September 2019

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September 2019
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The Story Mint is a vibrant and inspirational community of writers who celebrate one another's successes. 



This month we are delighted to introduce you to Blair Stevenson, a Story Mint member and writer.

Blair used Stylefit™ to write his business book, Game On. He says that Stylefit™
made the book a much better product and also helped him to work out a value proposition and elevator pitch - both essential for a successful book launch - and we wanted to share his wonderful story with all of our members. So, over to Blair ....

"After 20 years of thinking about it, followed by a solid year of work, I finally achieved one of my top three bucket list items – the publication of my first book. Titled, “Game On: How to increase sales, productivity and customer experience by turning your managers into High-Performance Coaches’, I self-published the book at the end of August this year.

One of the reasons I was able to achieve this was the use of Stylefit™. Let me explain…

I’ve long wanted to write a business book describing the methodology I use to help companies increase sales, productivity and customer experience in an easily understood way. I didn’t want to write any old business book, but one that readers would become engrossed in and felt compelled to finish. Unfortunately, most business books can’t be said to be an exciting read.

After some testing of my target market, I decided to write a business parable. A 22,000-word fictional story that shares lessons that are relevant to the world of business. Several books of this genre have become New York Times bestsellers, including ‘The One Minute Manager’, ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ and ‘Fish!’.

However, writing a business book in story form proved to be more challenging than I’d anticipated. Fortunately, I’d worked with Bruce Howat in the past. He introduced me to his wife, Suraya, who provided me with access to The Story Mint and Stylefit™. I played around with Stylefit™ off and on over two years, during which time I still lacked a total commitment to writing the book. At the time, I thought Stylefit™ was a useful tool but nothing more.

That all changed when I finally dedicated blocks of time to writing. Thinking it would be a good idea to check where on the Stylefit™ grid my writing fell, I soon discovered it fell nowhere. I was off the chart! I wasn’t helped by not knowing an adverb if I stumbled over it. Speaking of which, with some adverb stuffing, I discovered my writing fell far below the centre of the grid. I must have missed a lot of writing lessons at primary school.

The works of Ernest Hemmingway, Grahame Greene and John Le Carre have always appealed to me. I’ll never be a Hemingway but I decided to have a crack at writing in the style of Le Carre, Dan Brown and P.D. James. Cue trips to my local public library to pick up stacks of their books to pore over to get a feel for their writing style.

Now being more aware of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs and the use of language by great writers, I slowly worked my way up the grid. Eventually, most chapters in Game On fell close to where I wanted.

The result is a story that is very easy to read. I’m astonished I’ve written it. I’m not that good a writer, having devoted almost no time in my life to sharpening my writing skills. I’m not the only person who thinks the story is an easy and compelling read. Many others, including the editor – who ought to know what he’s talking about – have made similar comments.

I could never have written the book I’ve always wanted to write without the help of Stylefit™. It is much more than a useful tool. It’s a unique online writing coach that can help anyone become a good writer, even a great one."

Thank you Blair .... your story is inspiring. We wish you huge success with Game On.

We have four good reads for you this month. We'll start with The Spirit of Pythagoras.

Chapter 2 by Hemali Ajmera, a mysterious tale set in the blazing sunshine of Greece. Here's what Suraya had to say about Hemali's chapter:

"Ooh what a lovely way to end this chapter Hemali. You've tied it back to the title (double play on Spirit and on Pythagoras) and kept to the theme. No wonder she fainted. And I love the piece of philosophy at the end. That also was a clever way to tie in the title. Great work Hemali."

Anna Zhigareva and Raymond Stone have given us two wonderful new chapters for our 1000 word serial Ripped from the Headlines. This is a very well crafted story so head over to The Story Mint and check it out.

And finally for this month, Hemali has written chapter 3 of Truth or Lie.  The dialogue in this chapter is detailed and very well thought out and shows the moods and tensions in all the characters. Here is an example from Hemali's chapter.

