Keep Readers Turning Pages
with Better Beginnings!

Promise a great story right from the start.

What You’ll Learn

“Once Upon a Time” Quality
Do your picture book beginnings entice young readers to keep turning pages? Do you promise a great story and then keep your promise later on? Learn the four essential elements that Marcie Colleen thinks every picture book should have. She'll also share some ways that picture book beginnings may differ from novel beginnings.

Deliver “Heart” Through Your Characters
Connecting with your readers on an emotional level is so important. You want them to recognize and FEEL some kind of universal truth. But how do you do that? You have to know your characters so well that readers recognize themselves in your characters on an emotional level. Marcie shares an exercise to help you get to know your character. She'll also share examples from successful picture books with great characters and plenty of heart.

Connect Your Beginning and Your Ending
The beginning of your story should promise a satisfying story, and it's important to keep your promises. Can you find similarities between your beginning and your ending? Are you wrapping things up for your readers?

By the time you've finished the assignments for this intensive, you'll not only have a better understanding of how to craft a strong beginning for a picture book–you'll also have a better understanding of how to make your entire story more satisfying. 

ABOUT THIS INTENSIVE:

In this intensive, you'll learn how to craft the best beginning for your picture book. Marcie Colleen will share the four essential elements that every beginning should have, a step-by-step exercise to help you connect with your characters, and examples from picture books with great beginnings. Each of the three lessons has an assignment to help you get the most out of what you're learning, and we've included two handouts for easy reference.

YOUR STORY COACH:

Marcie Colleen is an award-winning children’s author. Her books are THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series (Macmillan), LOVE, TRIANGLE, illustrated by Bob Shea (HarperCollins), and PENGUINAUT!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett (Scholastic).

Through the years her books have garnered accolades and awards. LOVE, TRIANGLE was named a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children's Book of 2018. And PENGUINAUT! was voted One Book Colorado for 2019! Over 75,000 copies were distributed to every four-year-old in the state.

Her latest picture book, THE BEAR’S GARDEN, illustrated by Alison Oliver (Macmillan) was called “a well-illustrated, beautifully written tale of encouragement” by Kirkus and given a starred review.

She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as a faculty member for The Writing Barn, San Diego Writer's Ink, and the University of California San Diego Extension. Her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council.

Marcie Colleen

Author/Illustrator & Founder of Storyteller Academy

Published Books

Publishers

Intensive Details

In this 25-minute intensive, you'll learn the best way to set up your picture book through your beginning. Marcie Coleen shares four essential elements, an exercise to help you develop your character, and examples of successful picture book beginnings. Each of the lessons has an assignment to help you implement what you've just learned, and we hope you'll share your revised beginning Marcie to critique at the live review. The live review/workshop for this class will be on Saturday, February 29 at noon, PST. If you miss the live review, a replay will be available.

Lesson 1
A Well-Crafted Picture Book Beginning

Does your picture book beginning include Marcie's four essential elements?

Lesson 2
It All Comes Down to Character

If you want "heart" in your story, get to know your character.

Lesson 3
A Beginning Is a Promise

Your beginning can be a road map. Are you making promises about your story that you keep later on?

Frequently Asked Questions

Your readers are small children. And while you don't want to write down to small children (usually smarter than they get credit for), you also don't want to drop them into a confusing narrative. Invite. Entice. Promise them a great story, and then keep your promise.

It doesn't take very many words to set up a picture book. Marcie's intensive will help you write a beginning that's a vital part of your story. 

Yes. Marcie's intensive is about 25 minutes of video instruction with three assignments and two handouts for easy reference. It's set up to help you write a better beginning quickly. And you'll be able to use it over and over again.

We do recommend that you submit your revised beginning and attend the live review via Zoom. This will take another hour, but we believe it will be time well spent.

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