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  • Writer's pictureTERRY ANN MARSH


I learned something new—again.

Apparently, it is bad form to start a children’s book with dialogue. I didn’t know that. The last few children’s books I wrote, I started them ALL with dialogue, thinking it was a good idea to jump right into the story with riveting dialogue.


I did not go to college for literature, writing or English. I went to Bible College and then went out on the mission field. (Yes, there are modern day missionaries—lots of them.)

But, I have always been a songwriter, singer and storyteller. I’ve sung my songs in churches and 15 years ago I wrote a children’s program that I perform at schools, libraries and special events. (I will be doing ARTSCAPE in Baltimore in July.) This kid’s show, “Music, Movement, & ‘Magination!” (, has been the impetus for my journey into writing children’s books. I reasoned that if the stories could entertain the kids when I performed them, then perhaps I could publish them and entertain kids that way as well.

This was, and still is, a great idea, but of course, like most things, it was harder to do than I anticipated. Which brings me to the title of this blog—The Learning Curve.

Since I do not have a formal education in writing, most of my learning has come in the form of seminars, books and articles on writing, blogs, critique groups, and so on. Basically, I attached myself in whatever ways I could find to the writing community. I went to several writers’ conferences, which can cost quite a bit. But, I looked at it like I was getting an education, and every penny was worth it.

I was amazed at what I didn’t know and impressed by what others did know. One SCBWI conference introduced me to some very creative people and I knew that I would have to up my game if I wanted to compete in this arena.

Every book I read, every seminar I went to, every webinar I listened to, and every critique I received gave me new knowledge and direction. I love the learning curve. I feel like I am always moving forward towards the goal, and I don’t mind finding out that I am doing something wrong. If I know it’s wrong, then I can correct it.

It was when I was listening to a #MSWL (Manuscript Academy) podcast that I learned from the agent speaking, that a children’s book should not open with dialogue. That’s ok. I can correct that problem in my manuscripts.

I am moving forward on that Learning Curve!

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