August 2017 Newsletter

1 post / 0 new
August 2017 Newsletter
he Story Mint Newsletter | August 2017
View this email in your browser
Welcome to our August newsletter.
We are currently refreshing our website in line with invaluable feedback received internationally from our members.  We are planning to refine and improve our online position and the benefits of our service for you. Please contact us if we can be of assistance in any way.

Book signing at McLeod's Booksellers Ltd, 22 September, Rotorua, NZ.

McLeod's Booksellers are holding a book signing event for the author of Bend with the Wind, Suraya Dewing.

Manawatu Writers Festival 10-13 September, NZ.
The Manawatu Writers Festival is now almost here. The Story Mint is demonstrating Stylefit and we are also selling copies of our Anthology, Everyone has a Story.

South Africa
Exciting news! The Story Mint has a presence at the Edutech and Work 2.0 Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on 3-4 October, 2017. For more information keep reading.

Everyone will say the result was definitely worth the wait.
The Story Mint is getting a full make-over. I am seeing the first stages of it  and I am very excited. This community of individuals aspiring to become better writers and globally connected are also like a small community. The next step will build on all we have achieved. What makes us special is that we interact as if we are just next door. In a world that increasingly relies on strong relationships The Story Mint community epitomises a truly symbiotic world. We support each other and that pays big dividends.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY it is wonderful to be part of it.

A special welcome to all our new members. We love having you in our community!
See you next month!
Thank you for being such an important part of the The Story Mint

Best wishes and Happy, successful writing
Suraya, CEO

Latest News

The Story Mint is at Edutech and Work 2.0 Conference, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa


In early October, Suraya Dewing travels from New Zealand to meet Sumanda Maritz, who is based in South Africa. They are representing The Story Mint at the extremely prestigious annual Edutech and Work 2.0 Conference. The conference is positioned as the foremost gathering on the African continent for those defining the future of the learning life cycle and work, and how it relates across to business, education and technology ….  
It is incredibly exciting to think that we have come so far.

Here are are some very short statements from the event's brochures.

..this event explores [...] the nature of work, how we work and the work environment. draws together leading visionaries in leadership, business, technology, design and wellbeing...'

EduTECH Africa is the symbol of just how much potential Africa holds for technology, innovation and implementation in the classroom.


Entrance to one gives you access to both conferences.

Your writing style workshop
The Manawatu Writers Festival, Feilding, New Zealand is coming up . It's going to be a full four days with some wonderful speakers, many of whom are well known established authors and other emerging authors. 
Publisher, Jill Darragh from Rangitawa Publishers is speaking as are several other publishers.
The Story Mint will be there demonstrating Stylefit. We are also selling copies of Everyone Has a Story.
We have posted the full programme in our Forum so follow this link to read it.
Manawatu Writers Festival


You can also check out their Facebook
We sincerely hope you will remain with us and help us grow our great community further.

What people are saying

For someone just beginning on their path to being a confident writer
the technology made me think more about how I formed my sentences.  It also helped me to understand the use of nouns, verbs, adjectives & adverbs.
"I found Stylefit easy to use.
The many clues and valuable analysis is very helpful.
It made me want to write more."
Renata Lewis, emerging writer, NZ

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

Tell us what you think
Writing Workshops, for writers globally
We now offer writing workshops using Stylefit via email and SKYPE. These workshops can be for any writing genre. However, we have discovered they work really well for report writing. We are offering a FREE short introductory session and then The Story Mint charges $150 per hour after that.
This service is only available to members.

Interview with Linda Alley, one of our highly respected writers.
How has The Story Mint helped you achieve your dream?
The Story Mint has definitely helped me improve my style and develop my voice. I like the way the Stylefit makes me think about my choice of words and it's really interesting to see how my style compares with well-known writers. Getting out of my comfort zone is the best way to improve at anything and participating in The Story Mint's multi-author serials has really stretched me as a writer. I've tried new genres and learned to write from the perspective of a variety of characters I never would have come up with on my own. It's helped me discover my strengths and given me more confidence.

