May 2017 Newsletter

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May 2017 Newsletter

he Story Mint Newsletter | May 2017

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The Story Mint welcomes you to our world
We are a collaborative community, focused on always encouraging one another to push beyond limitations cast by self-doubt.

There was a time when I was afraid to dream. But then, one day I decided that my dreams were as good as anyone else's and I set them free. Now my dreams are changing from being feathery and insubstantial to something real. That is because I dared to dream.

I'm no different to anyone else. We can all make our dreams come true. Our collective power gives us great strength and that is why The Story Mint is like a comet in the sky. We each have our dreams but by helping one another we give shape to everyone's including our own.

Once our dreams have taken shape we can clothe them with expectation and drive them with focused motivation. Above all, we must never, ever stop believing we can achieve our dreams.

As writers, we explore worlds where ideas dwell and we constantly discover truths that can free a troubled soul or break down barriers.  What we do is more powerful than simply putting words on a page, we unveil a truth and we give those around us the courage to stand tall when the world's weight is crushing down on them.

As members of The Story Mint we can become the best writers we can possibly be. We have the tools and the mutual support.  However, if we are going to build a solid platform on which The Story Mint can sit, stylecheck™ is the core product that will do that. It sets us apart from other writing platforms.

stylecheck™. is capturing the imaginations of users from many walks of life and they are discovering how it improves their writing. This key product links all those The Story Mint  serves.

It is because people are seeing what we have built and what we can build in the future that our crowdfunding preparations are going well.  The Story Mint community is a fantastic story to tell.

When the time comes to go out to the public (we are aiming for July) it would be a perfect time to invite your business colleagues, friends and family to be part of the success story. Then, when we launch the campaign you will be able to play an important part in shaping the future of The Story Mint and stylecheck™  The bigger the crowd the better the chance we have of achieving our funding goal.

And that's very good news for everyone who is part of The Story Mint and wants to see it succeed.
Suraya Dewing, Founder/CEO

Thank you for for sharing this journey. You are truly amazing!
A special welcome to all our new writers. We love having you in our community!
See you next month!
Thank you for being such an important part of the The Story Mint

Latest News

Discussions have been opened up around an opportunity to work with low decile schools. Students in these schools struggle to get access to technology and with that are at risk of being left behind as learning using technology platforms surges ahead.

The Story Mint has been tasked with producing a handbook for a commercial client which gives them guidelines on how to match corporate voice with their branding.


If every author represented in the Anthology bought just one copy to give to a friend or download onto their kindle they will have given writers around the world a sense of being valued! What a tremendous gift! It will also mean that the people who spent many hours preparing it will get the satisfaction of knowing their work did not go to waste.
The Story Mint ran at a significant loss in producing the Anthology. As a consequence, we will have to look hard at how we do this in future.
Those who supported us by editing, compiling and buying copies deserve many rounds of applause and we will not penalise you by never publishing another Anthology but we will make sure it is done in a fairer way so you get rewarded for your efforts. Thank you so much! You are stars!

It is not too late to also be stars. It would take just one book or kindle download to make this look like a worthwhile venture.

What people are saying

Jasmine Groves has just finished her first ever Author only serial. She has this to say about the experience.

NXT Flight is still about 54,000 words short of being a novel, but it was my first go at writing an author-only serial and I am really proud of the 6,500 plus words I wrote.
The concept was easy, a neurotic flight attendant with panic disorder who gets stuck on an island with her flight crew. The first few chapters were quite hard slog and needed lots of revision to get them to a place on  stylecheck™ where I was happy.
But once the characters started to develop the dialogue got easier and so did the storytelling.
It was really exciting to see that I was getting my chapters more naturally onto stylecheck™ and always in a similar place.
I recommend you have a go. It is excellent practice for your future novel.

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

Five day event
The five day event, held in Feilding will feature presentations by successful writers on topics of interest to anyone in the writing world.
Here is a selection of topics:
How to become an award winning novelist, Creating people on the page, What makes a book sell? What professional editors do and why writers need them, The Accidental Travel Writer, Publishing in NZ today and many more.

Iconic writers like like Owen Marshal, Sue McCauley, David Hill, Tony Chapelle and many more will be there.
Certainly worth putting in your diary.

Suraya will be there to demonstrate stylecheck™  on Tuesday 12th September.

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?
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, Suraya 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 stories inspire and make us aim to be the very best storytellers we can be.
Donna McTavish, Serials Manager.

