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July Newsletter

The Story Mint Newsletter | July 2016

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Newsletter: July 2016

Hi everyone
Our readers continue growing!

We have almost 18,000 followers on Facebook. Last month's newsletter reached 17,688 and it got 5, 781 likes - 33%. A recent blog reached 10,000 and achieved 5,000 likes. Gabriel Burt's chapter for Born Bad achieved 4,500 likes and reached almost 14,000 people.
Serial Anthology
Ray, Sumanda and Suraya are working on our first ever serial anthology with Flo helping with editing. This anthology will showcase 26 writers and 12 serials. This collection includes some of our earlier serials and it is very interesting to see how the quality of storytelling has developed since those early days, just five years ago.
The Advisory Board met this month and wants us to increase the number of schools we run our pilot in. Students become engaged and develop writing confidence.  That is something we did not expect but what a wonderful discovery!
Melbourne Writer's Festival
Our plans are making excellent progress and we will be at the Melbourne Writer's Festival. We look forward to seeing our members during that time. We are also joining Mat Clarke and Geoff Stuart's meet up  at 6pm on Tuesday 30th August in the front room of the Royal Melbourne Hotel. Everyone is welcome.
We really look forward to seeing everybody and meeting new writers!

PS. Our presence at the Melbourne Writer's Festival will be low key as we will not have a stand or be presenting.

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!

Market research
Jillian de Beer will have communicated with many of you by now, as she continues to gather valuable insights and information from our creative writers. She will be looking for how our organisational identity is currently communicated and how it may best be expressed in the future.  Her research is covering a broad range of writers with diverse needs and aspirations, including their geographical location on all the main continents around the world.
Jillian has mentioned that members whom she has communicated with have been incredibly thoughtful and generous with their time – offering positive ideas, and highly relevant and meaningful suggestions. The Story Mint research will come together in a compiled report that gives insight and recommendations.

NZTECH Advance Education Technology Summit
Technology is always changing as it shapes and influences our lives. This process began way back when the printing press came into existence.  Currently, it is the speed of change, which either thrills or panics us.  As I reflect on the Summit, I ponder on the impact for creative writers - writers whose purpose in life is to entertain, challenge or record events.  
The conference challenged me to think about the role of our serials, not only as a tool taking writers to higher levels, but also as a voice of our global community. 
Good literature compels us to view life through a different lens, to sit back and analyse ourselves,our community or as a good friend says, our tribe.  The role of the creative writer is shifting, through the nature of technology into new realms.  One of the roles taking on greater significance is the voice of the philosopher, challenging us to think critically, inquiringly, ethically.  Born Bad is one of our serials which would not be globally accessible but for the technology The Story Mint relies on and that would be a shame because Born Bad ponders the nature versus nurture debate. It is providing the platform for readers around the world to challenge perceptions and is creating the environment to think at a new and deeper level.
The technology enables us to think globally, from within our local communities.

Bruce Howat, Business Manager

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 Hemali Ajmera
I always wanted to write. There were so many story ideas in my head but I had no confidence that I could put those ideas into words that people would enjoy reading. And then a friend introduced me to ‘The Story Mint’. Today when I read the first chapter I wrote for The Story Mint, I am amazed at my own progress. My first written chapter was very amateur, to say the least. Reading the works of senior authors made me realize my strengths as well as weaknesses. With the help of the stylecheck and inputs from Suraya and other wonderful authors, I have improved my writing style tremendously over time. Now, the ideas are the same, but the style, words and sentences with which I create stories are different. Before, my stories had words but now they also have a heart.               

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...

Rangitawa Publishing will produce our first serial Anthology.
The Story Mint is thrilled to announce that Rangitawa Publishing have agreed to publish our first serial Anthology.
We have selected 12 serials for inclusion.They are: 
1.           Flight
2.           Missing Pieces
3.           The Choir
4.           Sirias 3
5.           Retribution
6.           Fontaine’s Enterprise
7.           Go West Young Man
8.           Bal Maid a Knocking (single author)
9.           Bal Maid of Condurrow (multiple authors)
10.         Illusion
11.         The Fayre
12.         Danny and Maggie
We have over 26 authors involved in these serials. Most have already agreed to our including their chapters and we are delighted about that. The Anthology will be widely marketed using social media.
We hope to pay a small royalty once expenses are covered.
Congratulations to all those writers whose work has been selected.

