Last Saturday 9th March saw Vivian presenting at the New Zealand SCBWI in Auckland. A lovely turnout headed by Gillian Torckler. Vivian spoke about the roller coaster ride her writing journey has taken after jumping out of a perfectly good plane to not only being represented by the amazing Essie White of Storm Literacy but also having three Picture Books coming out this year. That’s right folks three books and already next year Vivian has another two more books due out with one a compilation of nine full length picture book stories. Whew! She has been one busy lady.

At the meeting Vivian also covered the Ten Techniques in the Picture Book Toolbox to Help Your Manuscript Sparkle and Sing.

  1. ALLITERATION: word starts with same letter or same sound – Suddenly—silence.A silver sliver hangs in the night sky.
  2. ONOMATOPOEIA: word that sounds like its name – “No,” purrs Cat, “go ask the snake, slither-sliding by the lake.”
  3. SIMILIE/METAPHOR word that compares one thing to another – Two dragonflies dance, ballerinas above a liquid stage.
  4. SHOW vs TELL: words that show action/feelings instead of just telling how character feels – resources like the Emotion Thesaurus can help – Slipping the paperwork and a bit of her heart into the envelope, Sarah sealed her fate and sent it off.
  5. ELEMENT OF THREE: words or phrases in sets of three – Before the Civil War, Sarah obeyed her owner. Hurry up! Eyes down! Don’t speak!
  6. PERSONIFICATION: nonhuman takes on human characteristics – Stumble, tumble down the trail. Pippa prays she will not fail.
  7. REPETITION: repeating a word or phrase throughout the story – Water waits. Water ripples. Water calms. Water splashes. Water glistens. Water darkens. Water roils. Water cascades. Water glitters. Water flows. Water waits.
  8. REFRAIN: repeating a phrase or verse throughout the story – Quiver! Quaver! Shiver! Shake! Cats make Pippa cringe and quake!
  9. IMAGERY: vivid and descriptive language that paints pictures in the reader’s mind to evoke the senses – use to find rich vocabulary alternatives – Dusk falls, stealing the day, as the mountains swallow the sun.
  10. WORDS COUNT vs COUNT WORDS: tell the story with as few words as possible but use as many words as necessary – Every day Sarah worked alongside her husband. Measure. Cut. Sand.

And her Seven Steps to Successful Book Publication.

  1. Read lots of books in the genre you want to write
  2. Participate in writing challenges and contests
  3. Interact with the kid-lit community
  4. Join critique groups
  5. Hone your craft
  6. Write and revise
  7. Submit                                                                                                                                          Both were also covered in handouts at the meeting. Vivian’s passionate review of her books – Pippa’s Passover Plate, Four Otters Toboggan and Sweet Dreams Sarah – showing the different editors she encountered, their methods of communication, and what rolls she and the illustrators played in producing the final products was not only an eye opener but also appreciated for her honest views.Here in a video is some of the meeting for you to enjoy. ..


    Well over our time slot at the Glen Eden library Vivian so enjoyed answering questions and chatting with the wonderful people who attended. She loves meeting and chatting with people. “It’s all about connecting, I can’t help it.” She can be heard saying.  Funnily though after most had left a few of us found ourselves locked in the Library with Vivian. Can you believe it! Safe to say we eventually got out.


    Here are a couple of comments from those who attended the meeting…

    Thanks for a great meeting on Saturday – lovely to meet Vivian, and to hear such a heart-felt and honest account of her most recent ups and downs!


    Thanks so much for arranging the event this afternoon.

    I really enjoyed listening to Vivian’s experiences with publishing in the US. She was encouraging, and seeing the variety of her published work was really interesting. It gives me the encouragement to keep on experimenting with different genres. Please pass on my thanks to her again for taking time out of her holiday to spend the afternoon with us.

About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
This entry was posted in SCBWI, Vivian's Adventures down under and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Diane…you are definitely the best! Thank you so much for this next installment in my round the world journey to see places I’ve only read about and meet people I’ve only talked with online. I am grateful for the opportunities you’ve arranged for me…and all the experiences I am enjoying because of your planning efforts.

    • Thank you dear friend. It has been just as enjoyable for me too. I too am learning so much from you and the places we have been to. You’re very welcome.

  2. Vivian is such a good teacher. Enjoyed her comments. Thanks for outlining the speech, Diane. Were you always behind the scenes making the videos? Great series and documentation!

    • Hi Pat. Yes Vivian is definitely a great teacher and is a passionate presenter. You’re welcome Pat. Yes I am the one doing all the camera work. Look out for more excitement and pictures.

  3. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday: YOGI: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra | VIVIAN KIRKFIELD – Writer for Children

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