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August Newsletter

The Story Mint Newsletter | August 2016

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Newsletter: August 2016

Hi everyone

Thank you for your contribution to The Story Mint.

Writing Tips
This month we asked five of our writers from around the world to give us their five favourite writing tips. Look for them towards the end of the newsletter. Each tip is unique but above all, really worthwhile. Keep them for future reference. You'll find them useful! We thank our writers for taking the time to do this.

There are some outstanding serials unfolding right now. The quality of chapter writing is excellent and although our first anthology is going to be good, look out for our next one. It is going to be brilliant.
One of our serials, Born Bad,  is attracting a huge number of likes, over 34% of 18,254 are saying they like the chapters as they are posted on Facebook. Every chapter is consistently of a high standard and that is why the followers are also the highest we have ever seen. The Story Mint writers cleverly weave imagery and environmental factors to capture characters' personalities.
Congratulations to all the chapter writers. The serials are riveting!

New Writers. Don't be intimidated!
You must not be put off by the standard of the serial chapters. Every chapter writer started where you are. Some began over four years ago. So look at what they are writing now and four years time that could me be writing like that. We will support and encourage you.

The Advisory Board has set us a target of getting eight schools in the trial. In line with that we recently added a Decile One school with thirty three per cent of its students living in cars. Thankfully the school has an amazing Principal who is using every available resource to give these young people a future. The Board of Trustees has given each a tablet which is replaced if it gets lost, no questions asked. The fact they have tablets means they can use the stylecheck™ and join in serial writing. I am confident the stylecheck™ and story telling through serial writing will give these young people a chance to shape their futures.

Summing up what The Story Mint does
We have had several people summarize what we do. We rather liked these two:
1. The Story Mint is an 'Incubator for writers', and a
2. Passport for work and life.

We don't know what our future branding will be but we do like these two ideas.

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

... and what we've all been up to on your behalf!

Writers Workshop for Premier members
We are beginning to plan our first ever writers workshop in Rotorua, New Zealand for our premier members. The sessions will focus on aspects of writing that approach writing's fundamental principles from new angles. We intend to use this approach to take your writing to a new level. However, we are keen to get your ideas on topics you would like us to cover.
So let us know what you would like in the content and we'll arrange for someone to cover it. Our thoughts are to hold the workshop over Easter but if you have another time you think would be better, let us know. We are also very keen to see overseas members at the workshop.
Bruce will arrange trips for partners to some of Rotorua's tourist sights. He is especially keen on a fishing trip (or two). Everyone will also get to enjoy many of the cultural nights on offer.
The first workshop will be limited to 15 writers and we are keen to get Expressions of Interest at this stage. These will not be binding.

When you write a chapter or put some work on the Writers' Pad grow your readership by promoting it on your Facebook page!


What people are saying

From Sameer Nagarajan (Sri Lanka)
The Story Mint is a site I discovered some months back when I started exposing my writing to public view. I was initially taken up by the idea of a serious forum where constructive criticism and support are freely available but was really impressed by the stylecheck™ grid - that's a tool I've never seen before and it helped me understand the nuances of what sharpens a narrative and what makes a story stand out. I think the idea of the serials is also great because it brings a group of writers with diverse styles together, to compete yet collaborate on building and completing a story, with some absolutely amazing revelations along the way in terms of how different styles can come together to create a very entertaining experience. Importantly, the rigorously enforced limit on the length of each chapter also means that the stories are good to read even when you have only a few minutes to spare (unlike a full-length novel that requires an investment of time). I've already started receiving pertinent feedback on how to improve the narrative and grammatical style of my work. Really enjoying it!

Tell 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...

We are continuing to meet principals who are keen to be part of our trial. The goal is to have eight from Decile one to ten. These discussions continue and we have yet to meet a principal who does not understand what we are offering and become animated. That is exciting encouragement.

Discussions are continuing with this group. There continues to be considerable interest. in using The Story Mint  for recording life stories, aligning corporate writing style for reports and simply enjoying the experience of writing through our serials and Writers' Pad.

We recently had a meeting with the Communications Department of a significant corporate. They saw an opportunity to encourage staff to match the corporate 'voice' in their reports and align the 'feel' of a document with their audience's expectations using the stylecheck™ . Discussions are continuing.

Melbourne Writers Festival
Although we are not associated with the Melbourne Writers Festival it will be great to meet some of The Story Mint writers while we are there. This is a marvellous opportunity to listen to the journeys of highly successful writers like Anna Funder and Lionel Shriver. It is also an ideal time to meet like-minded people and to learn new writing techniques.

Melbourne Writers Social Group
Melbourne Writers Social Group meet every week. Suraya and Bruce will be at their meeting on Tuesday 30th August from 6pm. Mat assures us they would love a visit from anyone associated with The Story Mint so why not make that a diary date? There will also be a prize draw or two.
Check out their Meetup details at at the Royal Melbourne Hotel, 629 Bourke Street, Melbourne in the front room of the Hotel. And everyone is welcome.

