Monday, March 7, 2016

Precious Words


Get ready for some fun. Meet the lovely Vivian Kirkfield, the creator of the 50 Precious Words Contest.
Vivian Kirkfield


I had the pleasure of meeting Vivian in person. You can't help being drawn to her warm smile, great discussions, and upbeat personality. Her motto is: Writer for Children - Reader Forever.

Vivian is represented by Essie White at Storm Literary and has a book coming in spring 2017 from Creston Books.  

 

Sweet Dreams, Sarah is the story of Sarah E. Goode, the first African-American woman to own a U.S. patent. After the Civil War, former slave Sarah moves north, with freedom in her pocket, hope in her heart, and dreams swirling in her head. The story showcases not only the invention but the spirit and determination of the inventor herself. Congratulations, Vivian!

 

Janie: What are you working on now?

Vivian: At the end of 2015, I participated in Kristen Fulton’s 12 Days of Nonfiction (I’m a sucker for challenges as many of you know). Starting 2016 with more than a dozen subjects I’m excited to write about has been incredible. 

In January, I delved into the fascinating life of Joseph Montgolfier, the inventor of the first hot air balloon. I wrote the story…gave it to some of my critique partners…revised…gave it to more critique partners…polished it and sent it to my agent who LOVED it. The Boy Who Dreamed of Flying is now winging its way to eight or nine editors. Fingers crossed that one of them will love it also. 

In February, I wrote another nonfiction picture book that is still going through revisions. And now that it is March, I’m trying to decide which my next project will be. I love to be researching one story, writing another, revising a third, and polishing a fourth. This is actually the process Kristen follows…and it seems to work well for me.



Janie: What is your writing routine?

Vivian: At this point in my life, I am retired from teaching and all the other careers I had. I’m able to devote quite a bit of time to writing. This probably makes me less disciplined, since I know I can stay up till 3am…which those of you who see me on Facebook in the wee hours of the morning will attest to. 

I work several hours in the morning, several hours in the afternoon, several hours in the evening…sometimes I’m writing something new. Other times, I’ll pull out an old manuscript and see if I can create something new and exciting with it. 

I do get waylaid with blogging and social media…and as I mentioned before, I am a sucker for challenges. Although the experts say we should do our concentrated writing in the morning and not even check emails or Facebook, I must admit…I don’t follow that advice even though I know I should.

But this is supposed to be fun, right? And for me, it is! Total bliss! Even the rejections are just a necessary part of the process and I try to see them as steps on the ladder. And some ladders have lots and lots of steps.


Janie: What is your favorite craft book? 


Vivian: There are so many great ones out there. My favorite is Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. Well-laid out and easy to navigate, I also love the action plan at the end of chapter which encourages you to be working on your own manuscript using what you have learned. 

I’ll mention another craft book as well…Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I found that book quite enlightening...other writers also feel doubt…wow, so I am not the only one. And I think this is why it is so important to be part of a writing community. We all need support and encouragement.


Janie: What inspires you to keep writing? 

Vivian: Life inspires me to keep writing. History inspires me to keep writing. (for me there is nothing better than to latch onto a golden moment of history that has been forgotten and is calling to me to bring it alive for young readers) 

Things I hear, things I read inspire me to keep writing. Even my husband is constantly coming up with clever titles and ideas. “Hey honey,” he’ll say, “this would make a great kid’s book!” 

And my grandson inspires me to keep writing. He slept over last night and I commented that his blankets were all over the place and it looked like he had been exercising while he was sleeping. “Sure, Grandma,” he said. “That’s because I was sleepercizing.” 

Then when he left the breakfast table, my husband said, “See you later, Alligator.” And without a moment’s hesitation, Jeremy replied, “After while, Grandpadile.” So now I have two possible story ideas to add to the others. I just need to find a better way to keep track of them all.


Janie: How did you get the idea for 50 Precious Words?

Vivian: Many years ago, Bennett Cerf (one of the founders of Random House) bet Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) that he couldn't write a kid's book using only 50 different words...of course, Dr. Seuss proved him wrong with Green Eggs and Ham..there is a website that talks a bit about it: Some friends were talking about Dr. Seuss...it was his birthday on the 2nd...and I thought, hey, what fun...let's try to write a kid's story with only 50 words total.

Here are the rules:

 50 PRECIOUS WORDS WRITING CONTEST 
Vivian:
  1. Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, using only 50 words…they can all be different words, or you can use some of them over and over…just as long as the total word count for the story is 50 or less.
  2. It can be prose, rhyme, free verse, silly or serious…whatever works for you.
  3. Title is not included in the word count.
  4. No illustration notes please.
  5. Post the story on your blog if you have one and put the link in the comments OR post the story in the comments.
  6. Deadline for posting the story or the link in the comments is Friday, March 18th…that gives you two weeks.
  7. Winners will be announced on Saturday, March 19th.
  8. Prizes? Of course! In honor of Women’s History Month, a copy of Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough. Kristen Fulton is going to donate a place in her April Nonfiction Archaeology class and I am offering a mini-critique.

So are you up for the challenge? Check out my entry on Vivian's site. I look forward to reading yours. Show me your 50 precious words.

52 comments:

  1. Lovely interview, Vivian and Janie! I love being in one of Vivian's critique groups. And maybe someday we can meet!

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    1. Tina you are so lucky to be in one of Vivian's critique groups!

