Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I Wrote a Thing! Want to Join Me?

Engin Akyurt

Y'all! I've discovered a site for writers that I think some of you may enjoy. It's called VOCAL, and it allows you to publish your fiction or non-fiction story of 600-2000 words--and maybe make a little money, too.

I've posted my first story and would LOVE for you to go read it (and, if you enjoy it, to "heart" it!).  After you've read it, come back here to read the STORY BEHIND THE STORY! 


Many years ago, I wrote a YA dystopian novel called CITY LIMITS--and it's the novel that landed me an agent after 5 years of trying. (Josh Getzler, for those of you who either weren't here yet or didn't remember.) The market was glutted with dystopian, and the book never sold.

Honestly, I'm glad--because it wasn't as strong as it could've been. There are later drafts, but ultimately I had to shelve it. (You all know how that goes!) As most deserted novels tend to do, this one has lived quietly in my heart, occasionally tugging at me in a wistful sort of way.

The other day, my son DMed me a link to a short story contest--for dystopian fiction. Immediately, I thought, "I already have worlds and characters in this genre." (CITY LIMITS is one of several dystopians I've written.) But then I saw this: "CONTEST CLOSES IN 36 HOURS."

"Do I smell a challenge?" thought I.

So I pulled out CITY LIMITS, drew what I needed from the opening scene, and wrote the rest. The best part about this exercise is that I WAS EXCITED AND ENGAGED ALL DAY AS I WORKED ON THIS. I may have even squealed to myself a time or two. 

I haven't felt this way about writing in a long time. I've definitely allowed the pressures of publishing to steal my joy--and that's on me, not the publishing industry. Writing this short story reminded me that I am a writer and that I really do love writing! Sure, it would be great to win the contest--but I'm already walking away with something of so much value: a refreshed writing heart.

If you need an outlet for your writing that will give you a break from your latest WIP and perhaps infuse you with a piece of your writing heart that you may have lost, I encourage you to check out the VOCAL site. There is a free and a paid option (I chose the latter; we'll see in the months ahead if it's worth it) for membership; either way, they pay you per 1000 reads--and you can receive tips from your readers, too!

If you join, please let me know! 

And if you just took the time to read PARIAH--thank you! New ventures always feel like giant steps; I appreciate your support.



  1. Congrats to you for re-finding your writing inspiration and for sharing this with us! :)

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