What do you ask yourself before you start writing?


Once there were times when I faced a deadline without taking time to think about what I wanted to say, or how I would say it, I started writing. It’s a natural reflex when under pressure. I remember a journalist friend saying of another, ‘He interviews his typewriter then records its words of wisdom.’

He was, of course, being sarcastic. I had to work with the other journalist as well and I must say I agreed with my friend who always researched his articles thoroughly and interviewed the right people to get both sides of the story . . . comment and counter-comment.

Logo’s and Brand

There’s an interesting discussion underway at our place around The Story Mint’s logo. I have discovered no one likes the existing one, despite the fact that we went through a rigorous consultative process before settling on it. Back then, over two years ago we were determined to settle on a brand that represented who we are.

However, since then we have found it is extremely difficult to work with on the website and for making videos. It is complicated and I now think, it is trying to say too much.

Telling Stories on video

This week I have been writing a script for a video. The development of the script has called on my time as a director for Television New Zealand in the Children’s department. Back then, we shot short clips for insertion into the daily half-hour programme called Play School. I directed the short films - and they were shot on film - then I directed the studio based programme when it was recorded.

I loved the experience and was sorry when it ended.

Questions to ask as you write.

I was once told by a writing instructor that the last thing you want a reader to say as he or she reads is, ‘so what’? I then began paying attention to every sentence I wrote and I found that a lot of the material I wrote fell into the ‘so what’ category. It appeared not to be relevant to the story. Often they were asides giving my opinion.

Being an entrepreneur

I admire entrepreneurs because they fill their minds with interesting thoughts. They are too busy to see fault in others. They have no time to idly chat about the weather (that is unless it affects their project) and other humdrum matters. They have no room in their emotional lives for despondency or self-pity. They have no time to waste. So they get on with using each waking minute to pursue their dreams.

A Writing Journey

My personal writing journey is one of shelves.

It began when I was 8 and I wrote a story about two monkeys, Banana and Peanut. They had escaped from the zoo and got up to all sorts of mischief. When I read it to him, my father laughed out loud and said, ‘we should try to get that published.’

Then the routine of farm life got in the way and launching my writing career was shelved.

That became my life’s theme. I would get some space in my ‘real’ life and write a novel and it would get shelved when the business of earning money became a priority.

Drawing Characters

People come in layers, so do characters.

They are like icosahedrons. When we meet someone we may think we are seeing the entire person, but what we really get are those bits of the person that he or she decides (consciously or unconsciously) are relevant. The reason for this is that we are complex with many parts to us and who we are in one situation is not who we are in another. So, as well as being complex we are adaptable.

When businesses fail

When I had been at the ecentre for 9 months Sabrina put a cartoon on the cafeteria fridge which signalled the danger periods for a start up. The first was six months, the next a year then 18 months. I remember being extremely relieved as we passed each milestone. As I ticked them off I felt the business was becoming more stable and solid. But now I realise that yes, there are probably points in a business’ development that make it more vulnerable than other times. But those periods never stop coming. There is no magic point that guarantees a business’ survival.

Stephen King On Writing

I have wanted to read Stephen King’s book on writing for a very long time. If someone can write with his success then what they have to say about the craft of writing must be worth listening to.  What finally prompted me was I am reading Bag of Bones and as I read it I keep wondering what he is doing that compels me to turn the pages. I am just past the first 100 or so pages so the story is only now beginning to take shape.


The Story Mint is more than a group of aspiring writers gathering to share the words we write. As time has gone on, we have come to respect each other’s talent and to enjoy each other’s company, sending banter across the internet.

I realise I am incredibly lucky to have the friends I do. They are loyal and supportive. I hope I am the same to them. All my life I have tended to have just a few friends . . . but they are people I am close to and whose qualities I admire.


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