January 2017

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January 2017

The Story Mint Newsletter | January 2017

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WHEN CAN WE CALL OURSELVES SUCCESSFUL?
The Story Mint is developing strong relationships with a number of key people who will influence its future. They are successful in their fields and are sharing their knowledge and skills to help us get established. Among those people are you, The Story Mint writers.

We have earned the right to be successful and to call ourselves successful. The Anthology is evidence.
Once, despite writing for a living, I could never comfortably call myself a WRITER. A niggling inner voice kept insisting I was not good enough. For years, I endured that terrible implacable voice. My dream had always been to earn the right to call myself a writer without doubts chewing at its edges. It was dreadful to feel so inadequate and undeserving. I spent many years going to classes and learning techniques but I had no sense of what the magic ingredient was that made people say, 'that was a fantastic read. I just could not put it down.' I discovered that just knowing how to put words on a page did not necessarily mean that I wrote well. It was a painful lesson.

So you can imagine the amazing sense of achievement when I realised I was happy to refer to myself as a WRITER.

Along the way I undertook exhaustive research analysing writing excellence. The results formed the basis of the algorithm driving stylecheck™. The other insight came from coaching others. There are many things we do when we are mastering writing that are almost universal. Recognising those and explaining how to resolve weaknesses deepened my understanding of my own writing.

I discovered the quality that gave my writing heart and soul was its VOICE. I had to find mine and ensure it was authentic.

All that struggle is now entrenched in the ethos of The Story Mint...forever striving to be better and sharing what we have learnt with warmth and compassion so that someone else might also enjoy the thrill of calling him or herself a WRITER is our driver. We have many writers who have also reached that status and who, like me, acknowledge this is a journey that never ends.
Let the journey continue.
Suraya

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

Review

The following review went to all our writers. They are encouraged to add their author biographical details and submit it to their local media outlets.

A unique book of short stories by the writers at The Story Mint.
Reviewed by Bruce Erasmus, writer, author of Sniper Missions – the Business of War and the War of Business and Former Council Member at New Zealand Society of Authors.

One of the most difficult genres to master is that of the short-story.  One of the challenges is to find your voice.  A group of writers has addressed this challenge by collaborating to create a collection called ‘Everyone has a Story’.   The premise is deceptively simple as it may be described as a relay race. One writer sets the scene and the baton is passed in turn to each of the other writers until the final writer brings the story to its close.  Each of these stories has a different team and so the analogy to a relay race is even more apt as each combination of writers seeks to outdo the others.  No two stories or settings are the same.  Every voice and every combination of voices is different.   The stories range across a wide spectrum of genres, from historical to science fiction.  The strength in this anthology of short stories is that there is literally something for everyone, because, for example, just as you are becoming comfortable with an historical tale, you get catapulted into the occult.  This is a very strong offering that showcases a wide range of skills. I look forward to future anthologies.

Background
The Story Mint is a community of writers who work together to encourage and give each other constructive feedback. Its goal is to create excellent writers using a combination of automated and personalised tools. The unique stylecheck™ guides writers to find the perfect pitched voice for the audience. Writers can experiment writing different genres with the serials. Writers also learn other key writing skills such as maintaining tense, writing believable dialogue and much more.
 
To buy
Rangitawa Publishing http://www.rangitawapublishing.com/
The Story Mint http://www.thestorymint.com/book-store
Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Everyone-has-Story-Flo-Ginsburg/dp/0994138253
Price: US $15
 
Writing Short Stories
When you write a serial chapter you are inside a short story. So the diagram below is very pertinent. This is useful to follow when writing chapters for serials. What number chapter you are writing will determine how you write it. In broad terms the starter sets the scene. The next four build on the scene. This is the time to add extra characters or situations so long as they follow on naturally from the scene setter or previous chapters. Chapters 6 and 7 should tighten the tension but not add new characters or new situations. Chapter 8 is the climax so this is a key chapter where everything everyone has written comes together and makes sense Chapter 9 and 10 wrap things up and explain the fall out from the previous chapters.
 

https://wikis.engrade.com/plottingashortstory.

Starting up a business
Five years ago The Story Mint did not exist. Now we have members all around the world and recently published our first Anthology. We also have schools using the serials and stylecheck™ and other opportunities firming up.
However, there have been moments that every start-up will be familiar with so we thought it timely to share a diagram of a start up's journey. See if you can pick where The Story Mint now sits.
 

 

 

Facebook and Linked In
Our stats for every posting on Facebook are really encouraging and we are steadily growing our followers. You can help us achieve our goal of 25,000 followers by clicking on the share link.  The greater our following the better it is for everyone who belongs to The Story Mint.
Last week Suraya's blog, How writing serials improves short story writing reached an amazing 59,483 people.
This is how that breaks down: 10,000 of our 20k followers read it and 50k were reached by boosting. There were 33 comments and 6 shares.
This breaks down to an unprecedented  response rate of 11.5 per cent.
The organic reach is the highest we have ever achieved and the comments and shares are also the highest.
We encourage you to share all our postings as this spreads the word and grows our followers for all our writers. We boost as many posts as possible.
 