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  http://www.meetup.com/The-Melbourne-Writers-Meetup-Group/events/231212391/ 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

For New Zealand authors
FIRST PRIZE $100 plus a free copy of the Rangitawa Collection 2016.
For international authors
First prize two copies of the Rangitawa Collection 2016.
Closing date: 31st August

We encourage members to let us know about their successes. Your success gives them 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?
We are hearing enthusiastic comments about how much people are enjoying our serials. They have favourite writers and are following preferred serials. Our Google stats show that hits are increasing and every time a new chapter is posted there is a spike in visitors.

Several serials are now underway. We always have room for more starters!

Serials to Book
Writers have responded to our call for starters in the most amazing way! There are plenty to choose from across a range of genres. This is exciting and  we look forward to reading the stories once they are underway!
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves follows on from the very successful Retribution.
The Beauty Contest by Rosemary Wakelin is filling up. It is upbeat and will be great fun. Rosemary says she got the idea from the Camel races in Dubai.
The Assault by Leif Rennes is a dark mystery. Who is behind the mask of the man who puts a needle in Summer's neck making her lose consciousness?  Almost fully booked and it is wonderful to see some new writers have booked. We look forward to reading their chapters.
Rest in Peace by Hemali Ajmera. This is very spooky. Sarah's best friend stabs a replica doll of her with evil intent. Sarah collapses.  Four chapters left.
Captive by Jasmine Groves is full of menace so why not go there! Three chapters left.
Sailing by Suraya Dewing.Ooops the captain and friends are out on the ocean and no-one knows. A storm is brewing. Three chapters left.
The Way Home by Ray Stone. Take a journey into an enchanted world. This starter reminded us of writers like CS Lewis.  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
Moonlight  The first chapter for this serial will soon be posted Did Chetna make the right decision when she chose career over husband and family?
The 640 Express Rosemary says there is something very chilling about Clarke. We agree. But what is it?
Born Bad Read Gabrielle's chapter and see what Charmaine is capable off. Gabrielle lulls the reader into a false sense of trusting Charmaine and then whoompf...the punch line is like running up against a wall. Amazing chapter.
Changing Times Linda has written her chapter from Marjory's point of view.Read what happens when she overhears a conversation in a coffee shop. Send your chapters to Anna Zhigareva annazhigareva@yahoo.co.uk
Cent-ed Kalli did a very brave thing when she wrote her chapter. She moved the characters to an entirely new location and she pulled it off superbly. The transition was smooth and did not startle the reader as such a sudden change can. It's really good and well done! Send your chapters to Tulika Saha tulikasaha@gmail.com
Gacgon the Sorceror  Of Angela's chapter, Hemali wrote:  Superb descriptions. Can't wait to read what happens next. This serial is written with such precision and clarity it is hard to believe it is a fantasy story. .
The Diary of Pearl Farrall Ken Burns' chapter leaves the story wide open to go in a number of directions. One of these is how Pearl will cope with triplets....if they all live. Then there are the other distractions like handsome warriors.
Ghost Ship Wilkins is in serious bother. What is it the Pirate has seen and what is he calculating its worth for? Is there such a thing as mutiny against the mutineers?
Yours Truly Who is Bernard? And who is the person Jacques' mother is referring too. Jacques does have a bit of a problem. He's been cajoled/manipulated beautifully. Will he enter the physics competition? Will Emily cry, "Conflict of interest,"  if he does. He is definitely in a spot of bother.

Who to send your chapters to.
Donna is managing all the serials now and Suraya will manage the starters.
If you have a starter send it to suraya@thestorymint.com
If you've written a chapter send it to

Anna Zhigareva is managing Changing Times which is coming to an end and The Assault which is about to start.
Tulika Saha is managing Cent-ed.

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  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 and some really valuable feedback for the writers:

Ignorance by Anna Zhigareva starts with 'Somewhere a child is probably crying.' When I read that I took it to mean that any child would probably be crying but I was wrong. It is a specific child. Read to see who.
The Decision by Anna Zhigareva is the next chapter in Anna's serial Small Things. Writing tutors often advise against the overuse of similes but the occasional one works. This one works: ...its branches stretching out in crooked lines like contorted elders at a gathering.
New Encounters by Anna Zhigareva is a further chapter in Anna's serial Small Things.
 On the plane to Bangkok she meets James Wright. I wonder if they part company at the end of the trip.
Blind Justice by Ray Stone. Professor Devereux is blind and walking home after giving television interview. So how did he end up murdering retired deputy, Marvin Tucks? Intrigue and tension abound in this story.