Rangitawa Publishing Short Story Competition
You have just a few days to get your entry in to Rangitawa Publishing so get your keyboard tapping and be in to win publication and/or a cash prize.
Last year a story by Linda Alley was in their Anthology. This time it could be your story.
Closing date: 31st August

We encourage members to let us know about their successes. Your success gives us all heart and motivates them towards achieving their writing goals. If you can do it they know they can too.



What's hot with the Serials?
It is so exciting to hear people talking about the serials and how much they enjoy them. It is an even greater thrill when they name the serial they are following.

Thanks to all the writers submitting starters. These are a range of genres and it is great to give writers a chance to experiment. Sometimes they are surprised.

Serials to Book
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves picks up where Retribution 1 left off. This is a wonderful opportunity to take the characters and the story to another level. Six chapters left to book.
The Beauty Contest by Rosemary Wakelin has four chapters left. Enter the race and have a laugh along the way.
Rest in Peace by Hemali Ajmera. Explore the world of the occult with this story.  Three chapters left.
Captive by Jasmine Groves is bone chilling and frightening. Who dares to take the step and book the last two chapters?
Sailing by Suraya Dewing. Do these sailors deserve a reprimand for stealing their father's boat and not telling anyone. There's more than one story brewing in this story. Three chapters left.
The Way Home by Ray Stone. This gives writers the chance to explore their children's writing skills. Almost ready to go and well worth exploring how it feels to write this genre. Two 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
The Assault Ray Stone has led the way into the world of eco-terrorism. Sameer Nagarajan has continued the theme and this promises to be a gripping thriller. 
Moonlight  Chetna broke with tradition in her youth and now her son is poised to challenge his mother. How will this play out on this cultural landscape. This will be very interesting and a very rewarding read.
The 640 Express Ray said of chapter one....'I have a wonderful feeling that there is a touch of Alfred Hitchcock here.' The nerves are slowly being wound up...
Born Bad This serial is remarkable. Each writer is following the style of the previous writer and all the time the tension is turning. Charmaine has done some nasty things that simply Cecilia's imagination and is she over reacting?
Cent-ed Did Mahak see Gaurav in the crowd? Where has the rose come from? Cynthiaclare is a new writer and she has done a great job of adding mystery to the story.
Gacgon the Sorceror  Although she claims this is a new genre for her, Linda nailed her chapter and gave it the most extraordinary energy. This fantasy is full of marvelous imagery and brilliant colour.
The Diary of Pearl Farrall "if my husband must fight his war I will fight mine" writes Pearl Farrell. This story is teaching us something about New Zealand history while entertaining us. That is great storytelling. I hope we will get other starters that explore stories from other countries.
Ghost Ship We are moving into finding out what the Ghost Ship is all about....greed?
Yours Truly Emily knows exactly how to get around a young man and she does it superbly. Now she might win the physics competition. Clever girl?

Finished Serials
Changing Times This serial is now finished and in a very satisfying way. Great work and congratulations to all the writers.

Who to send your starters and chapters to.
If you have a starter send it to
If you've written a chapter send it to except when you write a chapter for  The Assault. Those chapters go to Anna Zhigareva  E.
Chapters for Cent-ed go to Tulika Saha.  E.

A Request: Please make sure you read all the chapters preceding your chapter so that your chapter follows on logically and remember to put your chapter through the stylecheck
before submitting it.

If you have a starter you would like us to consider, send it to

They can be up to 500 words long and in any genre except erotica.


Fabulous reading from the Writer's Pad

This month there is exceptional writing on the Writers' Pad and some really valuable feedback for the writers:

No small favour by Dana Cariola is a horror story and  several women are victims of a sadistic killer. Agent Emmit, who is battling a large Blue Fin Tuna, is interrupted by a helicopter flying overhead. It has arrived to tell him to get back to Washington asap. His holiday is at an end!
The Orphanage is a further chapter in Anna Zhigareva's novel Little Things. Linda has met James who has abandoned the dream job of his life time as a business analyst. They visit an orphanage and this is how Anna describes what they see, " Linda had never seen the orphanage before but it fell into all the right corners of her imagination ..."

Comments and feedback are essential for a writer's progress. This is how writer's help each other to grow their skill. So keep it coming!

If you want to give the writer more detailed feedback than the comment box allows send it to me, and I'll pass it on.



Chapter Writer winner
Sameer Nagarajan (Sri Lanka)
Our winner for last month's best chapter was Sameer Nagarajan for chapter 2 of Payback
Sameer wrote an evocative chapter with characters who were really well drawn. The chapter had pace and the attempt to bribe Cody was very subtle which is the way we would expect it to play out. The information conveyed by a phrase such as, 'Australian by passport,' gives the reader a smooth, unobtrusive portrait of the character. Sameer also brought the character to life with phrases like, ‘No, no, Lucky-jee” moaned Sekar, “nothing like that. We came to pay respects..."  This is an excellent example of dialogue revealing character.



Review by Suraya Dewing.

