The Opening Ceremony of the 43rd World Skills international competition

Last night, over 20,000 supporters of competitors from around the world gathered at the Ibirapuera Gymnasium to see their teams march in the opening ceremony of the 43rd Worldskills International competitions.

There was a block of over 20 kiwis in one part of the stadium surrounded by at least 200 Chinese beside and behind us and over 200 Russians in front of us.

As each team marched in, I found myself getting quite emotional. These young people represented the best of the best in the world and NZ was among them.

A haka encore at a school in Sao Paulo

World Skills New Zealand

The environment

The Facilities at the international World Skills Competition

World Skills New Zealand

Up-date Number 5

Daily up-dates on the World Skills New Zealand (WSNZ) team’s experience as representatives of 15 trades at the World Skills competitions in Sao Paulo. Seventy four countries are competing in 49 skill categories.

World Skills New Zealand

Up-date Number 5


A tour of the facilities

A Trip To Rio de Janiero

From August 6-19 Suraya is travelling to Brazil, with her husband Bruce, to the world competition for Trades Apprentices (Worldskills NZ). Bruce Howat is the CEO and Suraya Dewing is reposnible for press coverage of the event.

Competiors have to be no older than twenty three years old when they enter.

Each day, as part of this trip Suraya is posting daily reports for Worldskills New Zealand which they are distributing through their media and social media networks. These will also be posted on The Story Mint's social media and website.

Lessons we learn as we write

I am enjoying working with our writers from India. There are many reasons for this. I remember how I was when I started…when I thought writing was easy, until I tried to give it to other people to read and they told me truthfully, what they thought of it.

I recall some very painful moments throughout that process. But they were turning points. They made me work on my writing until I feel confident that what I write is worth reading.

Quiet please - don't say a word

I just finished a re-edit of one of my books and was given some sound advice on a whole list of things that agents are looking for in order to reject your work. Don’t get me wrong. They are still looking for that book that will be a gem. It is much easier, though, to look for pet hates. If they’re there, it normally means a one liner rejection note.

So what is it they are looking for on the hate list? I’ll pick a few.

Ever heard of a writer’s crutch?

How do we give a character personality?

I was working with a writer this week and I asked him to add details to a character so that it became more recognisable. I often find that writers assume we know their character simply through what they say.

Russian Writers

Recently, a writing tips page pointed out the importance of reading Russian authors if you want to become a skilled writer.

Are loose ends in a story ok?

Does every story need to be neatly tied up with every loose end accounted for? In her blog ‘Loose ends in a story’, KM Weiland talks about this and it makes very good reading.

It also set me to thinking about my own storytelling. The serials have taught me to write more open ended stories. As I pondered the question of whether all stories need to be neatly tied up, I realised they do not. Life does not come in neatly tied packages, so why should stories?


One thing the serials reveal immediately is change in tense. If one chapter is in the past tense and the next in present it stands out and causes the reader to pause to figure out what is going on. It can be quite confusing.

We all have writing challenges. Mine is where to put the commas. Other people try too hard to be clever instead of letting the story tell itself. Others struggle with tense.


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