February 2017

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February 2017

The Story Mint Newsletter | February 2017

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Although we knew we had a tremendous team around us, events this month have yet again confirmed this. Their expertise and talent has meant recent proposals and presentations were professional and taken seriously.

Anthology in ebook
Our first anthology is proving popular and, thanks to Sumanda Maritz, is available as an ebook as well as hardback. Remember to tell friends and family about it and encourage them to buy copies. The stories make excellent reading as Bruce Erasmus can testify.
Read his review by following this link. The Anthology is a world first but not the last. We are now selecting the best stories for the next volume.

Members are The Story Mint's linchpin. We know there is much more we can do to meet your needs. Gabrielle Burt completely understands this and is now responsible for managing innovative member services.
The Story Mint could not exist without our members and readers could not enjoy the wonderful stories you write.  She is keen to talk to you about how we might serve you better and will be in touch.

Sponsorship Proposal
Aspiring writers whose work was consistently rejected by a succession of publishers have gained skill leading to publication. By checking their work against the stylecheck™ and writing serial chapters, writers are establishing a significant readership. This gives them enormous confidence and power when approaching publishers. We are now looking for a funder to help us get established as the 'go to' writers service for learners in school as well as aspiring adult writers.

Consistent style in reports
A corporate is now using us to develop a consistent voice in its reports, especially in multi-authored documents. This is an exciting development. We know we can provide excellent guidelines using stylecheck™ as a guide.

Single Author serials
Premium members only can write Single Author serials. We give feedback on these chapters just as we do multi-author serials. These serials will also be considered for Anthologies in the future. We have three stories underway at the moment. Lasiandra's antics in the air in NXT Flight are hilarious. Simes and Jay upset the village mothers in Fairy Blessings. These are two different, yet engaging stories. Passing Storms, also a recent Author only serial is also ready to read.

The Writer's Pad
Did you know you can save your work on the Writers' Pad and not publish it so that no-one else can read your work until you are ready to publish it.

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

Western Heights Primary School, Auckland
The school year is underway and new teachers are getting to grips with lesson plans and new learners in their classrooms.
Before their bright happy faces appeared, teachers all over the country were gathering to learn about new developments in teaching programmes. The Story Mint was at Western Heights for an afternoon to give 14 teachers from the middle and upper schools a lesson on how to use stylecheck™ and the serials.
Debra Stuart is working with the schools and doing a wonderful job.

Lesson Plans
We are also very grateful to Ally Gracewood who prepared lesson plans for using stylecheck™ and serials as a class resource. These are now with the teachers from the three schools we are working with. Ally is a former Head of Department of a secondary school and more recently contractor to the Ministry of Education responsible for training lead teachers in current teacher practices.

As Membership Manager, Gabrielle Burt plans to contact  every member to discuss membership options. She also wants to talk about ways we can offer you a wider range of writing activities and what you are looking for from your membership. Gabrielle has many ideas she wants to explore and we look forward to seeing those take shape.

Everyone Has a Story Anthology Oner
Sumanda Maritz has produced an ebook version of the Anthology and it is available.

Here is the link to purchase: 
click here


Facebook and Linked In

The stats are not so impressive this month but we do have over 21,000 followers who regularly read our postings.
Please push the share button whenever you read a post and that will expand our readership.

What people are saying

I arrived home to find my copy of the anthology had arrived in the mail. I'm having great fun re-reading all the serials and seeing how they've been edited. I'd forgotten how funny 'The Choir' is! Linda Alley

I received a copy of the anthology, 'Everyone Has a Story' on Saturday. I must congratulate you and all other authors for such a wonderful read. Special appreciation to Ray and Sumanda for their great editing. I have already started spreading the word about the book on all my groups. 
Thank you for giving me a chance to be a part of this distinguished group of writers. Hemali Ajmera

(See Hemali's review in A Chat About Books)

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...

Manawatu Writers Festival September 8 -15

Event Organiser - Rachael Doré
Check out their Facebook Page

The Story Mint will be at the inaugural Manawatu Writers’ Festival 2017 and we are really excited about meeting everyone!
Rachel Dore, who is organising the Festival is doing a fantastic job of pulling together a brilliant line up of presenters - experts in song, history, social trends and future technologies. Here are some of the names - Sue McCauley, Owen Marshall, Nick Allen and Prof. Paul Spoonley and many more.  She has more exciting events for anyone with an interest in writing and its associated skills such as publishing, selling books and the importance of choosing the right attention catching cover for your book. This festival is for you if your passion is books and other creative arts.
Be inspired by those who are influencing a thriving creative industry, shaping it and loving every minute.

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?
There are 14 serials at various stages of completion and until we have finished some of those we will hold off starting new ones.
We are a community of writers who belong to The Story Mint to encourage and help each other. If, for some reason, you are struggling with your chapter ask either Donna, myself or Anna for a tip or two to get the story moving along. We love to work with you.
Remember, if you have chapters to write then someone is waiting for you to finish yours so they can start writing.

