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September Newsletter

The Story Mint Newsletter | August 2016

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Newsletter: September 2016

Hi everyone

Thank you for your contribution to The Story Mint. Without you we would not exist. You are what sustains us and motivates us.
So here's what we have been up to this last very busy month.

Melbourne
Well, what a wonderful time The Story Mint had in Melbourne. The highlight was our evening with the Melbourne Writers Social Group (MWSG). Our sincere thanks go to Mat Clarke for organising a truly inspiring night with around 30 MWSG members.

 

 

Suraya gave an outline of what The Story Mint offers writers who are aiming to become published authors while Bruce explained to the group how the stylecheck™ worked.
During the week we met with members; Linda Alley, Jasmine Groves, Greg Rochlin and Mat Clarke.

Melbourne Writers Festival
One of the benefits of being at a Writers Festival is the range of speakers you can hear. We heard some wonderful stories and gained some excellent insights into writing.
Writers Festivals
Is there is a Writers Festival in your area coming up? Let us know and we will promote it in the newsletter. If you go to one, tell us what the highlights were for you and we'll put that in the newsletter. My highlight was definitely listening to the panel on Publishing.

Publishing Now
A publisher is looking for 'a clear voice'.  So says publisher of forty year's experience, Henry Rosenbloom. More of what he said further down.    

Social Media
As you know our following on social media is significant. If you write serial chapters can you please send us a photo of yourself so we can use it when we post your chapters. This will help to increase your following and raise your profile.

A literary miracle
For those of you who were among the first writers to participate in serial writing, you and I have experienced something that is not far short of a literary miracle. We have praised the genius of the stylecheck™ many times for the way it helps us to improve our writing skills. That apart, enthusiasm, competition, and sheer determination to succeed in achieving personal creative goals has resulted in an astounding increase in the quality of everyone’s work in serial participation. There is a true saying – that within each of us there is a book. Very few realize such a dream, maybe because they don’t know where to start such a daunting task. The Story Mint has opened up an opportunity for all who want to see their stories published. Writers, young and old, some more experienced than others – all have taken small steps into a beautiful world they create every time they write a chapter. There is too much illiteracy in the world today and with the advent of the internet, our work is being read in many countries around the world. We are playing our small part to bring higher standards of reading and writing to those less fortunate than ourselves. Just look at all the countries our writers come from and imagine how much our readership grows each year. Several writers have already produced novels, and there is more to come. Shortly, an anthology of some of our serials will be published. Many congratulations to all members, writers, management and of course, Suraya. The Story Mint lives on.
From Raymond Stone, Author, Anthology Co-Editor

Anthology
Sumanda Maritz and Ray Stone are working hard on getting the stories ready. Many have had continuity problems, not just in layout but also in content...like a character being described as blonde and later dark. This shows the importance of reading all the chapters before the one you are about to write. We have standardised grammar and layout for all serials. However, the latest serials are outstanding with creative twists and real flow.

Coming Up
Our schools are working on their serials and our discussions with corporates are making very good progress. We have returned brimming with ideas on how to ensure The Story Mint  consolidates its presence.

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!

Have a clear voice if you want to get published
 

To even catch a publisher's attention your writing must have a ‘clear voice’ and the author must 'have an on-line presence.
This was Henry Rosenbloom's (Scribe Publishers) response when Chair of the session, Independent Bookseller, Mark Rubbo asked what people had to do to get published. Elise Ryan (Penguin Australia) agreed with Henry Rosenbloom.
Henry Rosenbloom has over forty year's experience as an independent publisher and has weathered many difficult times in the industry. He was relatively upbeat, saying that the world of publishing had settled to a ‘new normal’. This new normal was seeing the rise of independent publishers and mergers of big publishers like Penguin and Random House.
Ebook sales had plateaued at twenty per cent of all books sold and everyone agreed that all the signs indicated that while there is a place for electronic books, hard copy books would never disappear. Children’s books were continuing to sell well in hard copy with little threat from ebooks apparent. They all agreed, including Author Cate Kennedy, that social media now plays a major role in a writer's  ‘discoverability’. This is the 'new normal'.
They all had three pieces of advice: have a clear voice, build your on-line presence and get to know a publisher’.

