Suraya Dewing's blog

Find Your Voice and Get Published

While we were at the Melbourne Writers Festival I attended a session chaired by a successful Melbourne independent bookseller. He had two publishers, Henry Rosenbloom, founder of Scribe Publishers and still in business after 40 years, and Louise Ryan, Penguin Publishers on the panel. As can be expected they were asked what publishers look for in a manuscript. Both had the same answer. That answer made me sit bolt upright.

Cinematography of the mind

Why do writing experts always advise us to use the writing principle of show don’t tell?

I find that when I am reading a writer who uses show don’t tell I am absorbed and fully engaged with the story. Those stories are the ones I cannot put down.

The reason for this is the language is cinematic and active sentences prevail. There is more detail and description. I am not simply told something happened I am shown what happened and I am part of the action as a reader. Love that feeling.

Tension: a key building block in stories

A major building block in a good story is tension. Tension can be as simple as surprise at the way the writer has shaped a sentence, conjured an image or set up a series of events that create within the reader a curiosity that will not be satisfied until we find the answer to our initial question, why, what or how.

Tension is the key to engaging readers and to keep them turning the pages of your short story, novel or piece of non-fiction.  There is no reason to keep turning the pages if nothing is happening.

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!

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.

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.


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