April 2017 Newsletter

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April 2017 Newsletter

The Story Mint Newsletter | April 2017

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It is a really exciting time for The Story Mint.
Writers belonging to The Story Mint have known for a very long time that stylecheck™ is the writer's secret weapon.

The stylecheck™ is a unique piece of technology, created by founder Suraya Dewing, which sits on The Story Mint’s platform. It gives you insights into your writing style and readability. Nevertheless, using stylecheck™ does not in any way compromise your creativity. In fact, it enhances it because it encourages you to experiment. This promotes clarity and genre fit. With no intermediary this remarkable technology encourages self-directed discovery.

The power of stylecheck™ was recently revealed when Suraya used it to analyse an organisation's key communications. For reasons of confidentiality we cannot use any references from that report. However, see what happened when we analysed a media release on a local airport's web-site. A business owner also shares his personal experience and shows how using stylecheck™  improved the numbers reading his blogs.

We are preparing to go into a major fundraising round to focus on getting The Story Mint onto a solid footing. This will begin the very important process of setting up proper management structures and services for members, schools. We’ll also develop stylecheck™  so that it is more sophisticated and targeted to the user. So follow these developments and, where you can, please get behind us to ensure The Story Mint's future.

On another subject. Rangitawa Publishing are setting up a Book Club which will offer readers special discounts. By supporting initiatives like this writers also benefit as we grow our readership.

We thank all our supporters for sharing this journey.

PS: Join The Story Mint Linked In group and keep the writing conversation going.

Happy and successful writing everyone!
A special welcome to all our new writers. We love having you in our community!
See you next month!
Thank you for following The Story Mint

Latest News

stylecheck™ gives business writing a helping hand
stylecheck™ proved its amazing ability to separate okay writing from excellent writing recently when Suraya reported her findings to a corporate which contracted her to analyse their internal and external communications. She is unable to reveal the nature of those findings without also disclosing the company she did the work for so she has randomly selected a website and put a piece of writing from it through stylecheck™. 

This is the original.
Drones are making their way onto various ‘Christmas Gift Guide’ lists this year, so a local Airport wants to remind operators of their responsibilities as a pilot.

New Civil Aviation Authority rules, which came into effect on 1 August 2015, outline regulations for unmanned aircrafts, such as drones, and have been developed to improve aviation safety for operators, air space users, people and property.

With the increasing popularity of drones, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) occurrences and complaints have increased from 11 in 2012 to over 172 so far this year. 63 per cent of these have been aviation-related concern, while others have included airspace incidents and accidents/crashes.
 

stylecheck™ had this to say.

Your sample has fallen to the left of the grid.
This writing style is often found in company reports and business documents. Usually heavy in facts and figures. Very little action. To move it onto the grid reduce some nouns and adjectives, and add verbs and adverbs. This will add action and give the writing more warmth.
Your sample has fallen to the bottom of the grid.
This indicates passive language which gives the writing a feeling of lacking energy. It could also indicate a high use of elisions like shouldn't and wouldn't.To move onto the grid add more description and detail, adjectives and adverbs in particular.


                                                                      
Rewrite
Taking into account what stylecheck™ had reported and remembering that this is a communication to the public we rewrote this media release in the following way.

Christmas is almost here and many budding pilots will be dreaming that a Drone will appear under the Christmas tree with their name on it. However, the local Airport wants to remind every would-be pilot of his or her responsibilities as flight operators

New Civil Aviation authority rules clipped the rotor blades of Drones from 1 August 2015, to ensure that all users of air space are safe as well as property and people nearby.

While Drones are popular for recreational and business purposes they have also been associated with a concerning rise in accidents. These went from 11 in 2012 to over 172 this year. Over 60 per cent of these were related to Drones.


What people are saying

stylecheck™ grows my business
by Bruce Howat, CEO, My Future Rocks

I have set up a new Charitable Trust in Rotorua New Zealand. To grow the business, it is critical the market is aware we exist so I publish two to three blogs a week on Facebook and LinkedIn.
 