Beyond the Mountain
by Kalli Deschamps
This novella gives the reader insight into the world of the rancher in Montana. Greg, Laura and their family live in what sounds like a gorgeous log cabin beneath Lolo Peak which provides family and visitors with spectacular views. But all this tranquility is disturbed by a neighbour who wants to run the Lanvin's off their land so that she might take it over. They almost give in after a fire but then decide they love the place too much to leave and rebuild their new house using the log cabin style as their guide. Worried about the attacks on the Lanvin's, the police assign two officers who immediately get to work helping herd stock, taking care of horses and getting involved in other aspects of ranch life. 
It seems the neighbour will stop at nothing to disrupt the Lanvin's life. She sets fire to their house, sets off explosives, poisons the animals and does numerous other things. This determined interloper decides she has found a legal loophole in the original sale document and sees this as a way to shift the Lanvin's of their land. She engages a lawyer to enforce this.
Threaded through the main story is a series of anecdotes which Laura tells at the end of an evening around the fire. These tell of incidents in farm life.
Things come to a bit of a head with their neighbour when Ms Turner has a car accident and is paralysed from the hips down.  But her drive to own the Lanvin's house continues.
The writing style gives the novella an almost autobiographical feel and there are times when the story is like reading a diary.
If you are interested in gaining an insight into ranch life this novella will give you that.
It is an enjoyable read.
Four stars.
Publisher: Xlibris, USA.
Available on Amazon, from Kalli's website and Barnes and Noble.


Blog across the Spectrum

We recommend the blogs on our website.
Best Author Blogs

Writers Write logo


It is no secret that authors write some of the very best blogs. Our editors have compiled a list of author blogs that they believe are truly outstanding. The list ties in with the article, "The Author's Dilemma: To Blog or Not to Blog." Although the styles and subject matter of the author blogs vary widely, they all share two important qualities: they are all frequently updated and interesting to read. We have also included some group blogs and blogging resources.


Our writing tips

We thought that rather than pick writing tips from a website we would go to our writers and ask them for their personal favourites.
1.  Plan and edit with your logical self; write freely with your creative self.
2.  Know and use the three act plot.
3.  Write as a routine, even if it's (just) journaling.
4.  Create legacy in a body of work. If a best seller arises, then that's a bonus.
5.  Read about writing as much as you write.
 Angela Shaw (NZ)

1.  Ask yourself the question - Why do I want to write this?
2.  Use language that is natural to the character.
3.  Put yourself in the shoes of the reader.
4.  Observe and listen to life around you. It will lend authenticity to your writing.
5.  Trash the version you rejected.
Tulika Saha (India)

1. Watch real people, in particular their expressions and gestures.
2. Listen to real people conversing so your written conversations are more authentic.
3. Read everyday, it really makes a difference.
4. Give your characters depth so readers can relate to them.
5. Take any criticism constructively - it's how you improve.
Rosemary Wakelin (Australia)

1. If you’re stuck, a change of environment will help. Move to a different room, or go to the library or a local cafe. 
2. Don’t try to make your first draft perfect. Just write.
3. Give yourself some time after you’ve finished your draft before you go back and start the editing process.
4. Edit.
5. Edit some more.
Donna McTavish (NZ)

1. Have clarity before you start writing - When you have to write, first think about the topic/subject before putting the pen to the paper: How much do you know about it, what do you want to write, and if you want to write about it at all.
2. Write from your heart - be sincere and honest with your writing without borrowing/copying words or ideas from other authors whose books/work you may have read.
3. When you write your first draft, let the creative juices flow unbridled. You can change your ideas, correct the grammar and polish the language during the long editing sessions.
4. At certain times, especially when writing non-fiction or fiction related to history, it is important to do thorough research to lend authenticity to the writing.
5. Always describe your characters in such a way that the readers can instantly identify with them and can vividly imagine them in their heads. Example: Harry Potter - Even before the first movie was released, we all had a distinct image in our minds as to how Harry would look and behave.
Hemali Ajmera (India)

1. Research your subject (history, location, culture, etc.) before putting pen to paper and then keep researching as you write each chapter.
2. After every 500 words, read the work aloud. Mistakes will be easy to spot.
3. List the appearance, habits, defects, mindset, and age/family history of each character. The more you list, the more believable your characters.
4. Analyse each sentence and look for words that can be cut without making any difference to the message that sentence is conveying.
5.Get used to criticism. Disregard that which is unwarranted and act on that which is. Criticism is the only real tool a writer has.
Ray Stone (Cyprus)

1.  Experiment with different genres
2.  Read widely and study what works well & why in other books
3.  Find encouraging but honest beta-readers
4.  Write everyday
5.  Remember that self-doubt is normal (I'm still working on this one!)
Linda Alley (Australia)



Writing Meetup this month

Branch Information


 For information about a writers group nearest you go to



Check this website out!

If you are looking for opportunities to get paid to write take a look at this website.

It is a list of sites across all types of writing we cover that offer paid writing opportunities.  Check the links for each for details on payment information.

Sumanda Maritz
082 925 2053

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








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