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

There are some exciting starters, many already to go, but let's clear the back log of the current serials before kicking off any new ones.

Serials to Book
Nestor, Lester and Esther by Ken Burns. This tight little family are on their way to meet Nestor and Esther's new teacher. I wonder if she is 'a little bit fat' like Lester.
Crack in the Ceiling by Iliena Bosu. Writers are challenged to write as if the storyteller is not the 'heroine' of the story but what if she is?
d.a.d.s.by Ken Burns. Girls are for dancing and boys for driving so what happens when a girl turns up for a driving lesson? Three chapters to book.
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. Lasiandra is back, cheekier and funnier than ever. Five chapters to book.
Storm by Suraya Dewing brings a man who lives rough and a troubled young woman together. Who is the stranger? One chapter left.
Lawnmarket by Anna Zhigareva. Set in Edinburgh, Mary witnesses a young girl running from the Royal carriage. Who is she? Three chapters
Welcome to Halloween by Rosemary Wakelin. What fun this is. Georgina texts her friends, "Need immediate extraction." Yes, her family are really painful. Three chapters left.
Josephine by Jasmine Groves. Who is the lady in the carriage and what scared the horses?
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves. There are five chapters left. Let's get this family saga underway.

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
Mirror Mirror is on its way. How will the first writer explain the strange goings on in the mirror.
Rest in Peace Neil's first chapter takes a unique perspective and that's well worth reading for the technique. The second chapter is also brilliant in the way it sets Diandra's attitude against a boy's circumstances in a hospital reception room. Donna perfectly demonstrates how much key information a writer can fit into 500 words.
The Beauty Contest Sumanda's first chapter is hilarious. See how she makes the impossible sound possible and enjoy the hilarity.
It was a Game Samantha is calling after her father and the strange woman. But neither stop. Why?
Sailing Next chapter to come. 
Captive  Leandra has escaped. She is running away from her captors and she is caught in a flash flood. But how will she get from the shelf she is sheltering on? Meantime, her father is telling his superiors what story her captors will tell her about him.
The Way Home This is a wonderful heart warming story. Join Snark's adventure.
Ghost Ship  Next chapter to come.
Moonlight  Chetna is trapped in the lift with Dr Batra. They are rescued and Chetna gets some bad news. Love this heartwarming story.
Gacgon the Sorceror Gacgon prepares to create his final spell.

Author only serials
History's Secret by Dan Oliver is now up to chapter 6 and full of action. Plenty of pace, rising tension and mystery following an archaeological dig.
Fairy Blessings by Sumanda Maritz is a journey into a world where blessings by Fairies can change a village's fortunes. This story has a magical energy.
NXT Flight by Jasmine. This is hilarious. Lasiandra's antics just get funnier with each chapter. This easily falls into Chick Lit genre and it is great reading.
Passing Storms by Suraya features a mysterious old man who encourages Angelica as she struggles with changes in her life. (Completed)

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
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 stylecheck
before 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 Writers' Pad

You can store your writing on the Writers' Pad and it does not become public until you tick the publish. You made decide to never reveal what you have written and that is fine.
Look forward to other members following his lead. Your story will be unique and special.

Ray Stone
Ray's stories and memoirs are rich and evocative.

This month there is exceptional writing on the Writers' Pad 

Bal Maid a Knocking by Ray Stone is fabulous. Your eye glides over his latest chapter, Rogue. He describes the bleak scene at the mine where Mr. Jeddler is attacked and it is so vivid I could almost feel the chill. The dialogue is sparse and what there is, captures the character's voice. You can hear them speak. Yes, this is well worth reading.

Bal Maid a Knocking by Ray Stone. The chapter titled, The Warning is also terrific. Ray changes the mood and tempo and the ambience becomes lighter as the wedding plans are made but then a shadow comes over the characters as we learn of a plot by Jeddler's competitors. Great use of light and shade in this story.

Laughter down Memory Lane Another piece by Ray Stone. It takes us to another time and it is wonderful to read about Ray's boyhood memories. I really recommend it as he captures life in a bygone time in a way that really brings it to life.

Kato Drys These pieces give us a glimpse into another world and it is refreshing and wonderful. Thank you, Ray for posting these.

We look forward to other members sharing their memoirs and stories as every story is unique and special.

Also remember to leave comments. Feedback is essential for a writer's progress. 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


Neil Churches is this month's chapter writer winner. His chapter for Rest In Peace takes a unique point of view. It's worth reading just to see how he does it.
It is very clever and truly engaging. It is impossible to stop reading reaching the end is disappointing.