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
Hemali Ajmera
Our winner for last month's best chapter was Hemali Ajmera for chapter 2 of Gacgon the Sorceror
Hemali's chapter is full of imagination and wonderful creatures.

Here's a taster: He would have then annihilated the powerful Ispolin who lived in caves on high mountain tops. That would have earned him the distinction of being the most illustrious and mighty warlock of all. 

Even if you are not a fantasy fan this serial is full of energy and action.  

A chat about books

A review of “Melbourne Writers’ Social Group Anthology” by Mat Clarke.

The simple theme of “Melbourne” was elected for this amazing city of arts, diversity, and sport.

The anthology opens with a story by Lynette Jordon about an ANZAC dawn service that takes you on a marvelous journey to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance during pre-dawn darkness. Then onto the late afternoon to an Aussie rules football game, which is a definite Victorian favourite. The closing story is an excerpt by Kelvin Kwa, which at first comes across as a serious terrorist threat, but then twists into something else much more fantastical. Every other story in between has the potential to make you think, or laugh, or wonder what plane of existence writers actually live on.

Upon reading all the stories, a few stuck with me. Not just because of the writer’s talent or commercial viability, but because I either related, or it made me feel, laugh, imagine, and/or contemplate. Your choices will undoubtedly be quite different. “Winter’s Soul” made my bottom lip tremble a little. “Melbourne and Me” pricked my brain and remninded me of the many Melbourne icons we cherish. “Disappearing Act” made me think more about the homeless in Melbourne. “Everyone Has a Moment” was a relatable night that any of us could have observed (or been involved in). “My Mother’s Voice” turned in an interesting direction. “Shane” easily shows the frustrations that many people feel each day.

The single word theme “Melbourne” has bridged these stories and done its job as a barely noticeable influence. Each story is quite different, and each experience you take with you after reading will be unique. You may appreciate a short rest in between reading each story so you have time to put on a different hat for the next genre or poem. Regardless of whether you pick and choose from the index, or start from the beginning, you will find a number of stories that will ignite complex activity within your mind.

Much of any writing achievement is that a writer thought the piece up, wrote it, edited it, and finally completed it. However, there is a non-creative and difficult workload that follows, and only the few authors who are willing to distribute their work to readers are actually aware of this process. This is, editing, printing, distribution, and promotion.

You Know it Makes Sense - Lynette Jordan

The chosen title is not at first apparent. However, as you read you know this is an ingenious story for the beginning of the anthology that turns its own pages as you take a journey on ANZAC day within Melbourne, right from the dawn service and onto the AFL game. It is well worth the trip.

There are some phrases that really stuck with me: “...we file down the sodden hill...” “...It’s disgustingly early...”

Such simple words, but so full of meaning.

Tram Talk - Juju York

A big change in writing style. Very aptly titled. It’s a hell ride on the tram that makes you want to tell the character to just get off and walk the rest of the way. If you travel even ten minutes a week by tram in Melbourne, you’ll understand that these are just some of the many interesting commuters you will come across each day.

Voided Sky - Devon Q. Lee

From the outset you know the future is bleak. The reader is thrown into another existence. Another reality. The story reads like a dream. If Lucian wishes to escape, then he will need much more than a splash of cold water to the face.

Down a Ditch - Ann H

This poem captures a walk that speaks enormously of home, memories, and partly forgotten adventures. I feel that this will be interpreted very differently by each reader.

No Place Like Home - Stella Makris

Do you often travel and find interesting and unusual animals during your adventures? This is a light-hearted story about a group that takes a trip of a lifetime. However, as the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets eaten!

Winter’s Soul - J L Pippen

This story may be about death and souls, but it will in fact warm your heart. An interestingly odd tale just a cold breath away from our own reality.

Melbourne and Me - Rosalind Lewis

A poem that gives you a hefty slice of Melbourne in one bite that makes you smile.

Disappearing Act - James Jensen

A tale that rings true on many city streets, and written in a way a homeless person would speak and act.

The God of Melbourne - Amanda Burchell

When the gods create, they also bicker. An interesting alternative to what is commonly believed by the mainstream religions. It centres around a god’s worth and how humans may prevail.

