lead a weekend retreat that focuses on gaining control of the voice of your writing, Show Vs. Tell, scene structure, using scenes to plot a story, and scene cuts. Exercises will focus on gaining control of your voice as you look at words, sentences and passages. We’ll also look at what artificial intelligence and deep learning tell us about what works in fiction today.

Craft is the focus on this intensive weekend. Bring any project—picture book to novel, fiction to nonfiction—and learn how a focus on voice and scene can turn the project from good to fantastic.

Editors buy voice. They don’t know how to control it, but you—the author—can and should learn the craft techniques that will give voice to your work. Join us for an exciting weekend diving deep into craft.

If you’ve attended Darcy’s retreat before, the material will be largely new.

Schedule Sessions and mealtimes:

Friday afternoon/evening (May 17th):

4:00: What is voice?

6:00: Supper

7:00: AI Looks at Fiction: What we can learn about Voice from AI


Saturday (May 18th)

Breakfast: 8:00

9:00: Scene structure

10:30: Show v. Tell.

Lunch: 12:30

1:30: From Scene to Plot

3:00: Scene Cuts

6:00: Supper

7:00: Voice: Words, Sentences, Passages


Sunday (May 19th)

Breakfast: 8:00

9:00: Scene + Voice

10:30: Planning a Story Revision

12:30: Lunch

2:00: Goodbyes


Storyteller, writing teacher, Queen of Revisions, and founder of Mims House ( publisher, Darcy Pattison has been published in nine languages. Her books, published with Harcourt, Philomel/Penguin, Harpercollins, Arbordale, and Mims House have received recognition for excellence with starred reviews in Kirkus, BCCB and PW. Three nonfiction nature books have been honored as National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade books. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt) received an Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature Honor Book award, and has been published in a Houghton Mifflin textbook.

Four of Darcy’s books are National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade Books: 2013 Desert Baths; 2015 Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma; 2017 Nefertiti, the Spidernaut; 2019 Clang! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments.

The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story was a 2017 Junior Library Guild selection, a 2018 National Council of Teachers of English Outstanding Children’s Book in Language Arts, and translated into Korean. POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction is a 2019 Junior Library Guild selection.

She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature.

Pattison has taught writing at the University of Central Arkansas, at SCBWI conferences across the US and Canada, and at the Highlights Foundation. Best known for her whole novel revision retreat, Pattison teaches the craft of writing to elementary students through advanced professional writers. She takes the craft of writing—in all its messy complexity—and strives to make it visual, step-by-step, and simple to master.

Refund Policy: Full refund before April 1st (less $30. administrative fee). Partial refund of 50% (and less $30. administrative fee) from April 1st through May 1st. No refund after May 1st. You must request this in writing to Sandra at if for some reason you are unable to attend after registering.