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Lighting learning fires

 

                                Lighting fires

 

Fires burned in the hearts of students from Room 26 of Matipo School this week and it was exciting to witness. We were giving the stylecheck a trial run in the class to see if it could make writing more fun for students.

Their teacher arranged the 25 students into teams of two or three and asked them to write what they liked about Matipo School.

Writing winning stories

Alex Keegan says in his article writing winning stories that writing for competitions is a way to increase your output, and this is true. This is one positive outcome of not winning. Winning is a bonus!

And who of us doesn’t want to win? Yes, we all do!

Mastering the art of writing serial chapters

During a discussion with Suraya, she explained to me what the benefits are for writers that take part in the serials:
  • An ability to be concise
  • Improved research skills – very important
  • Skilled writing, because you become clear about what you want to say and know you have no room to waffle
  • An understanding of point of view and how to write from a character’s point of view
  • Understanding of tenses and how to keep it consistent
  • The skill of keeping a consistent point of view

Storytelling is a country’s backbone

Stories build nations, organisations and families. They shape our national character and reveal the heart of an organisation.

Stories surround us and those stories give our lives meaning.

Over the years, there has been a  lot of conjecture about whether the world will be taken over by machines; some have even suggested that the time will come when Artificial Intelligence runs the world and people will be redundant. This is the stuff of science fiction but there are those who believe that science fiction predicts the future. And there is evidence to support that.

Simplicity is the key to good reading

When writers start out, they frequently try to write in ways that will show off their skill with words. They employ a number of techniques such as unexplained twists at the end, or introduce new features that don’t really add anything to the story. This often leads to complicated story lines and characters who are portrayed in one way but behave in the opposite way.

For example, a writer may describe a character as reserved and then several pages on have him or her jumping about at a party showing off his or her karaoke skills. Reserved? Hmmm, not really.

Less is more

I know, as writers, we have heard this principle many times and in the early days I struggled to understand just what people meant by it. In time,I learnt to look out for long rambling sentences, saying the same in two or more different ways or using a word many times because I have just fallen in love with it.

I have come across several examples of this recently.

The writer of a book I have just finished clearly fell in love with the word ‘uxorious’. Sometimes writers use these words to show the rest of us how much she/he knows and how little we know.

How to create a believable character

No matter what genre you are writing in, you will have to create characters that populate your story. Creating characters might sound easy, give them a name and carry on with the story, right? Ever read a story where the character seems like a cardboard cut-out? Or seems erratic in his/her behaviour? The main reason this happens is because the character wasn’t created ahead of the story.

Show Don't Tell

We have new writers joining us at The Story Mint and it is wonderful to see the variety of talent and approaches these writers take to their writing. Our role at The Story Mint is to encourage and guide with helpful feedback that comments on what they did well and how they can add value to what they have written.

Choosing tense and point of view

Before we finally decide a piece of writing is completed, it is important to look at how well the tense and point of view support the story. This applies equally to fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes it helps to experiment and see how each affects the way the story comes across.

Less Words more Feeling

Have you ever thought how writing serial chapters is preparing you for that step toward the moment you decide you are going to write a novel? There are several Story Mint writers who have and are going through that experience now. Roseyn is the latest author to do so. Her book has just been launched, following on the heels of Suraya’s novel and mine. Past and present members Enos Russel, Mat Clarke, and Annette Connor are also published. There are two more members in the process of writing novels or non-fiction books. So how does writing serial chapters prepare us for the big step?

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