December Newsletter

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December Newsletter

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The Story Mint Newsletter | December 2014

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Newsletter December 2014

Hi everyone, thank you for following The Story Mint.



This year we look back on some amazing achievements. We have significantly grown our Facebook membership and we look forward to continuing that growth. Through Facebook and other avenues we have a significant group of  members from India and around the world.

We are now exploring how the Style Guide can be used by teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) as a teaching aid. Our serials have really gone exceptionally well. Thanks to the very talented writers participating we now have some amazing stories to read. We recently added Hang Out sessions to give writers and readers a forum to meet and chat online.

Thank you everyone for all you have done to make The Story Mint
a growing global presence.
2015 promises to be an extraordinary year!

Have a wonderful Christmas break and we, at The Story Mint,
wish you all the very best for 2015.


Latest News

At our next Google Hangout Ray and Suraya talk with Azadeh about writing serial chapters. They will also read a favorite chapter. You are invited to join them. Get involved in the discussion and read a favorite chapter of your own. Next Hangout is 8.30pm (NZT), Thursday 11 December.   The readings are edited and posted on You Tube. We hope to see you there!

First step: join Google+ and email Azadeh so she can send you the invite.

What people are saying


Some more warm feedback from one of our users this month.


“After completing my communications degree at Massey University we tested out some pieces of my writing in the style guide. We took a first year excerpt, followed by a third year excerpt and it was clearly evident that my writing had improved. I was pleased as punch to have the positive outcome from the style guide after having put in so much time, effort and money into my studies”. Rose Jowsey


Tell us what you think about our little community of writers and concept, we’d love to hear from you.

Moving forward with...


Massey University  
We demonstrated the Style Guide™ to Professor Paul A Watters from the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology. He was so impressed by its potential he wants to introduce it to his students next year. They will run their work through it before submitting it for marking.


We have had excellent tutoring sessions with NZIE students  who are proving to be great trialists for The Style Guide™,  giving us invaluable feedback  and enthusiastically using it  to further their command on English writing skills.  The information we are collating will be used to underpin the next version of the  Style Guide™ . In the meantime, it is wonderful  to see their confidence grow as they master this  revolutionary learning aid and writing.

NZIE student Zoe (left) with her nephew and sister at Auckland’s Christmas Parade


Our Facebook  members and Likes are growing with an average of 130 a week. The majority of these are from India which is  really exciting!

The latest from India

Our presence in India is growing significantly with member, Tamal Dutta  helping us to further raise awareness of how our services can grow people’s writing skills. Our thanks to Tamal for his planning and leadership.

Thanks also to Iliena Bosu who has offered to help and whose serial starter,  ‘Do You Mind?’ will be set up for booking shortly. This serial will be for India writers only.

A new venture

Did you know that NZ students have to know how to read and write 600 words by the time they are eight years old and that 45% don’t meet that target? They are disadvantaged from that age on. A team from the Story Mint and  a team with engineering and software expertise are joining forces to develop a product to help address  this problem.

What's hot with the Serials? 
The last chapter of The Infection is booked and we’re away on what promises to be a really exciting serial! It is wonderful to welcome back some of our earlier members and to welcome a new member or two.
One last chapter left for Illusion. Kalli  Deschamps ‘ chapter 9 ended with an amazing twist and Azadeh Nafissi says, she has some ideas for writing the last chapter.
Maggie unravels Danny’s history in Maggie and Danny. Now she has to decide whether or not to adopt him.
Cold is described by our editor as having a ‘Dick Tracey’ feel. It has now finished. Great story by Kristin School students.

Write your own serial: If you would like to write a serial from start to finish let us know. We can set you up and we will promote each chapter as you post it!  


For tips on writing the last three chapters of serials please visit our website. Please focus on continuing the story and avoid bringing in new material as there is no time to integrate the story with the previous chapters.

If you have a starter you would like us to consider, send it to our serials manager, Mary-Liz Corbett. They can be up to 500 words long and in any genre except erotica.

Fabulous reading from the Writer's pad Writing board and Christmas decorations

 It is FANTASTIC to see the Writers’ Pad being used by writers who are submitting work in instalments.  Keep it coming!   Dana Cariola’s ‘The Night’s Owl ‘ makes fascinating reading.  Her description of a  rural area peopled with some wonderful and quirky characters is very engaging.