When I write the blog I focus on engaging people while also passing on facts about what we do. I am looking to engage them at an emotional level and on arousing their curiosity.  I also want to persuade people to share what I write in order to reach a wider audience.

I have been in management for decades and realise that monitoring results is vital for growth. So I follow the numbers of people who read each blog and analyse what the trends say. 

Without fail I put every blog through stylecheck™ to make sure it was in an appropriate place on the grid.  I say appropriate place, because defining the actual audience before writing is really important. That then determined where on stylecheck™ I wanted my blog to land.
 
One day I was in a rush and I realised I had not written a blog for a few days. I literally threw one together and posted it. A couple of hours later I realised I had not put it through stylecheck™ but I was too busy to to fix it so I left it.  

When I wrote my next blog I went through my normal process and put it through stylecheck™. Later, I analysed the results by comparing the numbers each blog reached and the actual readership.

The piece of writing I failed to put through stylecheck™ was only read by 40. The heading was sharp and compelling. The topic should have engaged readers but it failed to do that. The only thing I can put this down to is that its style failed to keep them reading. 

The next blog, which I put through stylecheck™ was read by 150, three times the number. 
This result also applied to LinkedIn.
I will never make the mistake of not putting a blog through stylecheck™ again.

Tell l us what you think about our community of writers and concept, we'd love to hear from you.
 

Tell us what you think

Moving forward with...

Crowdfunding
The Story Mint will be launching with a crowdfunding campaign that kicks of in  two month's time.
We are starting to prepare a campaign to raise equity to get The Story Mint onto a firm footing. The company we are working with has years of experience in the equity financial markets.

Equity crowdfunding is a growing global phenomenon that enables people to take their ideas from being unproven to great success stories. It reduces the risk people take when they support a start-up or a development by bringing together a large crowd who each contribute a small amount of funding in return for equity.
This model ensures a new concept has the chance to show its merits and to prove it can and will succeed.
Over the last six years The Story Mint, powered by its unique technology stylecheck™ has proven it can grow people's confidence as writers. It has also proven that it encourages self-directed learning in schools and enables corporate writers to sharpen their communications with their internal and external audiences. It has also been tested in the ESOL market. With a stylecheck™ developed specifically for these learners they also can enjoy the benefits our first users have enjoyed.
It has built up a solid and loyal community of wonderful writers and now has a significant social media following. The Story Mint's future is exciting.
For this reason we have decided to embark on a crowdfunding campaign using a proven group of financial strategists and marketers.
The funding we raise will take The Story Mint to a completely new level of professionalism, enabling us to develop a customised stylecheck™ for specific groups of users, smarten up our branding, improve the range of our member services and bring on board skilled managers to run the service.
This will probably be the only opportunity people will have to join us on the ground floor and be involved in our growth, even influence it.

Tell us your stories
We encourage you to let us know about your successes. Your success gives us all heart and motivates us towards achieving our writing goals. If you can do it we know we can too.

 


What's hot with the Serials?
We are a community of writers who belong to The Story Mint to encourage and help each other. If, for some reason, you are struggling with your chapter ask either Donna, Suraya or Anna for a tip or two to get the story moving along. We love to work with you.
Remember, if you have chapters to write then someone is waiting for you to finish yours so they can start writing.

We welcome our new writers. Your storytelling skills are inspiring!. 
Donna McTavish, Serials Manager.

Starters
We are looking for more starters so have a go and have fun exploring an idea that might have been bubbling in the back of your mind.