A chat about books

Book Review by Hemali Ajmera
Everyone Has a Story – Anthology One
Being one of the authors in this Anthology, it is natural that I will be biased in my book review. However, I have tried to read this anthology as an ordinary reader would and have been as objective as possible in my assessment.
I joined The Story Mint rather recently hence many serials included in this book were completed much before I started and this is the first time I had the opportunity to read the works of authors whose chapters have been included in the book. Each author’s individual style and language is reflected in his/her chapter, giving a very different expression to the chapter. Though the chapters flow seamlessly along a story-line, each author has lent his/her unique perspective to the story.
For me, the best serials (my favorites) in the anthology are undoubtedly the single author serial by Mr. Ray Stone, ‘A Bal Maid a Knocking’. I also thoroughly enjoyed ‘Missing Pieces’, a serial started by Rosemary Wakelin.
What makes this book truly special is that the reader gets a chance to read outstanding work by authors from all over the globe, each contributing his or her own unique writing style.
Many of the authors in the book are novices and pursue writing just as a hobby. With their crisp editing, Ray and Sumanda have given a professional touch to their stories. Jasmine’s cover page effectively conveys The Story Mint’s philosophy, where budding writers get a chance to get their work published alongside established and seasoned writers.
There are many serials on The Story Mint which make a very interesting read and I hope Suraya will consider including them in the next anthology. Congratulations and thank you for a great read.

Anna Zhigareva's first novel, Finding Home is out. Congratulations Anna!

Finding Home
by Kate White
“What are they saying? Matt, what’s happened?”

A family argument; an accident; and Ashley finds herself tumbling into a world of pain and secrets nestled so deep that she struggles to come to terms with the fact that the father she once thought she knew is in fact a complete stranger.

In the wake of the unexplained accident, Ashley fights against the raw grief that seeks to engulf her and, as she does so, learns whose smile she can and cannot trust.

When a fantastic opportunity is thrown her way, Ashley will stand for everything she believes in and go to the furthest of lengths to see it realised. Perhaps it is her only way to stay connected to the hope that what she fights for can somehow solve the tragedy that has rocked her family. Perhaps it is her way of answering the guilt plaguing the back of her mind.

About Kate White
Kate White comes from beautiful New Zealand, where this story is set. As she travels the world, she puts her experiences into her writing, her plot and characters, assessing the tests friendships and families encounter, and reflecting on the frequently challenging reality of the world we live in.

Publishers: Lavendar and White
Price:£3.99 inc VAT
click here


Blogs across the Spectrum

Inviting your reader to enter your story
by Suraya Dewing
One of the mistakes some new writers make is to slip into telling the reader everything that’s going on in sweeping generalisations. A reader won't see what a writer is visualising until the writer describes the scene, person or action.

All any reader can ever see is what the writer allows him or her to see. The only way the reader can do this is if the writer takes the time to describe the scene or situation.

In an article in the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop Dialogue shouldn’t say it out loud, Brandon Walker quotes Robert McKee as saying, “Exposition should be invisible. Show, don’t tell.”

By this he means...Read on

The Exclamation Pepper Pot
by Raymond Stone
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.’

I have to say that views expressed here are mine only, and you can make what you will of them. Just remember the one golden rule most new writers ignore because they think adding this grotesque grammar tool makes their work look more dramatic and super cool. Don’t pepper dialogue with exclamation points. In fact, the overuse of the exclamation point can ruin a perfectly good manuscript.

 Read on

We recommend the blogs on our website.

Writing Ideas!

Writing about Fear 
A book review
by Rosemary Wakelin
Recently I discovered a fantastic new writing resource containing a wealth of ideas in SHOWING characters emotions.
by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.
Angela and Becca brainstormed ideas with groups of people for 75 emotions listing them beneath five headings such as Physical Signals, Internal Sensations and Mental Reactions.
The authors suggest using their ideas to brainstorm versions of your own by either making them different or even better.
Below I have taken just a few of their examples for the emotion of FEAR and either made slight changes to them or expanded upon them.
I hope you find them useful when wanting to show fear in your characters or when inventing some of your own.

Breath sawing in and out
Legs rigid, making walking challenging
Staring into the distance but not seeing
Hands wedged into armpits, self-hugging, rubbing hands up and down arms as if cold
Sweeping hand across a moist forehead
Talking to oneself, sobbing, praying
Jerky, uncoordinated movements, flinching at the slightest sound
Dizziness, nausea, legs/arms feeble or numb
Chest tight, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat
Parched throat, difficulty in swallowing and/or speaking
Stomach churning, bubbling, burning
Holding your breath, wheezing for air
Irrational thoughts/images passing one’s mind
Impulsive reactions without thinking them through
A distorted sense of time, time moving too slow, too quickly
The burning need to hide or run.
Happy writing!

Available through Amazon, click here

Writing Tip
Use the environment to reflect your character's emotions. This gets the reader into the situation and the environment becomes a metaphor.

On writing dialogue: Prefer Expressive Language to Mimicry
Dialogue should sound like character talk, but its content must be way above normal. Fine writers list to the world but rarely copy what they hear, word for word, to the page. (115)
Robert McKee. The Art of Dialogue 2016 Hachette Book Group Group Inc.

Flaxroots Reviews
Flaxroots Reviews is a website run by author, Bronwyn Elsmore.
The reviews are always worth reading http://www.flaxroots.com/flaxflower

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

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/

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