September 2017 Newsletter

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September 2017 Newsletter
The Story Mint Newsletter | September 2017
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Welcome to our September newsletter.
We are currently refreshing our website in line with invaluable feedback received internationally from our members.  We are planning to refine and improve our online position and the benefits of our service for you. Please contact us if we can be of assistance in any way.

A great team of people have helped to put this newsletter together, Donna, Jasmine and Rosemary. Thank you everyone!

Manawatu Writers Festival
It was such a privilege to be at this really successful inaugural Festival. It was  wonderful to see so many writers and to listen to their writing stories. Suraya presented on Stylefit and was thrilled to have Jasmine support her with a discussion on how writing serials has given her confidence as a writer. Over forty people attended the seminar which was fantastic. Jasmine gives her impressions in an article further on. Jill Darragh of Rangitawa Publishing introduced Suraya and promoted our Anthology, Everyone has a Story.

McLeods Booksellers
Last week, Suraya signed copies of Bend with the Wind to a small but appreciative group. The exercise was really valuable in that we gained insights into how to do this better. As we learn about this kind of marketing we plan to share the lessons. You may find the information helpful for your own book marketing.

South Africa Edutech/Work 2.0 Conference
On 3-4 October Suraya and Sumanda Maritz are at the Edutech Conference and Work 2.0 conferences. Over 5300 from around the world are expected to attend.

This is now completed and it is fantastic! We'll announce the link once the people who so generously took part in it have seen it. Those generous members were Hemali, Anna, Sameer, Donna and Western Heights School, Auckland.

Winning chapter writer
Congratulations to our winning chapter writer this month. Ray Stone has just completed an Author only serial, Starting Over. It is brilliant!

Thank you for being such an important part of the The Story Mint

Best wishes and Happy, successful writing
Suraya, CEO

Latest News

Manawau Writers Festival
by Jasmine Groves

September saw the first 'Manawatu Writers Festival' take place in Feilding. The festival ran over several days and was well supported. Speakers came from every walk of life, from authors, publishers and those choosing to self-publish.

The final day saw Suraya present on the wonderful growth of 'The Story Mint' community, and how this forum is a great place of support for all levels of writer. She also spoke about how the serials work and the role Stylefit plays in this.

The audience quickly had questions about Stylefit and how it can help their writing, both creatively and professionally.

Jasmine Groves also talked to the group about The Story Mint community and how much her writing has grown in the three years she has been a member.

It is brilliant to see so many similar minds coming together for a festival like this, and The Story Mint would like to personally acknowledge the organisers and thank the participants for bringing it all together.

You can check out The Story Mint here
You can check out The Manawatu Writers Festival here.

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

What people are saying

To me, The Story Mint is a way for anyone, and by that I do mean any person, confident or shy, rich or poor, experienced or not, to have their voice heard by a brilliant community of writers, editors and publishers. Not just heard, but also appreciated. The Story Mint has created such a supportive environment for me personally, given me the most motivating and useful feedback, and supported me throughout my ongoing journey as a starting writer. Most importantly, it has given me the hope to keep going, keep trying, keep developing, listening to others, getting myself more involved in the world of The Story Mint and the incredible opportunities it brings.
Anna Zhigareva, Scotland.

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...


Stylefit is at Edutech and Work 2.0 Conference, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa


Edutech is Africa's largest EdTech Expo with over 3,000 visitors. Work 2.0 which focuses on technology in the workplace will have 100 spreakers, 1500 visitors and 300 delegates representing organizations from around the world.
We are presenting a half hour seminar on Stylefit
and have an amazing stand in the exhibition hall.

Writing Workshops, for writers globally
We now offer writing workshops using Stylefit via email and SKYPE. These workshops can be for any writing genre. However, we have discovered they work really well for report writing. We are offering a FREE short introductory session and then The Story Mint charges $150 per hour after that.
This service is only available to members.

Tell us your stories
What is your writing goal? Let us know.


What's been happening in the Serials this month? 

One of the things that is so wonderful about the Serials is the variety of stories that are told. This month, four very different serials have new chapters but each one is a stunning piece of writing. I hope you'll take some time to read them all. 

Donna McTavish, Serials Manager, NZ.

New chapters this month 

Time Travel is, as its title suggests, a story set in several very different times. George begins his story in London in the late 1800s, and has been catapulted into the swinging sixties, and then into the palace of King George III and we're still only in chapter 5. Five more chapters left to see where he lands next.
It Was A Game is a story with colourful characters, mystery and intrigue. Chapter 3 builds the backstory in an elegant and interesting way and leaves the door wide open for the next writer to spin some magic.
d.a.d.s. is a most unusual serial. It's funny and emotional and angsty as only a story about relationships can be. The most recent chapter is delicate and touching and very very real.
Lawn market is a gritty serial set in Edinburgh and the chapter published this month adds richness and momentum to the story.

And finally this month we celebrate the completion of a story written entirely by one of our mot experienced writers, Ray Stone. Ray has crafted an apocalyptic tale set in Florida, USA which is an excellent example of how to create (and maintain) the strong voice of a main character. Well done Ray, it's a great read.
We are still in need of a few writers to book a chapter in the Serials listed below so we can get them started. Pop over to our website and take a closer look ...
Liberation by Linda Alley is set in war time London. A man feigning a limp picks up an umbrella and retrieves a piece of paper. There is some fabulous detail like a French copy of A Tale of Two  Cities. Three chapters to book.
Nestor, Lester and Esther by Ken Burns. Does their Dad really like the new teacher? Four chapters to book.
Crack in the Ceiling by Iliena Bosu. Now, why is it important that we know that the narrator likes milky tea? Let your imaginations run wild. Seven chapters to book.
NXT Flight by Jasmine Groves. The last serial was hugely successful and hilarious. What mischief can Lasiandra get up to? Four chapters to book.
Welcome to Halloween by Rosemary Wakelin. We'd love to see this serial filled with vampires and goblins and horrible children and parents. It could be soooo spooky! Three chapters to book.
Retribution 2 by Jasmine Groves. This has the makings of a Game of Thrones. If writers really get into it we could make it into a longer story.  Three chapters to book.