Why Writing Matters

Richard Flanagan, Man Booker Prize winner 2014 and recipient of many honours held his audience riveted.
“Words belong to the people and are not bound by nationalistic borders,” he said.
His speech demonstrated why we, as writers and readers, must keep following our craft and telling the stories of the people. If we don’t, who will champion the weak and the people without a voice?
Here is a section of his spellbinding speech,
“Readers of the future [will] be led to question what sort of people were the Australians of our time. He then read out nine of the 2,116 incident reports that make up the Nauru files.
“Every day that the asylum seekers of Nauru and Manus live in the torment of punishment without end, guilty of no crime, we too become a little less free. In their liberation lies our hope; the hope of a people that can once more claim honour in the affairs of this world.”
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/sep/01/nauru-files-an-extraordinary-trove-of-short-stories-says-richard-flanagan
 “Our role, as writers, is to see the divine in each other,” he said.

Writers Workshop for Premier members
There is considerable interest in this workshop and we have begun planning it. However, we  are now thinking it might be a good idea to combine it with the Melbourne Writers Festival. The idea is to run a workshop over a few days in Rotorua, then repeat it in Melbourne as the lead in to the Melbourne Writers Festival. If you have ideas on what you think this workshop should cover let me know. My goal is to focus on areas that others tend not to. Contact: suraya@thestorymint.com

The Melbourne Writers Social Group
 

Mat Clarke and Suraya met through Linked In over five years ago. They shared a love of writing and since then communicated on and off. Suraya was developing The Story Mint as well as writing the fifth draft of her novel Bend with the Wind and Mat was working on his novel. He is an actor, writer and app developer, among other things. Additional to all this he has set up and is running an impressive number of arts related groups. The Melbourne Writers Social Group has over two thousand members who represent song writers, poets, playwrights and screen writers. Suraya and Bruce met around thirty MWSG members and demonstrated the stylecheck™. They also talked about The Story Mint and how it was working to achieve its goal of supporting writers who are working towards getting published.
The group met at the Royal Melbourne Hotel which is a heritage building with a history as a cell block during early settlement.  The long stone area outside the old cell block, where they met had a gothic ambience which lent a certain kind of feel to the meeting. It was exciting to meet a new member of The Story Mint and to shake Neil’s hand. It was a wonderful night and a marvelous opportunity to meet Mat in person after knowing him online for so long.  Face to face encounters always add something special to relationships created over the Internet.

How words and phrases enter our law books
 

Phillippe Sands, QC, Professor of Law
 Phillippe Sands, is a barrister, a professor of Law and a QC in London who followed the story of one Nazi, Hans Frank, who was responsible for the Polish concentration camps. He was finally sentenced to death at the Nuremburg trials. Phillippe Sands followed two lawyers whose lives crossed many times as they lost family and fought for justice. As the two lawyers did their research, one defined ‘genocide’ and the other, the term, ‘crimes against Humanity’. Both were written into international law after a long struggle for various political reasons. These terms are now used against perpetrators of terrible war crimes such as Serbia's, Slobadan Milocevic.
Sands gave the story a human face by following these two lawyers  who were in America and London, at University, before the war. At the end of the war they discovered that each had lost all their family to the Nazis. It was such a heartbreaking but extraordinary story.
His book is East West Street.

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

I must say that the stylecheck™ works for me. My chapter often falls outside the Grid, usually off the bottom. I often get encouraged to use less passive tense. The passive is necessary, of course, in some cases, but more often than not I find that changing passive to active improves readability, and gives more impetus to the story. The stylecheck™ also often suggests that I include more description. It is fun going through and identifying places where description will be useful, and, in the process, finding other passages to cut out which are not essential to the story, in order to stay within the word limit.
In  summary, the  stylecheck™ is a great tool for use in my writing, and following its advice invariably results in a better chapter.
Greg Rochlin (Australia)

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...

Schools
Matipo School is amazing us with their student's enjoyment of writing and creative spirit. It is wonderfully imaginative. There are two underway: the Acid Blob and Friday 13th. These nine to ten year olds are proving to be excellent storytellers.
Room 18 at Beachlands School has posted their first preface and the next chapter is coming.

