July 2017 Newsletter

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July 2017 Newsletter
The Story Mint Newsletter | July 2017
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Welcome to our July 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.

Changes at The Story Mint
Over the past few years we have thoroughly tested international writers' reactions to The Story Mint and its services. We are now very clear writers find what we offer helpful and in many cases life-changing. Therefore, we are expanding our services to include commercial and educational users.

Western Heights School students had their first taste of Stylefit (previously stylecheck) when we filmed a class for the video. So we were keen to see what the students thought. They were really enthusiastic and unanimously agreed that it made story-writing fun.

Here is what their teacher said:
“It was great to see my students using Stylefit. I could immediately see the benefits for their writing skills. I think you have a really good product.” Aaron McGreal, Teacher at Western Heights School, Auckland.

Stylecheck's name is changing to Stylefit
We have tested stylecheck in a wide range of circumstances and we felt that, because it works in all settings, Stylefit was a more flexible name. It is fit for purpose.

Crowdfunding launch

In mid July, Crowdsphere sent out a call for early expressions of  interest in our crowdfunding bid. The response was encouraging. We want to improve on what we do and investment alone will enable that.

Meanwhile, Monster Valley, the company making the video for the campaign, has filmed students at Western Heights using Stylefit and interviewed members from around the world illustrating that The Story Mint is a global company. The video will take crowdfunders on a trip around the world!

We are deeply indebted to Monster Valley for their support and for making what started out seemed to be an impossible dream into a reality. This will be a quality video that captures the essence of The Story Mint.

Register your interest in The Story Mint offer


Latest News

Changes at The Story Mint
The Story Mint is entering an exciting new phase which opens many new opportunities for writers.
Over the last few years we have tested our concepts and discovered that learning to write using Stylefit is fun and also inspiring regardless of what you write.

Stylefit is for writing adventurers.

Everyone who has made the journey thus far talks enthusiastically about how much they have learned and how wonderful it is to be part of an inspirational global community of writers. We warmly invite you to join us on the next stage of the journey.

Being a member of The Story Mint opens up an inspiring world shaped by your imagination and evolving mastery.

"The Story Mint is an amazing place that means I get instant feedback on my work, enabling me to grow and flourish as a writer. I enjoy being part of this virtual community where people are open, responsive, accepting and most of all .... creative! There's always the excitement of not knowing where the next word can lead you .. that you're part of an incredibly talented and gifted community which comes up with exciting ideas, powerful language and useful tools. I came across The Story Mint quite by accident, while surfing the net but this is one decision I have never regretted." Sameer Nagarajan, Dubai

The proposed changes mean new users will still have plenty of time to evaluate the site before we invite them to join us.

“A community of like-minded individuals and the technology to make us soar. The most amazing place to learn the art of writing. Worth every cent.” Sumanda Maritz, South Africa
We encourage you to remain actively engaged in the community by subscribing to the website and paying a small subscription fee. The cumulative effect is that we will be able to bring you more services, like writing workshops and other programmes.
This can be done at the following address:

We sincerely hope you will remain with us and help us grow our great community further.

What people are saying

From Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs for Payments NZ,
Jane Retimana.

I became aware of The Story Mint through the NZTech forum and was initially interested in their product from an education point of view.  After further discussions it became apparent they could help us in a corporate setting with advice on how to build consistency of voice and readability in our external comms.   We were interested in The Story Mint helping us as they brought a fresh and new perspective to writing great pieces of work.  Suraya led a comprehensive assessment process and provided us with a report of writing issues and traps our staff were falling into with our writing and comms.   Suraya then worked with us to build a set of writing guidelines for staff, based on the stylecheck, to align and provide a consistent voice for the company.  We found the process and the outputs to be invaluable and The Story Mint team to be a great bunch of people.  

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... NZTech Advance Education Technology Summit
Suraya was fortunate to be invited to present a quick five minute snapshot of Stylefit.
You can read the full presentation at:

Stylefit is one of several services The Story Mint offers. It is unique technology.
We have widely tested it with a large number of learners in a range of schools. The way learners react to it is truly exciting. They become engaged and start interacting immediately.
We are indebted to the amazing principals and teachers who have had the vision to invite us into their schools to trial this inspiring innovation.
They immediately see the potential for this technology to promote self-directed learning. They also can see it as an additional resource to enable them to teach their learners well and to encourage them to think of different ways to use words.
Most adults also use stylefit in a self-directed way.
It encourages learners to analyse their writing and to think of other ways to write. Read on


To find out more check out the Manawatu Writers Festival Facebook

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? 

The Story Mint serials are created by writers from all over the world. It's an active community that provides support and encouragement for new and experienced writers so don't hesitate to contact Donna, Suraya or Anna if you've hit a speed bump with your chapter. We love to work with you.

There must be something in the air .... serial chapters have been flooding in with new chapters for The Beauty Contest, d.a.d.s., Storm, Immortal and Starting Over. 
If you are one of the writers next in line.... looking forward to receiving your chapters to include in next month's newsletter. No pressure!

Happy writing.
Donna McTavish, Serials Manager.