How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember. My brother and I used to make up stories when we were growing up in New Zealand. We could turn anything into a character from our soft toys to the salt and pepper shakers on the kitchen table at teatime and I would record the stories in exercise books. I carried on writing as a teenager and had some of my short stories published in local anthologies. However, with adulthood came the terrible curse of perfectionism and self-doubt! I kept writing, but mainly for myself. It's only in the last few years that I've realised that impostor syndrome is something that even bestselling authors have to deal with and I've started to pursue my writing dreams again.
What makes you want to write?
There's something very liberating about writing.  When I'm writing, I can escape to another world and become someone else.
What is your favourite genre? Why?
I enjoy books from a wide range of genres, but if I had to choose a handful I'd say historical fiction, speculative fiction, mystery and adventure.

What is your writing dream?
To create the kind of stories that really move people and make a difference to their lives. I'd love to be a published novelist in the future.
Linda Alley teaches English as a Second Language and is currently based in Melbourne, Australia. She has also taught in the UK and Spain and spent most of her twenties in Europe. 

For more info, visit her blog

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


What's been happening in the Serials this month? 

It's a case of quality not quantity this month. Three serials have new chapters but each one is a stunning piece of writing. 

If you are working on a chapter right now, keep going! We're looking forward to reading it!

Donna McTavish, Serials Manager, NZ.

New chapters this month 

Time Travel Our protagonist, George, has figured out how to control his travel through time and space. Or has he? 
Josephine This historical romance goes from strength to strength. The latest chapter introduces another thread to the story. It's a gripping story and an excellent example of how to tell a story rich in detail in a concise way. 
Rest in Peace “Come on, what harm can it do?”. Those chilling words close chapter 7 and we are left waiting to find out what new evil Diandra will conjure up.

And excitingly this month we have a new author-only serial. One of our most experienced Story Mint writers has embarked on a story of love and loss that is woven between two different time periods. It's an ambitious project, especially as each chapter follows the 500-word limit and we can't wait to see how it unfolds in Linda's capable hands.
We have a few serials waiting to get started so if you haven't already signed up for a chapter (or two) pop over to our website ( and take a look. 
Liberation by Linda Alley is set in war time London. A man feigning a limp picks up an umbrella and retrieves a piece of paper. There is some fabulous detail like a French copy of A Tale of Two  CitiesJust three chapters to go until this story can get started.
Encounter by Joe Labrum. What is the ball of light filling eleven year old Roland's room. Three chapters to go.
Nestor, Lester and Esther by Ken Burns. Does their Dad really like the new teacher? Four chapters left.
Crack in the Ceiling by Iliena Bosu. Now, why is it important that we know that the narrator likes milky tea? Let your imaginations run wild. Seven chapters to book.
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. The last serial was hugely successful and hilarious. What mischief can Lasiandra get up to? Four chapters to book and this story will be ready to go.
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. This has the makings of a Game of Thrones. If writers really get into it we could make it into a longer story.  Three chapters left including the first and last ones! 

If you write a serial chapter you are giving future readers of your writing an opportunity to read your work and to follow you like a beacon into the night.

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

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, send it to We will consider a starter in any genre (except erotica) between 450 - 500 words. 

Fabulous reading from the Writers' Pad

Remember, you choose when to publish your work. In the meantime, you can store your writing on the Writers' Pad . To make it public you tick the publish box.

Suraya Dewing, (NZ) is publicly rewriting a short story as an experiment. You can follow the changes she makes as she goes along. She is also writing a journal in the blurb page to record her changes. Like most of us she squeezes her writing in around other tasks, a situation most writers are familiar with. So she talks about how long she has and what she hopes to achieve in that time span.

Use the Writers' Pad to test reaction to your story when you are ready to share it with the public.
We don't edit these stories but please remember our policy of no erotica.


This month's Chapter Writer winner, is Anna Zhigareva, from Russia and New Zealand and based in Scotland.

For Chapter 10 of Ghost Ship
The following paragraph evokes the most beautiful imagery.
Chief Officer Toby twisted around to watch the last rays of sun fade over the waterline. The red skies painted a dramatic background to the heart-wrenching image of the Kalypso disappearing to the depths of the ocean.

Anna also wraps the serial up in a believable (if you believe in ghosts that jump ship and do strange things) way.
Very cleverly done!

Also see our review of Anna's first novel, Finding Home further on.


