November Newsletter 2017

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November Newsletter 2017
The Story Mint Newsletter | November 2017
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Welcome to our November newsletter.
Benefits of The Story Mint
  • Belong to a reliable, supportive community of writers and readers across the globe
  • Connect, work collaboratively with, and be inspired by like-minded, highly motivated colleagues
  • Receive instant confidential and independent online writing style analysis
  • Keep up to date with emerging writing trends, techniques and also best practices
  • Achieve excellence using our ongoing professional editorial mentoring prior to publishing

Serial Starters
We could do with some more serial starters so why not have a go at writing one. They are 500 words, introduce the story and the characters and then you hand the baton on. They are a lot of fun.

A Joint Venture Writers Workshop in Melbourne Next Year.
One of our earliest members, Mat Clarke has established a group called The World Writers Collective. We recently caught up and are planning a joint Writers Workshop on 3-4 September 2018 in Melbourne. This will follow on from the Melbourne Writers Festival which runs from 24 August to 2 September 2018. It is your event so tell us what topics or activities you are interested in. We will spend some time giving you tips on using Stylefit.

Winning chapter writer
Joe Labrum wrote this month's winning chapter with his fantastic first chapter for 'Encounter'. I almost believe in extraterrestrial visitors. Remember, I did say 'almost'. Great chapter. Congratulations Joe!

How do you write 'happy' into a story?
Kurt Vonnegut's once pitilessly advised writers to make their characters suffer. This was so that readers could see what they were made of. However, why not occasionally give the reader and the character some light relief?
So what do you do when you want the reader to catch a breath or two. Rosemary Wakelin gives us some very useful tips on how to describe a character's happier moments.

The Story Mint is rocking so keep in touch, keep reading and sharing your fantastically engaging stories.

Best wishes and happy, successful writing
Suraya, CEO

Latest News
Look what happens when two members meet in Dubai
Recently Hemali Ajmera met with Sameer Nagarajan.
She has this to say about their meeting.

It's so wonderful that because of The Story Mint we have the opportunity to meet a familiar name (who then becomes a familiar face) from so many countries around the world.
Hopefully one day all the authors will get the chance to meet up and share their experiences!

Well, we were inspired by Hemali and Sameer meeting up and are planning to hold our first Writers Workshop in Melbourne on 3-4 September 2018.

Stylefit breaks down learning barriers
Stylefit has shown that it can break down barriers to learning to write. Teachers we have talked to all say that learners they have struggled to engage in writing are transformed by Stylefit.

Digital Technolgies in a 'strengthened' New Zealand curriculum
Recent announcements from the New Zealand Department of Education state that schools will be 'strengthening digital technologies learning' in schools in 2018. The worldwide demand for skilled people in an increasingly digital economy far outstrips the skills supply. New Zealand's technology industry partners state there are significant opportunities to better compete in a global marketplace.

We sincerely hope you will remain with us and help us grow our great community further.


What people are saying

Greetings from New Zealand.
I prevaricated for 10 years before writing my first novel, hiding behind excuses like I needed to do a creative writing course, needed to find the time and the money etc.
No more excuses. I’ve just published my second novel and the third is taunting me every day. It will be written in 2018.
As a new novelist, I need to develop my writing style. I want to feel connected to a body of like-minded authors who can encourage and support me. In addition, I feel I’m living a charmed life and want to give something back, maybe help others to get writing.  I’ve found it a truly cathartic experience and much better for you than medication.
I’m excited about joining The Story Mint and working with you all. I’m hopeful that Stylefit can help me along the journey and inspire me to improve.

Andrew Harris, Faithful Hound Media   

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

Tell us what you think

Moving forward with...


A Writing Workshop that is all about You!
The Story Mint and The World Writers Collective are joining forces to create a Writers Workshop on 3-4 September in Melbourne at the Wharf Hotel on the beautiful Yarra River.
This exciting event is all about you!

The Wharf Hotel

We want you to leave inspired and excited about writing. You'd probably welcome some time working with Stylefit. We have some tips for getting the most out of this unique technology.

Remember this is YOUR workshop and we want you to get the most out of it  so please suggest topics.
Here are some possibilities: Writing Games; What Has the Brave New World of Publishing Delivered?; Who are your Readers? and ...
Well, you fill in the gaps.

Send your ideas to either Suraya or Mat.

The World Writers Collective is excited to join with The Story Mint in running a writers event like no other where we will delve deeply into the nuts and bolts of writing. Exploring the way you write in comparison to established published authors has amazing benefits and can help you realise where you fit within your chosen genre, style, or chosen art. Get involved regardless of your experience. We look forward to working with you.

