February Newsletter 2020

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February Newsletter 2020

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The Story Mint is a vibrant and
inspirational community of writers who celebrate one another's successes. 


Welcome to the February newsletter.
We have some great serial chapters for you this month (see below) but first, some thoughts on feedback. It's the life force for any writer, right? We might not always like what we hear but we need feedback to open our eyes to possible flaws in our writing that we can't see ourselves.  

At The Story Mint we know that feedback from our peers is a precious gift and we encourage all of our members to take the time to offer their thoughts on chapters as they are published in the Serials section of the website but, to be honest, this does not happen as often as we would like.

With this in mind, recently, two of our most experienced writers started something new with the view to encourage members to provide feedback.  

Lady Sump’s Bentley is a serial with chapters written alternately by  two writers, Ant Gavin Smits and Ray Stone. Each of the writers provides a strong critique of the previous chapter (which, incidentally, fits on the Stylefit™ grid). Their feedback to each other is encouraging and positive but most importantly, it is specific and that is what makes it so valuable.

We hope that you all be inspired to leave feedback the next time you read one of the serials.

Perseverance is as important as talent and craftsmanship. 
Dean Koontz


We are happy to see some of the serials picking up some momentum this month, and delighted to share the most recently published chapters with you.

Deception is a story you will recognise. Here's a clue ... there is a man called Guy Fawkes! Chapter 7 is now published and here's a taster ....

"In the dim light from the few small windows along the top of the wall he poured a trail of gunpowder over and around the stacked barrels and out through the passageway through the cellar of the house to the far wall near the door to the outside. He returned to the barrels to watch and wait for the signal but then suddenly, he heard the sound of rusty hinges and footsteps."

Waterfalls .... a crime scene, a mysterious painting (or paintings?) and some well written characters make this a very enjoyable read. And check out the great examples of giving and receiving feedback between writers.

"Karen cut the string and discarded layers of brown paper and cardboard packing onto the floor.

“Art?” She looked down at the painting. Minimalist or modernism or something, she guessed. A few splashes of colour within a large frame. She liked abstract.

Tim pointed to the blank wall across the room. We’ve talked about getting something for there, and I thought you’d like this. I hope you do.”

“Funny you should buy me art,” she said. “It’s all I’ve been thinking about this week. What’s it called?”

“Waterfall,” said Tim, proud trophy hunter."

Two Weddings and a Funeral is  The Story Mint's first serial created by our writers in India. The story is infused with Indian culture and perspective. Here is some feedback on the most recent chapter (chapter 8) from Suraya.

"This is a good chapter, very readable and a good pace. I loved the reveal that the scream was engineered. The abduction could have had just a bit more tension in it. I also liked the description of Hemant and the twist that he was not what he seemed. Very good."

Chapter 7 by Joe Labrum (USA)
Two Weddings and a Funeral
Chapter 8 by Sameer Nagarajan (Dubai)
Chapter 8 by Ant Gavin Smits (Samos)
Lady Sump's Bentley
by Ant Gavin Smits (Samos)
Lady Sump's Bentley
Chapter 1 by Ray Stone (Cyprus)
Lady Sump's Bentley 
Chapter 2 Ant Gavin Smits (Samos)
Who to send your starters and chapters to:
If you have a starter send it to: suraya@thestorymint.com
If you've written a chapter send it to donnamct@gmail.com
Book Reviews
National Art Gallery 
by Shmavon Azatyan (Australia)
Review by Suraya Dewing (NZ)

National Art Gallery is, at first glance, about an embittered art critic struggling to hold on to the past. But there are many levels to this novella. At another level, it is about a nation struggling to find its cultural identity after centuries of oppression. It is also about people’s relationships and how easy it is to sabotage them. Above all, this beautifully crafted story Is an account of what happens to individuals when they fail to adapt to a new environment. We all have a choice to embrace the future or cling to the past. Gerald does the former and pays a heavy price. 

Gerald, its main character, is so well crafted the reader empathises with his struggle while not liking him very much. He treats Ida, his one loyal supporter, with indifference and deserves what comes. His relationships with artists also start to break down. “…art is always a by-product of political and economic forces,” (34) says Hrach, an artist and ‘friend’ of Gerald.

Hrach has reached a point in his artistic career where his views are tempered by pragmatism. He sells his art overseas because no-one buys his work locally. He makes a good living bypassing the local market. He makes the fact he does not fit into the new cultural scene in Yerevan work in his favour. He is one of the artists coming to terms with the new Armenian sensibility shaping the modern cultural landscape. Some of the expression is naïve and poorly executed. However, there is an emerging brilliance that Gerald fails to see because he is looking back not forward. An abstract piece of art featuring a toilet captures the essence of Gerald’s view of Yerevan’s modern contemporary art. 

The story opens with Gerald debating whether to go to the exhibition held by the Contemporary Experimental Arts (CEA) exhibition and deciding he won’t go because Armenian art has completely lost its way. Gerald, an art critic, is incensed by the breakdown in artistic standards since Armenian independence. But this novella of 38 pages is really a metaphor for the way change happens in society and how culture adapts and shifts. 

Gerald’s relationship with Ida is a very clever juxtaposition of two relationships – his relationship with art and his lover. Both seem superficial. He is not an artist so cannot relate to it as an artist does. This is pointed out, but he arrogantly dismisses this criticism. The role of the art critic is “truly significant” (11), he says.

I won’t spoil the ending except to say that it reflects Gerald’s lack of self-awareness and analysis of the world around him. 

National Art Gallery by Shmavon Azatyan is a profoundly insightful novella that follows the fortunes of a turbulent country that has suffered disempowerment and cultural upheaval under a succession of foreign invaders. It deserves to be read many times in order for the reader to pick up the many nuances woven throughout the novella. 


Membership News
A writing competition members  might be interested in entering. From winningwriters.com/

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)

Now in its 19th year, this contest seeks today's best humor poems. No fee to enter. Submit published or unpublished work. $2,250 in prizes.


  • First Prize: $1,000 plus a two-year gift certificate from our co-sponsor, Duotrope (a $100 value)
  • Second Prize: $250
  • Honorable Mentions: 10 awards of $100 each
  • Top 12 entries published online
  • Enter via Submittable

No fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer Ledoux. Length limit: 250 lines maximum. No restriction on age of author. Authors from all countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US government restrictions). The results of our 19th contest will be announced on August 15, 2020.

Membership Benefits
As a member you get these great membership benefits.
We edit manuscripts for members and prepare them for publication. We also publish and promote their books on social media.

Unlimited use of Stylefit™, a writing edge you will get nowhere else.
  • Belong to an international writing community
  • Your writing promoted to over 25,000 online readers when you write a serial chapter
  • Have one of more of your chapters published in our Anthology, Everyone Has a Story
  • Special member rates for editing, assessment and personalised feedback on individual pieces of writing
  • Promotion to agents/publishers
  • Workshops

To join, go to membership
Happy writing!

Join The Story Mint and book to write a chapter in one of
our many serials, use Stylefit™ and meet other writers.
The first 10 memberships will receive a FREE assessment
of a piece of writing (up to 20,000 words)

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