NZ Book Festival
The NZ Book Festival is on Saturday 5 November at Mt. Eden War Memorial Hall, Mt. Albert, Auckland.
Details are on the website:
http://nzbookfestival.co.nz/
It’s a fantastic opportunity for writers to get their books in front of the buying public and for readers to find books not available in bookshops. This is often because the big chains simply won’t deal with individual authors and getting your books distributed can cost more than you’re making on them.
If you are interested in following up this opportunity for NZ Indie Writers contact:
Andrene Low andrene.low@slingshot.co.nz
Let us know about similar events in your areas.

Retirees
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 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.

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

Serials to Book
Josephine by Jasmine Groves. Josephine is on a carriage journey with horse's galloping across the landscape. Why? Where is she going?
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves leaves Dilara in no doubt that her life is in danger. Why is she so uneasy and anxious? Five chapters left to book.
The Beauty Contest by Rosemary Wakelin is hilarious. This one gives us the freedom to play with Camels. Check it out and let your imagination lumber down the race track.
Rest in Peace by Hemali Ajmera. Can a curse upset Sarah's dream of becoming a figure skating world champion?
Sailing by Suraya Dewing. There's a storm brewing and no-one knows Kurt and his friends are out in his father's boat.  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
Captive is fully booked and underway. He’s impatient to see if she trembles with fear, or weeps with grief. How will she react? The visitor does not care. Time to wake her up.
The Way Home is a beautifully crafted serial. 'Snark's pink tongue hung over his lower lip' is just one example of wonderful word crafting. Ramus and his friends had better watch out.Of this chapter our editor said, "SO enjoyed this story, this chapter... GREAT fun!"
The Assault Kramer has tried the bread made from GM wheat and declares there are no ill effects. Summer is visited by her captors and Arnav Singh, CEO for Agricorp India is taking part in a video conference to discuss whether to pay the ransom to Summer's captors. What does the sound of a train whistle suggest? 
Moonlight  Chetna is flying to New Delhi to see her mother in hospital. A strange man sits beside her and she is curious about him. Her questions maybe answered because they share a taxi to the hospital...
The 640 Express The nerves are taut. Art is traveling on a train to ...what?
Born Bad This serial is moving to its conclusion. What is the truth about Cecilia and the two Charmaine's. And Cecilia's sister? What hand has she had to play in all Cecilia's troubles?
Cent-ed What is Saumya playing at? Why does Mahak say 'no' to his proposal of marriage?
Gacgon the Sorceror  Our writers are excelling. This is a fabulous piece of writing by Ray Stone, Long tendrils of foul smelling thick saliva slowly dripped and dribbled from the jaws of Sargron, the Dog-Head leader of the hunting pack. Want to know what it is about? Go and read the entire serial. It's fantastic!
The Diary of Pearl Farrell Pearl's a widow now but is drawn to a man that has left the locals incredulous. Why?

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

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:

The Bilderberg Diary is political intrigue by Ray Stone. The Bilderberg group meets every year and he uses this as the starting point for his novel. The trigger for his character, Enda Osin, a journalist hears about the death of EU Commissioner for the Czech Republic. Intrigue is Ray's specialty.
Tigers in the Night by Sumanda Maritz is a story we can relate to. Toys transform into scary creatures in the night.
When all that is left is hope by Anna Zhigareva. This is the next chapter in Anna's story Little Things. Linda goes to the site of the burnt orphanage and meets an angry cleaner. Read why she is angry and what Linda does in that story which had excellent pace a character portrayal.
The Meeting by Anna Zhigareva. The old lady deserts Linda but leaves her on the steps of a hut. Linda struggles to overcome her anxiety and then goes in. What does she find?

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
Raymond Stone for his chapter 7 of Gacgon the Sorceror.

How could anyone read this piece of writing and not shout, 'Bravo!!'
First the start, a chant:
Give her wings that she may fly, danger lurks with Dog-Heads cry. Give her strength with potion’s power, let there be rescue fore moonlight’s hour. Know her the fragrance of Wergrantor, hasten her search for the magic flower.” 
and then sentences like this that whisked us away to a magical world that lit up our imaginations.
"They cowered as the cry pitched so hurtful to their ears that they ran in retreat."
There are many more!

A chat about books

A review by Suraya Dewing.