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    2. And I love having you as a critique partner, Tina! Your feedback is always spot on and it always helps me hone my stories. Our pbwriters was the first critique group I ever joined...and I know that I owe so much of my growth as a writer to all of you. And yes! I know we will meet in person one day. ;)

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  2. Vivian, loved hearing about your creative grandson. You DO need to keep a notebook handy for all of his fun quotes. Even if you don't use them in a story, you can gift him with the notebook when he is an adult. :-)

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    1. Pat love your idea of a gift of sayings for Vivian's grandson. You always have the best ideas.

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    2. Ooooh...what a FANTASTIC idea, Pat. I am totally going to start a notebook of his clever and sweet sayings.

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  3. Vivian, your enthusiasm buoys me! Congratulations on your success, and thanks for a most interesting challenge. Thank you, Janie for this interview!

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    1. Jane you are welcome. Vivian is like sunshine!

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    2. Thank you for your good wishes, Jane...and also for your kind words. I'm thrilled everyone is enjoying the challenge...it's so much fun for me to see old friends AND new faces taking part in the contest. ;)

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  4. Lovely interview of a lovely person. Good choice Janie!

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    1. One of my nonfiction gurus! Thanks, Keila...glad you enjoyed the post. By the way...I LOVED your entry to the contest...thank you so much for joining in the fun!

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  5. Love Vivian's talent and enthusiasm. What a great idea for a story challenge. If Dr. Seuss can do it...

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    1. Darlene let us know when you do the challenge.

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    2. Will you join in, Darlene? I hope so...I'd love to hear 50 Precious Words from the author of Wheels of Change...one of my favorite MG books. Thanks so stopping by with such a lovely comment. :)

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  6. Your kindness and enthusiasm bubbles over. I am so honored that you call me friend.

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    1. Kristen, fabulous prize :)

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    2. Kindness and enthusiasm are contagious, my sweet Kristen...and I catch some of them from you every time we connect. And of course we need to add generosity to your long list of admirable traits...I'm floored by the prize you donated! You made the contest ever so much more delightful. THANK YOU. ;)

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  7. What a wonderful interview. Vivian is a true inspiration!

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    1. Vivian rocks. Thanks for stopping by Sue.

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    2. It's a good thing I don't wear hats...with all the lovely things everyone is saying, my head will be swelling up so big, none of them would fit. Thank you so much, Sue...you and your awesome blog inspire me!

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  8. Great interview. Your dedication and passion are impressive!

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    1. Sylvia, you can just feel Vivian's passion shining through.

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    2. I've found my bliss, Sylvia...although I must admit that whatever I've done in my life, I've thrown my heart and soul into it (well, maybe not cleaning the toilets). I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview, Sylvia...and you display a similar passion and dedication...your love for what you do radiates from your work. ;)

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  9. Love hearing the story behind the story. You are an inspiration, Miss Viv.

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    1. There is always a story behind the story, right Sherri? That's why we lovve writing nonfiction, I guess. ;) And your words are kind...just like you!

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  10. Lovely interview of a lovely person. Good choice Janie!

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    1. Awww...you are sweet, Keila! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview...if you have the time, hop on board the challenge. ;)

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  11. Great interview! Gotta see if I can come up with 50 words...

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    1. I hope you can, Jilanne...the more, the merrier...and I'd love to read your story. ;)

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  12. Jilanne, It is fun! Looking forward to seeing your story.

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  13. Love the interview Vivian and Janie :) You ladies inspire! I am looking forward to your book, Vivian. Your grandson sounds like he has some of his Grandmother's humor and way with words :) Congrats to a beautiful lady!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words, Charlotte. And thank you also for being such a loyal cheerleader! It means the world to me.

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  14. Thank you, Charlotte. Vivian's grandson cracked me up!

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  15. This is great. I know some of you have been talking about being one of Vivian's crit partners, and I'm happy to say I am one too! AND, I will finally get to meet her in person in July at WOW! Yay!

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    1. Yay! I'm the lucky one, Ellen, and pretty clever also...because I've surrounded myself with awesome writers and incredible people (like you). ;) ;)
      And I'm so excited to finally give you an in person hug at the WOW retreat!

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  16. Wow! Look all these comments. Everyone loves you because we can feel your love and passion for people and the stories they tell. You want everyone's words and their lives to the best they can be. Thank you Vivian!

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    1. Lisa thanks for stopping by. Everyone does love Vivian.

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    2. But it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with all of you...this community is incredible. I know I keep saying it, but you all fill my life with such joy! How could I not want the best for all of you? Thank you, Lisa...I'm glad you know what I feel in my heart. ;)

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  17. Wonderful interview Vivian! Can't wait to see what's next. Are you Grandmagator?

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    1. Chana, Grandmagator made me laugh out loud.

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    2. Chana...that is BRILLIANT! I love Grandmagator...now I have the makings of a stellar story about when Grandpadile and Grandmagator...
      Not sure what is going to happen, but I think I need to try...what do you think?

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  18. I am so thrilled to see Vivian here.

    And her grandson's inventive ways with words are fantabulous!

    I'm in Florida, land of grandma & grandpa gators & I can tell you this one hasn't been done before. I will read it to children at the school where I volunteer with delite.


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    1. Jan are you entering the contest? That story would be fabulous.

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    2. Just seeing this comment now, Jan...sorry I didn't get to respond earlier. We'll be in Florida later this year for our daughter's destination wedding on St. Pete's Beach. Thanks for the sweet words about Jeremy. ;)

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    1. Hi Eloise, You need to post your story on Vivian's blog. Here is the link https://viviankirkfield.com/2016/03/04/ppbf-brave-girl-plus-50-precious-words-contest/

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  21. I read this the other day and not sure if I responded then or not, but reading it again, I was touched by something....how many of us consider and know that Vivian is "my" friend! I know that so many of us love her, so I'm thankful that she can embrace all of us!

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