"She looked back and saw a panting Tom trying to catch up with her. 

“Why did you leave?”

Agatha didn’t answer.

“Look, I am not lying, my parents are. Believe me, I need help.”

Agatha continued to ignore Tom. What was the truth…………. or the lie? She couldn’t decipher. 

This story has too many shades of grey so better stay out, cautioned Agatha’s inner voice.

Tom had now caught up with Agatha and stood before her, blocking her path. 

“Melanie is a devil. She has ruined our lives. You saw how lavishly she lives while my father and I struggle to survive.” 

Tugging Agatha to a nearby bench, Tom almost fell to her feet.

“Please get me out, otherwise that witch will kill me. She beats me every day and my father won’t say a word.” 

Tom lifted his shirt to show Agatha the still red, raw belt marks on his back.    

And that's all for this month. Once again, thank you for your support, and happy writing.

The Story Mint team


"A book is a dream you hold in your hand." Neil Gaiman.


Grab some quiet time and enjoy reading some clever, entertaining writing.

The Spirit of Pythagoras
Chapter 2 by Hemali Ajmera (India)
Ripped from the Headlines
Chapter3 by Anna Zhigareva (Scotland)
Ripped from the Headlines
Chapter 4 by Ray Stone (Cyprus)
Truth or Lie
Chapter 3 by Hemali Ajmera (India)
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
Book Reviews
Review of ‘Angry Silence’
by Ray Stone

Suraya Dewing (reviewer)

This is a beautifully presented book with some outstanding photographs taken by Ray Stone. These illustrate the poems and other pieces of prose that reflect on life. Ray is a talented writer and we see this talent shine through in poems like Night-time Blues.
 A seam of irony runs through pieces like Hold Me Close Tonight when you realise Raymond is having a laugh at himself for trying to romance Sophia with his rotten poem’.
News from Eire documents the story of two American women (Thelma and Louise) on the loose in Ireland. It is a hilarious account of their evading Garda, driving erratically along railway lines and mounting roundabouts.

He includes a piece by guest writer, Joseph Labrum. Seattle Christmas takes the reader into the world of Scott, a man living rough. Joseph’s empathy for Scott is summed up by the last line, “Scott greeted Christmas morning carrying his backpack and sleeping bag, in search of a doorway to shelter him from the drifting snow.” There is surely nothing lonelier than a Christmas in winter spent alone.

The notes from the author that accompany each piece add an extra dimension and insight into him.
The book is a heart-warming, superbly presented set of reflections on life. It showcases Ray Stone’s talent as a writer, poet, song-writer and photographer.

Membership News

Writing Tips

  1. Show don’t tell. Don’t tell your reader the full moon is shining. Show how it affects the scene. Although it was midnight the bright moon lit the village as if it was day, causing lamp posts to cast dark replicas of themselves along the footpath. Villagers milled about, heartily greeting each other as if this was normal and they were just out shopping.
  2. Try to use all the senses – smell, touch, taste, sight, feel.
  3. If writing speech keep it short…no long speeches.
  4. Describe detail that matters to the story or essay.
  5. Concise, clear, relevant is better than flowery and fancy because it seems good.
  6. Focus on detail that adds to the story. Avoid sweeping generalisations such as the land on the banks of the Nile is muddy. Why is it muddy, how does it get muddy, are there some times when it is muddier than others, the banks look like? Remember that whatever you write has to be interesting. Otherwise the reader will not keep going.
  7. Capture the reader with an engaging opening sentence that leads on to expand in your essay, story.
  8. Follow sentence structure – Subject (who or what), Verb (action,) Adverb (how-not every time), Object (where, what, who).
  9. Use alliteration to add rhythm – seething, sibilant sea.
  10. Vary the length of your sentences and the combination of word groups.
  11. Watch that you don’t change tense if you are dealing with the same time period – past, present, future.
  12. If you are using one tense to tell a story but want to shift to another time in history, change the tense.

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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