Trust Me I lie
Louise Marley
This novel starts predictably when the hero, policeman Ben, and heroine, heiress Milla, stumble across each other on a stormy night. She is on the road, wet and bedraggled. 
‘He hit the brakes and then he hit her.’ (11)
This is policeman Ben’s first encounter with Milla.
He was fuming over his tense meeting with his ex-wife and distracted. It all sounds familiar right down to his seeing through Milla’s lies and not trusting her. And as always the case in these scenarios the feeling is mutual.
She steals from him and disappears. Meantime, he is called to investigate the murder of Camilla Graham who is laid out in a four poster bed dressed in a gown by Dior. When he is told the victim is Camilla Graham, he knows this is not true, or is it? If this is Camilla Graham who was the woman he met on the road and gave shelter to the night before?
The plot twists and turns, drawing on events eighteen years before and weaving them into the present raising questions about Camilla Graham’s family as it does. It has pace and the characters are well drawn.
And of course the right two people get together at  end although at times it seems this could never happen, giving the reader a reason to keep turning the page.
I recommend it as a read to escape life’s mundane realities. After all who can resist a troubled but fully independent heiress who does not do a thing she is told and in doing so taking big risks. She is determined to find her way back to those of her family left after a fire killed her siblings and mother.
She is sharp witted, intelligent and a match for senior police officer Ben Taylor.
Available through Amazon

Flaxroots Reviews
Bronwyn Elsmore is a New Zealand writer who has set up an independent reviewing service for Kiwi authors.
She recently posted the 90th review and she is anticipating the 100th. When it does, she says she'll do some extra publicity via social media to celebrate it.
The following are her words:
"...the reason I give my time to arranging for these reviews is to help promote books by my fellow Kiwi authors. My thought is that we’re in it together and what raises the profile of one, nationally or internationally, helps others too.
I thought you might be interested in a few facts. When your review is posted, I send out the notice about it to all on my list, and tweet about it on twitter – usually 10 tweets over 24 hours. Flaxroots currently has 11,000 followers on Twitter. These tweets are often retweeted by others.
I do what I can, but if you can suggest to friends, and anyone who is interested in books, to go onto the posting list, you benefit.
Ask them to send a subscribe to FlaxFlower message to flaxroots@gmail.com
This is also my opportunity to say a very special THANK YOU to all the wonderful people who give their time reading and reviewing these books. FlaxFlower can do with more reviewers to spread the load so if anyone knows of others who would be interested, please ask them to email me.
Bronwyn Elsmore, Author
flaxroots dot com
Author: New Zealand novel  Backwards Into the Future
 

Blog across the Spectrum

The following excellent blog by Raymond Stone explains why too many exclamation marks will stop publishers from taking your manuscript seriously.
Well worth reading!

ORDER, ORDER, exclaimed the Leader of The House
Originating in the 15th century, the exclamation point meant ‘Mark of Admiration.’ This has to be one of the most confusing and overused tools of grammar and for me, a ‘Mark of Frustration.’ Read on

We recommend the blogs on our website.

 

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. Read everything, across genres whether you like them or not. It will grow you as a writer
2. If you don’t have a pen handy when an idea strikes, email it to yourself or leave yourself a voice message
3. If you're not feeling it, it's ok to stop and go back to it later
4. Keep short notes on the future plot, how you see characters connecting and ending up
5. Enjoy the process, the good, the bad and the finishing a piece of work
Jasmine Groves (Aust)

1. Have a clear idea of what you want to say.
2. If characters are involved, create a biography for each one.
3. Describe the atmosphere; the land mass, the weather; anything of this type to put your reader into the story.
4. Create dialog central to the area of your story. For example, since most of my stories and books take place in Montana where lifestyle is casual, my characters interact with an easy, casual form of dialog.
5. Write whenever you can. The subject can be anything; a daily blog; a diary; a daily story. For example, my husband and I lived a life unusual to the majority of people. I have written most of it as stories for our children and beyond. The secret is to WRITE!!!
Kalli Deschamps (USA)

1. Find your voice and stay true to it.
2. First draft is best kept out of sight. They become embarrassing. Draft, redraft, redraft.
3. Take the reader on a journey.
4. Avoid using dialogue to tell the story. That is exposition and reads better as narrative.
5. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy working with words.
Suraya Dewing (NZ)
 

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/

 

Check this website out!

NZ Book Festival
Check out the NZ Book Festival on Saturday 5 November.
Details are on the website:
http://nzbookfestival.co.nz/
Andrene Low
021 275 8000

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

   
   
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