Hello Little Man - Noel Anderson

A story that captures the memories, dreams, and lives of families. It’s these memories that form distinct scenes within our minds as we ponder them, then change as we get older, maturing until they become what they were always meant to be.

Everyone has a Moment - Tracie Pascoe-Lark

You can dance free, but not too free. You can wail, but not too loud. You can care, but not too much. Life is as life does for everyone. I easily found myself in this short tale as if I was a bystander watching everything coming to pass.

The Inevitable - Susan Wells

Is it a mistake or a challenge to take from the rich and keep it for yourself? A story of rough times with rough lines between life and death.

A Night at the Opera - Geoff Stuart

Written in an old tongue, you will witness a confrontation of the supernatural over us lowly humans.

Tram Journey - Miriam MacLean

It seems a common theme for people to tell tales of their tram rides around Melbourne. And this story is public transport at its crazy-finest. While you read you will nod your head over these shared experiences, so much so that your head will come flying off and break your big toe.

Rainbow Surfer - Janet Albury

A dream like story is what drives this adventurous fantasy across Australia. Who knew there was so much magic so close to home?

An Afternoon in the Library, a Play - Erik Thaisen

A playful short scene in a high brow setting that soon throws of its shackles and becomes the anarchy that humans can not help but create.

Striding Flows - Pierre Van Osselaer

Melbourne has a history. Not just of buildings, our governing bodies, and the conflicts in our streets and alleys, but in also what an individual may see or experience each day as leaves fall, water flows, and fauna comes and goes.

Deep Red Puddles - Mat Clarke

This review is not written by Mat Clarke. It would be odd to boast too much about himself (even though he would like to). Instead, Karen wrote this review shortly after the book was released. I therefore asked to borrow it and insert it here.

Mat Clarke’s story was a spooky exposition of derangement and violence in which not one word was unnecessary, and not one sentence irritating or unfulfilling - Karen Nicholls.

My Mother’s Voice - Nick Theophilou

A relatable piece that lifts and burdens your heart. The sentence, “You only have one mother” is what this reader kept repeating in his mind throughout the entire story - and then long after finishing.

Shane - Cory Corbett

Poems have a way of meaning different things to different people. I do not know who Shane is, but he is, I imagine, an embodiment of a reminder that the small things in our lives, such as laughing with friends, can easily dispel the shitty big things and small things that fill our week.

I might Know a Guy - Kelvin Kwa

While you might think you are reading a thriller regarding a terrorist threat (and you are), there is a certain person that should be feared more so than anyone else - even the worst terrorist. (If you are a fan of the animation show, Futurama, this may remind you of a particular episode.)

Copies of the book available for $15.00
Contact Geoff Stuart to buy a copy: geoffj.stuart@gmail.com


Blog across the Spectrum

We really recommend the blogs on our website.

Linda Alley's Blogs cover book reviews, hints for ESL teachers, writing tips, and much more.
She also gives a summary of a serial featured in The Story MInt and includes the chapter she contributed.

Her book review of Remember me like this  by Harvard's Director of Creative Writing,  Bret Anthony Johnson had me wanting to go out and buy a copy.

She has explanations of sentence structure such as verbs in sentences. She says:

'A student once asked me: “If there are two verbs next to each other in a sentence, what tense should I use for the second verb?”

Verb patterns seem to be one of the most difficult grammar points for students to grasp...'

She explains how this sentence pattern works and answers a number of other grammar related questions. They are well worth reading. She also includes writing exercises which are also useful.

Our writing tips

6 of the Best Writing Tips from Successful Writers

Below is a quote from this website.

I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.
Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird

There are many great tips and pieces of advice such as write a first draft and leave it alone for days or longer.
I can attest to this. It is amazing how differently a piece of writing reads after it and you, the writer, have had some time apart.
The actual advice is down the page so make sure you scroll down.
Essentially, the advice is, work hard and be willing to re-write multiple times until your piece sounds and feels right.

Elmore Leonard says, If it sounds like writing I re-write it.

Writing Meetup this month

Branch Information


 For information about a writers group nearest you go to

Check this website out!

27 Free Writing competitions
The are, in fact 29 reputable, well-reviewed, free writing contests for poets, fiction writers, essayists and more listed on this site. Well worth a look and consideration.

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

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