Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Event Wrap-Up: September 26, 2014 Tokyo Creative Exchange

Tokyo Creative Exchange 

Guest post by Shilpa Agashe, Tokyo, Japan


I had the opportunity to attend my first SCBWI creative exchange led by Mariko Nagai. The conference room setting was in direct contrast to the imagination and creativity brought to the table in the form of some wonderful stories. There was a nice mix of picture books and middle grade works, spanning everyday, historical, and fantasy elements.


We made ourselves comfortable around a makeshift square table and settled in for about two and a half hours worth of discussion. Mariko's question, "Who wants to go first?" was perhaps the only time during the entire evening when we had a moment of silence. It is interesting how as children we want to do everything first and as adults we don't want to go first or sit in the front row. As it so happened, my manuscript was at the top of the pile!


Each of us was asked to read aloud a part of our piece that we were most proud of and to think if the rest of our writing lived up to that standard. Everyone then chimed in with questions, compliments, and suggestions on what worked well and what didn’t. Since the participants had taken the time to read all the pieces submitted for critique it resulted in quality feedback for everyone. There were laughs, thoughtful frowns, and light bulb moments.


At the end of the session I had a bunch of notes on my manuscript, a shot of creative energy, and renewed confidence to revise and hone my story.


Shilpa Agashe is a software engineer who writes code by day and stories by night.