Serials underway
Lawnmarket has taken a turn into the shadowed world of witchcraft in the mid 17th century.
Time Travel Meet Patty and George Harrison in the most unexpected way. Anything is possible in this serial especially without controls to guide the time travel machine.
d.a.d.s. The new chapter published this month introduces a jealous girlfriend to add to the kooky cast of this quirky dancing and driving serial. 
Storm  A lovely new chapter follows Angelica as she begins to explore tropical Taru. This chapter blew us away and is a worthy winner of our 'serial of the month' award.
Josephine This is a gorgeous historical romance. What will the Marquis do when he discovers his General has Dame Annise Yves d'Aquitaine?
Mirror Mirror Alice has fallen through the mirror in a tangle of brambles and long skirt. 
Rest in Peace  Another new chapter that continues the mystery. Voodoo continues to cause havoc and fear. 
It was a Game Samantha is high and dry in the city and Jeremy will have to come and collect her. What will happen in the meantime?
Sailing Kurt looks up and sees his boat's anchor floating above him....then....
Captive  In a line that takes the story back to the start Leandra's father confesses he has a story to tell her about her mother.
The Way Home This is a tender story about friends facing danger together.
Ghost Ship  Greg cleverly introduces the idea that Sal and Squiddly are ghosts. This allows the story to cover a wide range of time periods. It is an excellent device.
Immortal Even if you are not a fan of vampire stories, you will love this serial. The new chapter published this month is psychologically intriguing and beautifully written.
The Beauty Contest There are camels in the garden and now in this month's chapter there are penguins falling from the ceiling and it's still Sunday morning. 

Author only serials
Starting Over  This is a new single Author serial by Ray Stone. Conflagration has struck the Southern United States and and our narrator is left to 'start over'. It is dramatic and atmospheric and there is another new chapter this month!
Fairy Blessings by Sumanda Maritz is a journey into a world where blessings by Fairies can change a village's fortunes. This story has magical energy.

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 (www.thestorymint.com) 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 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

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 suraya@thestorymint.com. We will consider a starter in any genre (except erotica) between 450 - 500 words. 

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 box.
Suraya is re-working her story Clocks in public view. She is editing the story and working hard on defining just exactly what the story is about. This is a challenging exercise.

Use the Writers' Pad to test reaction to your story. We don't edit these stories but please remember our policy of no erotica.

This month's Chapter Writer winner is Greg Rochlin

Greg's chapter for Storm builds on Dr. Noland's work as an archaeologist and we are drawn into the Island and the people  he was studying, even down to creating a language for them. 'The palms to the right were sullen, lifeless' captures the feeling of the whole Island and one can almost feel the suffocating heat.
Well done, Greg.

A chat about books

This book review appeared in Flaxroots Productions website. http://www.flaxroots.com/flaxflower
The purpose of this website, run by author Dr. Bronwyn Elsmore, is to promote new books by New Zealand authors.
Ever wondered where our obsession for rugby came from?

New Zealand Rugby Country – How the game shaped our nation

This is a meticulously researched and carefully written book, which examines New Zealand’s national game from all possible angles. It contains a detailed history of the sport and draws parallels with the condition of New Zealand society at the same time that rugby events take place. It is impressive in the way it unfolds and links the two strains.
    Particular attention is paid to the way that the struggle against apartheid came to a head with the 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand. It is clear that the tour shaped this country socially as well as it shaped rugby, ensuring that never again would a team selected on race represent New Zealand.
    Some space is spent discussing how the changing demographics of New Zealand have been reflected in the makeup of rugby teams, in particular the rise to prominence of players from the Pacific Islands.
       Chapters are devoted to Maori rugby, detailing its history and achievements, also the rise of rugby sevens and its inclusion in the summer Olympics. Women’s rugby gets a special mention, detailing the New Zealand domination of that sport, but decrying the lack of women in rugby management. 
     A lot of space is devoted to the rise of professionalism in the game and the increased prestige of the Rugby World Cup.
     The book highlights the journey rugby has travelled from being a totally amateur sport played in clubs, which were often quite social in makeup, to a professional game where a young person can go straight from high school to playing for a super rugby team, and earning vast amounts of money. The incredible amounts of money poured into the game by sponsors and by television have no parallel in any other New Zealand sport, and surprised me, even though I have been a follower of the game most of my life.
       The influence that New Zealand rugby has had on the rest of the world can be seen in the number of overseas national teams that are being coached by New Zealanders.      When rugby became a professional sport the selection and culture of the All Blacks needed to become much more professional as well, and this change is well detailed in the book, even down to the history of the haka, and the all black jersey.
       This is a book that could be read many times, with the reader gaining greater insight into the details of the national game each time. However, the reviewer cannot help but think that perhaps it was the changing New Zealand society that changed rugby, rather than the author’s view that rugby changed the nation.

Review by Harold Bernard
Title: New Zealand Rugby Country: How the Game Shaped Our Nation
Author: Desmond Wood
Publisher: Bateman, $39.99
ISBN: 9781869539276
RRP: $39.99
Available: bookshops

Blogs across the Spectrum

We recommend the blogs on our website.
This month we have another short blog from Suraya.

Often when we write we are eager to tell our stories and give little thought to who our readers might be. For some reason we imagine there are dozens of people waiting for our words, information. So it is something of a disappointment when we discover this is not the case.
In fact, the readers we imagined were waiting for our insights become like a mirage and they disappear in a shimmer.
So, before we start writing we need to pause. Who is our reader? What interests him or her? Who does he  or she hang out with? What makes them angry, sad or joyful?

Take a breath. Visualize your reader and imagine him or her responding to your story or article. If a puzzled frown forms above his or her brow, you know your reader has escaped to a meadow somewhere, or a beach perhaps. But they are definitely not listening to your profound wisdom or reveling in your unique insights. And once they have gone nothing will re-engage them.

That's when we need to decide if the story burning a hole in our hearts will resonate with this reader? Or do you need to tell it in a different way, a way he or she can relate to.
So rather than subject yourself to that terrible agony become reader-centric. Invite them on a journey and give them the most unforgettable experience of their lives.

Find out about how to become part of The Story Mint story.


Read other blogs at http://www.thestorymint.com/blog

Writing Tips!

Draw emotion through characters readers care about

Allow readers to spend time with the characters in question before expecting them to feel much emotion when they go through a sad moment. The more your reader knows the character(s), the more personality, history, and relationships you have to work with.


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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