A chat about books

Finding Home
Kate White

This YA novel is startling for its maturity, given that Kate White wrote Finding Home while she was still at secondary school.
The reader is drawn into the landscape and becomes absorbed in the lives of the characters.  She skilfully controls her environment inviting the reader into the world she has created. Her characters also have an energy that is believable and recognisable.
The story follows Ashley, a young woman whose world is suddenly overturned by news that her mother, Fiona, is in a coma after a car accident. The last time she saw Fiona, her parents were arguing. This forms a shadow throughout the novel.
The admirable thing about this author's storytelling skills is that while her mother comes out of the coma there was not a ‘happily ever after’ finish to the story. She could have easily fallen into that trap. Instead, she left herself room to continue the story as a sequel with one or two loose ends. The loose ends did not leave me hanging but rather left me wanting to know more about this family, especially Ashley.
The novel also cleverly avoids getting maudlin and maintains a spirit of hopefulness as Ashley helps her Aunt Gina and best friend, Rosie, plan an Equestrian Centre.
I found myself comparing Kate White to Maeve Binchy.

Publishers:Lavendar and White
Price:£3.99incl VAT

Review by Suraya Dewing, NZ
Anna Zhigareva, writes under the pseudonym of Kate White as is a valued member of The Story Mint.

Blogs across the Spectrum

We recommend the blogs on our website.


by Rosemary Wakelin, Queensland,  Australia
  • The definition of ‘BLAH’ according to the Oxford Dictionary: ‘Used to refer to something which is boring or without meaningful content.’
  • The definition of the word ‘BLAH’ according to me: ‘A highly meaningful word used to refer to a multitude of words/phrases when, as a writer, you hit a blank.’   My favourite part of writing is the initial creating. You know the feeling, when you find yourself in deep conversations with your characters, when you sadistically throw them head first into a gruelling plot and see how they handle it, when you have so many ideas exploding in your brain that your home, your car and your workplace become a wallpaper of sticky notes.

Yep, just love it. I believe it is the best, craziest, painful, most exuberant time in a writer’s life. It’s when I feel alive.  However, when I am hastily scribbling ideas, I can’t always think of the right word. Call it writer’s… um… blah. [I know the word I want; it’s on the tip of my tongue!]. 
Chapter one of my book Forgotten is an example of this.  I had already mapped out the basic story in my head but I knew the first chapter needed to grip readers from the start.  [Small note: If you haven’t read The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, I highly recommend it. It’s an easy read and full of great advice for writers.] Anyway, the first chapter also had to be relevant, introduce my major character, Claudia Cabriati, and throw her into a challenging situation where readers get an immediate sense of her persona. Read on

Read other blogs at

Writing Tips!

Your Better First Pages Checklist.    
From Kathryn Burnett
Workshop Facilitator/
Writer/Creativity Coach 


We all know the pleasure of reading an engaging first sentence or first couple of pages in a book. There’s something thrilling and delicious about it because you know you're about to be taken on a great ride.
Is there a writer on the planet who doesn’t want their first pages to illicit those feelings?
Plus on a practical level – first pages are generally the first thing judges, editors, publishers and assessors get to see of your work. So take a moment to answer these questions. (Okay, it’ll probably be more than a moment but you'll thank me.)
There’s no right answer – they’re simply a list of provocations to help you make sure your first pages are as awesomely shiny as they can be.

Your Better First Pages Checklist.    

  1. What do your first pages set up about your story? The when, the where, the who or the what? It can be any one or more of these – there’s no hard and fast rule.
  2. How do your first pages create intrigue for the reader i.e. a reason to read on? What hooks them in?
  3. Which words, images or scenarios have you used to establish when in time your story occurs?  Is there a more evocative, original or intriguing way?
  4. How have you established the setting i.e. the where?
  5. How have you established who the story is about i.e. the who?
  6. What characterisation techniques have you used to introduce them?
  7. How do you want the reader to feel about this character?
  8. What techniques have you used to achieve this?
  9. What language have you used to evoke the senses or emotions?
  10. Are there better more evocative words you could use?
  11. How would you describe the pace of your piece?  
  12.  What techniques have you used to create that sense of pace?
  13. What does your first line do for you narratively speaking? 
  14. Once you’ve answered this go try it out on somebody and ask about their response. 


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


Writing Meetup this month

International Writers Groups
New Zealand
New Delhi

Copyright © *|2015|* *|The Story Mint|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
7 Holden Ave., Holdens Bay Rotorua, New Zealand 3060

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences