Get to Know Our Writers: Beverly Plass

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1) How long have you been a member of SCBWI? What’s the most impactful thing you have learned from being in SCBWI?

I've been a member of SCBWI for over 20 years. I've learned a lot about the craft of writing and the children's book industry, but I think the most impactful thing is that I've made some very good friends. Who wouldn't want to hang out with creative people who want to make children's books?

2) What genres do you write in?

I'm currently working on a middle grade novel about three best friends who go to summer camp, but the counselors separate them into different teams and pit them against each other. It's my first time writing from three points of view, and different styles - prose, verse and journal entries. It's been a challenge!

3) What is your writing process like?

I have two critique groups, so those are my deadlines. I incorporate their feedback into that section, then move forward. I've written a complete draft of my novel (that needs tons of work), and I've re-written about half of it. I cut-paste chunks at a time from my old manuscript to my new one. Unfortunately, my characters aren't cooperating so the old pieces don't fit nicely into the puzzle of my new version and it's almost like I'm rewriting rather than revising. 

4) How long have you been writing? How did you first get into writing for children?

Ha! I've been writing for 20 years, at least. How embarrassing. All I have to show for it is one easy reader - Where is Matt's Cap. When I was little, I wrote an easy reader for my sister to help her learn to read. It was about a frog on a log. Clever, huh? I've published workbooks for speech pathologists and materials on Teachers Pay Teachers. Maybe I'll get my act in gear soon and get published like my SCBWI friends. 

5) Did you go to school for writing or take classes?

I took the novel writing classes at UCI Extension, and participated in dozens of workshops through SCBWI and a couple through Highlights.

6) Do you have a dedicated writing space?

I usually sit at an oak desk that used to be my mom's. I had to seriously clean off the cutter before taking a photo of it for the website! 

7) What would be your dream book to write and get published?

I really hope to finish and publish my current middle-grade Camp Loyalty. I like how the girls earn to have empathy for other people and gather their inner strength to do the right thing.

8) Are you working on any fun projects now?

I like writing about camp. My sons were in cub scouts and our family camped a lot, so I can pull from those experiences in nature and weird games they play at camp.

9) Any tips for writers that are starting out?

My biggest advice is to join a critique group. My critique groups are what keeps me motivated and what keeps me growing as a writer. Shout out to Tightens and Lou's group!

10) Do you currently have an agent? 

I wish I had an agent! I also wish I was braver to submit more often. 

11) Have you won any writer awards?

One year I won a SCBWI Fall Conference middle-grade award for Skater vs. Goliath, the story of a 12-year-old skateboarder with ADHD who has to compete against a devious developer named Goliath to convince the city council to build a skatepark.

12) List 3 to 5 interesting things about yourself.

I spend 20-30 hours/week on SCBWI-related things! It's mostly planning events, updating the website, and coordinating with the other volunteers. 

For fun, I ride my bike three times a week with the Bicycle Club of Irvine.

I retired two years ago as a speech-language pathologist in Irvine Unified who specialized in students with mod-severe disabilities.

I'm a mom of two adult sons, and a grandma to one 7-year-old grandson. 

My yard is mostly low-water or native plants that attract butterflies and birds, and I have a birdbath that birds of all kinds hang out in. It's fun to watch.

13) Where can people find you?



Twitter: @PlassBev