 

 

What learners are saying

Feedback from schools who used The Story Mint last year.

(Unedited)

  1. I love the feeling when one of your pieces of writing lands on the grid.
  2. I like adding on to the serials because you can change the whole way that somebody looks at the story.
  3. I really liked how we could write our own path and learning new things was very easy like how to use The Story Mint, how to write in different styles and, also, even if our writing did not land on the grid, we always got good feedback.
  4. I need to work on my writing and this tells me how.
  5. It's helpful because it tells us what we know and what we need to learn'.
  6. It made our sentences more interesting and made us try to be more descriptive.
  7. It told us to think about what we want to say, edit and use feedback to improve 

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...

A local Primary School
The stylecheck™ is a star at one of our local schools. After The Story Mint had visited one school two students who normally avoided extra school work consistently arrived early the next day and asked their teacher to let them 'do some writing'. They were so keen we had to set emergency logins for them. This continued to the end of term. When students from other classes learnt about the stylecheck™ they also wanted to 'have a go'.
 
Here is the way it happened. We told them to write a piece about what they liked about their school. So all the students worked in pairs. The two boys described the barbecues the school put on and how much fun they were. As they worked they suggested sentences and words to each other.
Then their moment arrived and they hit the submit button. Their writing landed near the middle of the grid. There was much whooping and high fiving as they celebrated.
This got the other students working hard, determined to do better. Some did and others needed help but they all loved playing with words in a way they never have before. Their teacher read out the first two boy's story and we asked the class why their writing had been so successful. Everyone knew. They had described their barbecues, the food and the entertainment using examples.
Their teacher later told us, it was a struggle to get students to add detail to their stories and she was always having to tell them to write more than one draft. The stylecheck™ encourages both. So while the boys were smiling for the rest of the day so was their teacher!

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?
Some of these serials will become part of a future Anthology. Give yourself a chance to be published and book to write a serial chapter.

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

Starters
Thanks to all the writers who have submitted starters. These are a range of genres and it is great to give writers a chance to experiment.

Serials to Book
d.a.d.s.by Ken Burns has the potential to be as hilarious and Ken's last serial, The Choir.
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. Lassiandra has to get her wings backbut she is having trouble concentrating on the drill.
Storm by Suraya Dewing is a whimsical story about a young girl at a turning point in her life. Six chapters left.
Lawnmarket by Anna Zhigareva. Of this historical serial starter, Ray Stone has said the imagery is 'spot on'. Four chapters
Welcome to Halloween by Rosemary Wakelin. Start the year with some freaky family stuff. Four chapters left.
Mirror Mirror by Sumanda Maritz. I am dying to see this story get underway. Please someone book the last chapter! One chapter left.
Josephine by Jasmine Groves. Rosemary asks who is the lady in the carriage. We'll find out when the serial gets underway. Two chapters to book.
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves. Hemali says it will be wonderful to see how Dilara will handle her future turbulent life. Kurt Vonnegut says to give your characters hell and this character's life is set up for writers to dp just that.  Four chapters  to book.

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
Rest in Peace is underway. Is parental expectation  the driver between Diandra and Sarah?
The Beauty Contest is underway. Look out for the first hilarious chapter.
It was a Game Something is going on. Who is this strange woman who meets Samantha's father?
Sailing Our wayward sailors have unwittingly drifted into an unforeseen tempest. 
Captive We have yet to hear the story Leandra is told she will hear and this becomes the link between each chapter. A very clever device indeed.
The Way Home The wolves are howling and the animals are on the move. This  is a lovely story that takes us to a word of the imagination.
Ghost Ship The sea is coming through the shattered deck. It's definitely a dodgy thing to lose control of a flintlock pistol.
Moonlight  Chetna gets a dinner invitation in a most unusual place.
The 640 Express This serial is at an end. What a tremendous conclusion Sameer gives the reader.
Gacgon the Sorceror This wonderful serial is about to be wrapped up. Gacgon prepares to create his final spell.

Author only serials
Passing Storms by Suraya Dewing. Ray Stone wrote the first Author - only serial and Dan Oliver followed with History's Secret which is now up to chapter 6 is full of action. Plenty of pace, rising tension and mystery following an archaeological dig.

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

We ask that you consider the following as you write your chapters.
1. Please make sure you read all the chapters preceding your chapter so that your chapter follows on logically. At the moment there are some recurring continuity issues.
2. Remember to put your chapter through the stylecheckbefore submitting it.
3. Each chapter does not need to end with a hook. This is especially true of the first four which are setting the scene.