Writing Competition

This month we are sorry to say we had no competition entries. Next month we’ll choose the best serial chapter or post on the Writers’ Pad. However, if you’d like to send in a story (up to 1000 words) on any topic. We’ll judge it with any other stories we receive.

We look forward to announcing a winner next month!   

A chat about books

An interview with Neil Gaiman

Author Neil Gaiman spent some time talking to writers and journalists at a press conference in Paris.

Azadeh Nafissi attended and covered the conference in her two part blog.

Check out what he said about his writing ritual, his experiences with different publishers, editing and his other experiences as a writer.  

Azadeh Nafissi | Screenwriter/Filmmaker (Paris)   


Smoke and Mirrors’ By Neil Gaiman ( Review)

Smoke and Mirrors is one of those rare books in which uncanny incidents are presented convincingly and strangeness is simply embraced by the characters; e.g. the old lady in ‘Chivalry’ finds the Holy Grail in a second hand shop and has a visit from Sir Galahad or the narrator of ‘The Price’ sees the Devil on her porch.

The collection includes short stories and poems in several genres and each piece amazes, scares or surprises. Neil Gaiman acts like a magician throughout the book by taking us to an upside down world in which nothing is as it seems; the norms can change like in ‘Chivalry’ and old stories are retold from different POVs like ‘Snow, Glass, Apples.’ The way that the mysteries are interwoven with ordinary life, intrigues me the most. The line between reality and illusion gets blurred as we step into the realm of fantasy; a type of fantasy which is not far away and might happen exactly when no one expects it like in ‘Troll Bridge’.

This book is a must read if you want to let your imagination run wild and I can assure you that you will read many of the stories more than once.  

5 out of 5 stars

Azadeh Nafissi | Screenwriter/Filmmaker (Paris)

Blog across the Spectrum


Our favorite blogger this month



is a blog that has some inspiring quotes from famous writers. Brian Wasko who runs the blog offers writing tips such as writing tip 28 Learn the Grammar Basics as well a series of blogs on writing.
For example he says, ‘
In defense of the Adverb’ this: ‘My tendency is to be suspicious of any universal rule when it comes to writing. Great writing always seems to defy rules.’

Our writing tips

Some selected tips from writers we know, love and respect

  1. "Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov

  2. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator." — Jonathan Franzen

  3. "Be your own editor/critic. Sympathetic but merciless!" — Joyce Carol Oates

  4. "The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you're allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it's definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I'm not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter." — Neil Gaiman

The Story Mint offers collaborative support from the moment you put your first word on the page to the final full stop. We offer support in the form of advice and practical help. All you need to do is email Raymond. We can also refer you to other writers or suggest resources that have helped other writers in their journey.


Let's share!

Sharing the work that is being done at the Story Mint.


This month we’re sharing via Slideshare a power point presentation which explains how ESL students can find the present version of the Style Guide helpful. That is until we can produce a customized version for ESL users.


If you want to know more about the company, please visit: or for any comments, ideas, suggestions, interest please email:

Writing Meetup this month

Here’s a selection of events, writers and readers could be interested in attending this month:


  1. Rangitawa Publishing are offering a Creative Writing Course for beginner and hobby writers who might be thinking of doing a university or polytech paper. Students learn about developing character, show don’t tell, writing dialogue and plot development. Assignments receive constructive criticism and when completed students receive an overall appraisal of their work. Find out more.
  2. Auckland Writers groups: Find out more information on all writers groups in Auckland. For South Auckland please visit their website.
  3. The Creative Hub has some of NZ’s most successful writers as tutors. Check out their coming course at their Summer Fiction School.
  4. Maximise your Creative Flow  Kingsland Terrace, Kingsland, Auckland is coming in early 2015. A One day Workshop. Perfect for Designers, Filmmakers, Artists, Novelists, Copywriters, Screenwriters, Entrepreneurs... anyone in the creative sector who needs new ideas. Find out more.

Check this website out!

Tim Wynne-Jones is an award winning Canadian writer. His website features some really interesting and fun writing games in his writing tips section. He also has Ten Revision Questions to ask as you revise your work.

Find another website suggestion next month. If you have any you’d like to recommend, we welcome your ideas.

  1. Determination  2. Inspiration 3. Research 4. Imagination 5. Revision
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Our mailing address is: PO Box 453330, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland 0610, New Zealand

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