Mat Clarke

Earlybird investment (closes 1 March) : $300 for financial members, $450 for non-members.

To book your place contact Suraya by Email - and she will send you a registration form with all the details in it.
Please Note: We need a minimum of 25 registrations.



What's been happening in the Serials this month? 

It must be the time of year when writers write! A number of serials have new chapters this month and we have a new serial too. Lots to read (and admire).

Donna McTavish, Serials Manager, NZ.

New chapters this month 

Chapter 7 has been added to Time Travel, filling in some backstory and leaving us wondering where on earth George will choose to time travel to. Where would you go?

The new serial started last month, Encounter, has a new chapter and it's a thriller, cleverly crafted to leave the door wide open for the next writer.

The peaceful scene in a cafe in our serial Sirens is about to change. This chapter adds a layer of menace that is chilling and I can't wait to see what the next writer makes of it.

Sweetness is a new serial this month by Ken Burns. Ken has also written the first chapter, giving a firm platform for the next writer to build on. This serial is a nice example of how to create interest and humour from everyday events. 

Thank you to all the writers who signed up for new chapters last month. There are still opportunities with four serials in the booking phase. Don't miss out!

Who to send your starters and chapters to:
If you have a starter send it to:
If you've written a chapter send it to

If we are to consider a serial for the next Anthology each writer needs to:
1. Make sure the chapters follow logically.
2. Make sure the chapter lands on the stylecheck
3. Make sure the chapter leaves the story open for the next writer to follow a thread. The last chapter is the only exception.

If you have a starter, send it to We will consider a starter in any genre (except erotica) between 450 - 500 words. 


Fabulous reading from the Writers' Pad

Remember, you choose when to publish your work. In the meantime, you can store your writing on the Writers' Pad . To make it public you tick the publish box.

A Reluctant Celebrity by Andrew Harris is an interview between the protagonist of his Novel A Litany of Good Intentions and a journalist, Matthew Cox. It is a clever device that had one member believing that Dr. Hannah Sierkowski's Klinkenhammer Foundation for Medical Research  was real.
See if you can spot when he realised Dr. Hannah Sierkowski and Mathew Cox were fictional.

Confessions of an Eternal Optimist also makes great reading because we discover things about our global society we have probably never thought about. How about this fact - 40% of the world's population does not have proper sanitation. Why is this allowed to continue? Millions of dollars are spent on projects like sending people to the moon while many diseases would be eradicated if people had proper sanitation.
And the counter argument to this is...?

Use the Writers' Pad to test reaction to your story when you are ready to share it with the public.
We don't edit these stories but please remember our policy of no erotica.


This month's Chapter Writer winner, is...

Joe wrote the starter for Encounter and he continues the story in the first chapter of this story about a visit by a strangely lit object in the sky.

Here is a piece from Chapter 1 of Encounter.
Occasionally he would look up from his writing, push his wire-frame glasses up the bridge of his nose and brush the thinning white hair back over the growing bald spot on his crown.
This kind of characterization is why we decided Joe was our winner for this month. It is vivid and the reader gains a lot of insight into the character based on what he does. Another feature which makes it a winner is that it belongs in the story and the writer did not step outside the narrative to describe the character. Another writer might have approached it in this way: The doctor was an elderly man with wire-frame glasses etc.


A chat about books

A Litany of Good Intentions
By Andrew Harris
Reviewed by Suraya Dewing
There were times when I became so absorbed in this novel that I forgot I was reading a story rather than living it. Such are Andrew Harris’ storytelling skills. He is a truly talented writer who knows how to draw  readers into his world and hold them there.
He weaves a complex tale that begins with exploring how the lack of adequate sanitation creates a cycle of poverty in countries like India. He also explores what might happen if somebody created a system that broke this cycle by providing sanitation or free electricity. But there is a counter contention - organisations that do good also need poverty to justify their existence.
The novel’s premise is that science focuses on exploring complex and expensive issues like investigating how the world began while forgetting to pay attention to solving everyday problems.
He also provides a context for the story and its characters by creating a back story for its key protagonist, Dr. Nisha Patel as well as a believable back story for its antagonist, Dieter Blindt.
Nisha ably captures the novel’s thesis when she says to a packed auditorium, “Science is not a political weapon to control people and resources (511). But as she speaks a mysterious woman makes her way to the stage…
This woman is, in fact, the Choirmaster in disguise, a shadowy figure that slips in and out of ethically and legally questionable activities. He is wealthy and has a skilfully managed profile as one of the world’s greatest philanthropists.
Apart from Nisha there are other fascinating characters. Dr. Hannah Siekierkowski, for example, who is the manager of a New York Medical Research Unit. She is a world authority on chronic diseases such as diabetes which are reaching epidemic proportions in third world countries. She recently appointed her partner, Lawrence McGlynn as Head of Diabetes Research and together they solve the mystery of Okki's suicide. Rotarian Toby Stanton and daughter Okki also play a key part in the story.
And thrillers need a murder or two and there are those. However, they are not there gratuitously. They form an important part in the plot
Locations act as metaphors for the dichotomy this novel explores, that of good versus evil.
I recommend A Litany of Good Intentions. It is an absorbing and entertaining read leaving the reader with plenty to think about afterwards.