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

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 

Bal Maid a Knocking Sabotage. I really recommend this serial. Ray has found his voice and the story is a tremendous read. It is absorbing and engaging. It is also interesting for those who follow history and it is also crafted in the voice of the time and there is a love affair as well.

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, suraya@thestorymint.com and I'll pass it on.

 

 

Chapter Writer winner

CONGRATULATIONS!!

This month Sameer Nagarajan wins for his concluding chapter for The 640 Express.

What is it about Art and Clarke that is so disturbing? Find out in this gripping final chapter why they seemed driven by evil intent.

 

A chat about books and Writing Tips


The 6 Gifts You Need to Give to You in 2017
Kathryn Burnett - Writer/Teacher/Creativity Coach offers the following writing tips.

We work hard!  Sometimes we forget to look back and be pleased with what we've accomplished.  So I want you to give yourself the following gifts this year.  They won’t cost you anything and they’ll focus and feed your writing in 2017.

1. Writer’s Report - Channel your favourite school teacher and write yourself a brief writer’s report card for 2016.  Given your goals for the year – how’d you do? What were the highlights?  What did you get right? What are you proud of? What still needs work?  It might not be straight "A"s (mine certainly isn’t!) but do it anyway.  Reflection and reassessment is the vital first step for setting your writing goals for next year.

2. Share - Make a pledge to share your work with others at least once in 2017. (Seriously?  Yes, seriously.) Whether you share within a writing group or writing class, with a friend or family member who also writes or through an online forum, a competition or a live reading – make that promise to yourself now.  Getting feedback of any sort builds resilience and confidence.  And a public show of any sort provides you with a firm deadline to work towards.

3. Give – Take the time to read other writers like you and give genuine, generous, specific feedback.  This is the gift of giving.  It’s mysterious but somehow it just swells the heart. (And for those of you who think that’s a soppy bunch of twaddle – fine - it also builds your analytical skills – so hey - win/win.)

4. Space – These holidays carve out some proper time and space away from your life’s distractions and focus on what you really love writing.  It doesn’t matter whether you do this on a beach or poking around a library - muse, wander, explore, play.  You know – all the good stuff that we rarely take time out to do.

5. Read – Make a conscious effort to start reading about subject matter that is interesting but you usually never look at.  Fiction ideas come from all manner of sources and can be sparked by just about anything. 

6. Daydreaming Habit – Start a conscious 5 minutes a day, daydreaming habit.  This is so tricky when you’re busy and feel like you should be doing something productive so start developing this habit over the break.  Make it a conscious habit for 2017 and you’ll be amazed by how often awesome ideas or story solutions just pop into your head.  Do it lying down with your eyes closed or staring out a window, it doesn’t matter.

http://www.kathryn-burnett.com/writing-workshops.asp

 

Blogs across the Spectrum

How writing serials improves short story writing skills

The Story Mint has just published its first Anthology of collaboratively written short stories. There are twelve stories written by 32 authors from eight countries. It is an amazing achievement and it is a world first.

We learnt a great deal from this experiment. However, it was so successful we intend to repeat it.

The first thing we discovered is how much we learn about our craft by working collaboratively on a single writing project. Many would say it is impossible for writers to get together and produce a story. They would cite arguments such as writers are individuals with individual styles that they. could never coalesce. There are many useful outcomes both for the writers and the group. Read on

Christmas Message

Raymond's blog on how he spent Christmas as a young lad in England brought back many memories. It is a wonderful piece that transports the reader to the place and time. Magic!
 

As a young boy, Christmas was something to look forward to. In 1951 at the age of five, I started primary school after moving from my parent's seafront flat to a new suburb that backed onto farmland. It was a time of great adventure for us kids but a tough time for our parents. Six years after the war, my mother still had ration books, father earned very little as a carpenter on building sites, and entertainment was the radio or an occasional trip to a local cinema. I remember my childhood as a time of Roy Rogers, Superman,  and on the radio – ‘Journey to the Moon’ or ‘Sherlock Holmes.’ It was a time when the world around me was going through significant change, not that I was aware of that at the time. The Cold War was hotting up and a year earlier, in July, my birthday month, the first rocket took off from Cape Canaveral. Read on

We recommend the blogs on our website.

 

 

 

 

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/

Writing Workshop
Kathryn Burnett's two-day writing event Let's Get Writing - 2017 is booking now.

 

Check this website out!

Opportunities for experienced and aspiring writers to get published.
Entering writing competitions is an excellent way to get your name out there and to set writing deadlines. Sumanda found the following website that is worth a visit as it has a list of curated competitions.

A Curated List of Creative Writing Competitions, Contests and Awards
 

https://www.dystopianstories.com/writing-competitions-contests/
 

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

 

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