Serials to Book
Encounter by Joe Labrum. This is Joe's first starter and it's brilliant. It'll give the sci-fi fans plenty to work with so get your chapter booked.
Nestor, Lester and Esther by Ken Burns. This is a fun serial with allusion's to Ken's very successful The Choir.  Four chapters left.
Crack in the Ceiling by Iliena Bosu. I wonder what the milk man will deliver. Seven chapters to book
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. Lasiandra is up to her tricks, fluttering her extended eyelashes at easily flustered Gary.. Five chapters to book.
Welcome to Halloween by Rosemary Wakelin. We'd love to see this serial filled with vampires and goblins and horrible children and parents. It could be soooo spooky! Three chapters left.
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves. Romance and war: perfect settings for love and conflict.  Four chapters left.

If you write a serial chapter you join an elite group of writers who are working together to encourage each other. You are also giving future readers of your writing an opportunity to read your work and to follow you.

Serials underway
Lawnmarket by Anna Zhigareva is underway.
Time Travel is underway. Read the first amazing chapters that take us down pop history's memory lane. This is creative and a lot of fun.
d.a.d.s. The twins are in Mr Baldwin's office. They go to Shrewsbury High. What a great name and what fate awaits them?
Storm The theme of falling or fallen apart is really well developed. Does Dr Noland hold the answer to which is happening to  Angelica.
Josephine This is turning into a gorgeous serial with Josephine taking on a new identity. Why does Gerard view her with such contempt? There's history there.
Mirror Mirror Alice has fallen through the mirror in a tangle of brambles and long skirt.
Rest in Peace Next chapter to come.
It was a Game Next chapter to come
Sailing What a terrible situation. Kurt's parents are blissfully unaware of the danger he is in and they are running to higher ground from the Tsunami.
Captive  Next chapter to come.
The Way Home Donna's chapter fills the forest with sounds, danger, accusation and risk.
Ghost Ship  Next chapter to come.
Moonlight  Final chapter to come.
Gacgon the Sorceror This is now finished with a wonderful sense of timelessness to the chapter Sameer wrote.

Author only serials
Fairy Blessings by Sumanda Maritz is a journey into a world where blessings by Fairies can change a village's fortunes. This story has magical energy.
NXT Flight by Jasmine.  Lasiandra's Nemesis arrive at the same resort. with them come memories, worrying memories. This continues to entertain and evoke laughter.

Who to send your starters and chapters to.
If you have a starter send it to suraya@thestorymint.com
If you've written a chapter send it to
donnamct@gmail.com
Chapters for 
The Assault go to Anna Zhigareva  E.  annazhigareva@yahoo.co.uk
Chapters for Cent-ed go to Tulika Saha.  E. tulikasaha@gmail.com

If we are to consider a serial for the next Anthology each writer needs to .
1. Make sure the chapters follow logically.
2. Make sure the chapter lands on the stylecheck
.
3. Make sure the chapter leaves the story open for the next writer to follow a thread. The last chapter is the only exception.

If you have a starter you would like us to consider, send it to suraya@thestorymint.com.

Up to 500 words and not less than 450 words. Any genre except erotica.


Fabulous reading from the Writers' Pad

You can store your writing on the Writers' Pad and it does not become public until you tick the publish. You may decide to never reveal your writing and that is fine.

Clocks, by Suraya Dewing is an experimental story about time and the way it marks events in our lives reminding us that time can do many things to us.

Schizophrenia a Daughter's View©  by Sumanda Maritz has drawn many comments.
Most of these admire Sumanda's courage in talking about the effect of Schizophernia but the most moving is the story another member tells of his family's struggle to manage a family member's mental illness. These stories touch people's lives in the most moving way.

 Use the Writers' Pad to test reaction to your story. We don't edit these stories but please remember our policy of no erotica.

Chapter Writer winner


This month Sameer Nagarajan won the best serial chapter competition for his final chapter for Gacgon, the magician. Congratulations Sameer. The judges said, this was a very complex task and that he did a great job. That is a brilliant achievement as he had to draw together some very complex elements in a genre not many of us even dare to try writing.

No surprise he won when you read this:
He bit and the thick white juice flowed down his throat. He gripped the flute in his hand and murmured the spell through clenched teeth.  The yard erupted into flames and his flimsy bonds fell away. Gretchin flew away with Alwena and Mrs Ratleigh. The Ispolin, severely burnt, yelped ...