If you have a starter bubbling in the back of your mind write it down and send it to

Serials to Book
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  Cities.
Encounter by Joe Labrum. What is the ball of light filling eleven year old Roland's room. Be great to get this serial on its way. Three 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.
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. The last serial was hugely successful and hilarious. What mischief can Lasiandra get up to? Almost 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.  Four chapters left.

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..

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. Has a storm let our somewhat muddled driving instructor off the hook?
Storm  Angelica is grieving for Dr Nolan and her loss seems to have taken from her all hope until she realises the end of the road is often simply a bend.
Josephine This is turning into a gorgeous historical romance. What will the Maquis do when he discovers his General has Dame Annise Yves d'Aquitaine. This story is is compelling.
Mirror Mirror The next chapter to come
Rest in Peace The Nurse has pricked her finger with the pin and blood is spilt. What come from the seemingly harmless action?
It was a Game Samantha is high and dry in the city and Jeremy will have to come and collect her. What will happen 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 lovely 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 a very good device.

Author only serials
Starting Over This is a new single Author serial by Ray Stone. It is skillfully crafted.  Conflagration has struck Jacksonville and and our narrator is left to 'start over'. It is dramatic and atmospheric.
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.

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
Chapters for 
The Assault go to Anna Zhigareva  E.

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 you would like us to consider, send it to

Up to 500 words and not less than 450 words. 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 may decide to never reveal your writing and that is fine.

There are no new pieces on the Writers' Pad this month. Here are some possible story starters for you to work with.

Some ideas to get you started.

1. Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

2. The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

3. The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

4. Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

6. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

7. The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on it’s way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

8. Dream-catcher: Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

9. Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

10. Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.


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

Chapter Writer winner

Linda Alley's starter, "Liberation" is excellent and deserves recognition as our winning piece of writing this month.
Here is a taste:

Ralph was forty five minutes late. Helen laced her fingers together. It wasn’t as if her brother was the most punctual of men, she reasoned, even before the inevitable wartime delays to public transport.

This sentence captures our attention. Where is her bother? But we also know she is anxious not because we are told but we can see it when she laces her fingers together. Very good.


A chat about books

The Rangitawa Book Club
Support New Zealand authors by joining our Book Club
Subscription NZ$20 per year. This is open to New Zealand and international readers. All our books are by excellent New Zealand authors.
Save up to $18 on the retail price on our trade paperbacks.
Buy any of a selection of our books for $20 each *(gst and post inc)*Normal retail price $25-$38.


Buy a pdf download of any of our books for $12
This will be emailed to you to download to read on your tablet/PC.
For details on how to join please email
Many of our books are listed on the Home Page at  or a full list can be sent on application.

Blogs across the Spectrum

Suraya's blog talks about trying to vary sentence structure and what can sometimes happen.

When hands fly to throats and leap out from pockets.

Have you read sentences that go something like this?

His hand flew out of his pocket and caught the girl’s flying handkerchief. The hand twirled it a couple of times and then pushed it into his top pocket.

At first glance something does not seem quite right but it is hard to figure out exactly what the problem is.

We can see what is happening. The words tell us. A hand flew out of someone’s pocket and grabbed a handkerchief which was also flying about.

When I put it through stylecheck™ the feedback tells me the passage is not working. It needs more description. But why would that be? The information is there?

I wrote this short piece for the purposes of illustrating a point and there are many more examples that are better. However, there is something else that is wrong. The writer has removed the hand from the actor and created a scene that excludes anything around it. As the piece stands, the hand appears to be disengaged and flying about on its own. We are told it is even doing things with a bit of a flourish. This last word raises another point. Flourish is one of those adjectives which needs help. On its own it is hard to imagine what the writer means by flourish. Is it a flick, a swirl or a sweeping action?

I often see both these things when a writer is trying to be creative and this experimentation is to be encouraged. But the writing does need to be clear, visual and also have context. Detached hands are hard to imagine or to take seriously.

Hands usually start waving about when writers try to vary sentence structure and to take a slightly different perspective - the hand's perspective rather than the character's.

When they do this their writing comes out sounding a bit like a parody with limbs flying about the place as an example.

It is an easy mistake to make and one I found myself making in the early days of writing.

So, how to fix it? Simply attach the hand to a body and give character to people so that the hand is acting within a context.

Here’s an example.

Malcolm reached out and caught the girl’s handkerchief which the wind had whipped from her hand. He gave the handkerchief a couple a twirls and pushed it into his top pocket.

“Now come and get it,” he said with an evil grin.

“I would prefer not to,” she replied, her bottom lip quivering.

We recommend the blogs on our website.

Writing Ideas!

Take one word from this stormy mass of words and write 200 words. Give yourself ten minutes to do it in and see what emerges.

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

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