If you write a serial chapter you are giving future readers of your writing an opportunity to read your work and to follow you like a beacon into the night.

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.

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


Ray completed the final chapter of his story Starting Over this month. It's no small undertaking to write all ten chapters of a serial by yourself but Ray has managed this in a very short period of time and has kept the thread of this story tightly drawn throughout. If you're looking for entertainment, lots of imagination and a touch of suspense this is a short story for you.

A chat about books

Review of
Tears of Rangi - Experiments Across Worlds
by Anne Salmond
A book review by Suraya Dewing

This is a book I’m reviewing for Flaxroots Productions
What an extraordinary privilege it is to review this marvellous book.
When Maori and Pakeha first came into contact with each other they held diametrically opposed philosophical positions.
The Missionaries had an embedded belief system that revolved around a single God as well as a belief that people controlled the world and all in it. This conviction, arising from Genesis, gave them the right to tame natural resources. As kaitiaki (guardians) Maori lived in harmony with the land. It could never be owned, so when land was alienated they were surprised that it had gone out of Maori control forever. This is simplifying her position and people should read the book in order to fully understand the case she is making.
Maori cosmology of many Gods juxtaposed with that of one Christian God also made misunderstandings inevitable.   Those early differences in world view continue to impact on race relations today. Dame Anne Salmond explains how this plays out.
I was intrigued by her explanations around the practice of cannibalism. While the reasons she outlined made sense I have to admit to recoiling from the thought. However, I am glad she dealt with it openly. Often it is used as an excuse for the way Missionaries set about ‘civilising’ Maori. It was a bold move on Dame Anne Salmond’s part to go into this topic in depth. However, unless we face these undercurrents and bring them to the surface they will continue to influence attitudes.
Her book explains why such terrible misunderstandings occurred when settlers swarmed into New Zealand, courtesy of the New Zealand Company.
The ground was laid for the inevitable Land Wars that followed the signing of the 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi). I also found myself deeply stirred by admiration for the dogged determination Maori have shown over the years to have injustices and misunderstandings rectified. Nevertheless, there has been a huge social cost which we continue to pay.
But Anne Salmond does not leave it there which is wonderful because she takes those early contact confusions and explains how they have impacted on Maori – Pakeha relationships today.
As I read, I found myself almost exalting. At last someone had the courage to dig deeply into the metaphysical influences that drive Pakeha and Maori actions.
It is never too late to start listening to each perspective and from there agree on a way forward. Anne Salmond’s book shines a light on the path we could each take.
Auckland University Press
Available in all Bookshops

Blogs across the Spectrum

We recommend the blogs on our website.

Expressing Character’s Emotions: ANGER
by Rosemary Wakelin

Part One.
When I’m writing, I continually look for new ways to describe the emotions my characters feel. I have to. Too often, I rely on the true and tested examples, something I now call ‘My First Draft Apathies’.  Many times, they are clichés and if not clichés, ones I tend to overuse.
Thank goodness for the internet. [I swear I am going to acknowledge Google in my next book.] Moving on….
Let’s take ANGER as an example. A common emotion expressed by many characters in many books.
‘First Draft Apathy’ version? I was angry and stamped my foot. [Okay, I hear you. We can all do better than that. Still, just an example.]
‘Second Draft with More Consideration’ version?
Well, let’s look at that with… um… more consideration.
This is probably a good place to mention the importance of being unique when expressing parts of your character’s behaviours and feelings. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek alternatives.
The secret is not to copy them [very bad thing to do] but allow them to inspire your own.
Back to Anger. [Like a true author, at times I waffle.]
According to ‘Writers Write’ and their article ‘37-ways-to-write-about-anger’*, capturing the true sense of a character’s anger involves making their motivations clear to readers.
“When we write about angry characters, we should remember that there is always something behind this emotion. Anger is usually a surface emotion. It is a reaction to an underlying problem.”
Some motivations could include:
  • Frustration
  • Hurt
  • Anxiety
  • Embarrassment
  • Rejection
       ‘Writer’s write’ also states that as human beings, we generally express anger either passively or aggressively. Seriously something to consider when describing your character’s anger.
Are they ordinarily passive or aggressive in nature?
Do their actions and thoughts match their nature?    
       OR… [I love this bit]     
     Has an event in their life changed them from passive to aggressive or visa versa?     And how has that change affected their thoughts and behaviours?
      Food for thought, don’t you think? [Yes, I am cringing at yet another cliché.]
      Now, I’m guessing you’d like some examples of how anger can be expressed, passively or aggressively. [Remember, they are guides only for you to adapt to far better ones.]
Don’t get angry!
All will be revealed in Part 2.



Read other blogs at

Writing Tips!

Learn how to hook your readers from the first page of your novel.
  1. Don't start talking about the weather. ...
  2. Draw your readers' attention. ...
  3. Put something in motion. ...
  4. Use short paragraphs and direct sentences. ...
  5. Set the time and space coordinates. ...
  6. Specify the rules. ...
  7. Leave the backstory for later. ...
  8. Learn from the best.

Liternauts - How to Write the First Paragraphs of Your Novel


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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