CONGRATULATIONS!!
 

A chat about books


The Rangitawa Book Club
Support New Zealand authors by joining our Book Club
Subscription NZ$20 per year. This is open to New Zealand and international readers. All our books are by excellent New Zealand authors.
Save up to $18 on the retail price on our trade paperbacks.
 
Buy any of a selection of our books for $20 each *(gst and post inc)*Normal retail price $25-$38.

  1.  

Buy a pdf download of any of our books for $12
This will be emailed to you to download to read on your tablet/PC.
 
For details on how to join please email rangitawa@xtra.co.nz
 
Many of our books are listed on the Home Page at www.rangitawapublishing.com  or a full list can be sent on application.
 

Blogs across the Spectrum


By Kathryn Burnett, writer, teacher, coach

There is a general feeling of disbelief that Donald Trump became USA's president and we can analyse how that happened forever but Kathryn Burnett has decided to take a positive view of his unexpected appearance on the world stage.
Here is a recent blog by her:

Like many people around the world, I’ve been watching the vaudeville show that constitutes the Trump presidency with incredulity and growing disquiet. The guy hasn’t been in the role 3 months and he’s already bombed one country and started goading another. Cool.

Add to this his knee jerk responses to just about everything and I think the world can be forgiven for being slightly nervous.

But where's this worrying going to get us? In truth about as far as me posting my outrage on Facebook i.e. nowhere.

All I can really do is attempt to get something positive from the situation. So here it is - here are five things writers can learn from watching this hot mess unfold...

1) Complex motivations make for great characters.

No matter whether you categorise him as villain or anti-hero, Trump provides a living, breathing masterclass in character motivation. Why does he do what he does? It’s all there in overt technicolour – the ego, the impulsive behaviour, the drive to avenge perceived wrongs, the entitlement, the thirst for power and the win at any cost attitude. All we have to do is sit back and do what we do best - observe.

2) It’s smart to know your audience and play to your strengths. Read on

Back story in a sentence
by Suraya Dewing, writer and Founder of The Story Mint

We have just finished watching the excellent British TV series Broadchurch.  It dealt with rape. However, it was not preachy but showed how families, girls especially, were affected by this traumatic event.
It turned out there were a series of unreported rapes by the same attacker. He got away with it because the women were too ashamed to report it. This was until the woman around whom the story was centred reported it. She went through the horror that most rape victims experience….her past sexual history being dragged up, her behaviour which made many draw the conclusion she asked for it, and all the invasive examinations she had to endure.

There were two things that impressed me about this production. One was the fact that they had the courage to deal with a highly sensitive subject without over-playing. The other was the dialogue.

This series was all about dialogue and its many inflections that gave us more than the immediate meaning. It also gave us inflections and detail beyond the words.

One instance of this remains with me as an example of sublime dialogue.

The investigators visited the home of a man who had come under the radar and interviewed his wife.

This is how she described their relationship.

“He was going to be a doctor and won a scholarship to go to medical school. But then I got pregnant…”

The entire relationship was captured by that line: Read on

We recommend the blogs on our website.
 

Writing Ideas!

"Never underestimate the intelligence of your readers. Don't make matters gratuitousoly difficult, but do allow your audience the pleasure of discovering how many ways a thing can be said, how many sides it can be seen from."
Johnny Payne, Voice & Style, Writer's Digest Books, USA (1995).

 

If you have any websites you’d like to recommend send us the link.
 
 
 

Writing Meetup this month

International Writers Groups
Melbourne http://www.meetup.com/The-Melbourne-Writers-Meetup-Group/
New Zealand http://authors.org.nz/writers-resources/writing-groups/
USA http://writersrelief.com/writers-associations-organizations/
New Delhi http://www.meetup.com/Delhi-Aspiring-Writers/
London http://www.meetup.com/londonwriterscafe/
 

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