Available from Amazon: £12.99

NZ$20 with $1 going to Save Our Sisters, a shelter organised through the Rotary Club of Mumbai Necklace to help rehabilitate survivors of trafficking and prostitution.

Blogs across the Spectrum

Three writing tips that will never let you down
by Suraya Dewing

When we observe the following three rules for writing, many other sins are forgiven.
So what are those rules?

  1. Make your reader care in your opening paragraph.
  2. Never give your reader a reason to say, ‘so what?’
  3. Make sure that everything in your piece is relevant and adds to the story.
So let’s deal with each of these points individually.
  1. Make your reader care or curious in your opening paragraph.
A reader who cares continues reading...Read on
by Andrew Harris
In this blog Andrew asserts that 'fiction allows the big questions to be asked' and for solutions to be posited and through this encourage debate. He also talks about his first of three novels The C Clef This novel explores a horror not one of us wants to face. That of being diagnosed with Cancer. He poses the question: do we somehow create the conditions for cancer to invade our bodies.
I wonder now if he might have drawn an inference between the two conditions – cancer and depression - had he known.
What do you think?
Girl on a Beam of Light
by Andrew Harris
Albert Einstein is an iconic figure. This blog explores his personal life and reveals his flaws, secrets and loves. This provides the backdrop to Andrew's novel A Litany of Good Intentions. The blog demonstrates the importance of research and how good research informs good storytelling. At times it is hard to tell where truth ends and story begins.  


We thought this was so good it was worth reminding you about Rosemary's excellent blog.
by Rosemary Wakelin
Check out Rosemary's blog on expressing character's anger. If you ever get stuck for writing  about this emotion you will find this blog very helpful indeed.

We recommend the blogs on our website.

Writing Tips!

Expressing happiness in fictional characters
by Rosemary Wakelin

I researched this topic quite a bit and was amazed to discover something that you and I probably already know.

They want them miserable, in turmoil, in fear, in pain and so on. Otherwise, the story would be boring.
However, heaven help you authors if:
If your main character isn't happy by the end of your novel.
It’s a tough gig, writing a novel.

When are your characters ALLOWED to be happy?

  • At the end of the book – obviously
  • If it provides momentary relief to readers, especially from your overly life-threatened and unstable main character.
  • If they are side characters that live annoyingly, perfect lives just to remind ‘main character’ how wretched their own life is. In my book, Forgotten, my main character Claudia, has such a person as her Best Friend (BF), Mel. Mel is always well intentioned, and continually full of advice as she lives her model life; she even makes me dry-retch.

Truly happy characters:

  • Are happy – the current buzzword – GRATEFUL.
  • They don’t hold a grudge.
  • They are generous and giving.
  • They don’t need outward affirmations.
  • They are confident with who they are.
  • They have the ability to gladly do nothing… on their own.
  • Or enjoy their personal hobbies. Again, on their own.

So, how do we SHOW happiness in characters?
I'm sure you have many ideas; here’s just a few that you may already know or may stimulate better ones.
 [NB: From what I read, keeping it simple is preferred. Over-elaborating is tedious and syrupy. Get the feeling readers don’t like that.]

  • Lines fan from their eyes
  • Corners of mouth turned upwards
  • Bounce in their step
  • Being breathless
  • Skipping, dancing, whistling, feeling light and alive
  • Words tumble from their mouth, incoherent
  • Take stairs two at a time.
  • Shout, whoop, weep tears of joy
  • Movements are fluid
  • Displaying a courteous nature
  • Tapping fingers as if to music
  • Warmth spreads through their chests
  • Possess a sense of lightness in their body
  • They notice the small things eg smelling the roses –don’t use that hackneyed cliché – but you get what I mean
  • Being at ease with the world

Will leave you ‘happy’ authors with your ‘happy’ characters. Enjoy.

Ackerman and Puglisi The Emotion Thesaurus. Publisher Createspace; Publication City/Country Scotts Valley, CA, United States of America, 2012.


If you have any websites you’d like to recommend send us the link

Writing Meetup this month

International Writers Groups
New Zealand
New Delhi

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