Step 4: Create Your First Story

It’s time to start storytelling.

By Vocal TeamPublished 4 years ago 3 min read

You’ve set up your new Vocal account—now it’s time to get creative.

Click “Create Story” on the upper right hand corner to begin a new story; or, if you're creating on your phone, click your avatar and select “Create Story.”

First things first: Your story needs a title.

To add a title, type it into the top of your draft where you see the ‘Title’ placeholder, and save your changes. Your title should be catchy, but also informative and concise enough to make it clear what the story is about.

Your story’s subtitle does a bit of the same—it should expand upon and support your title in some way, but it’s also a good place to throw in some extra creativity, humor or wordplay. Be sure you don’t skip over the subtitle; you won’t be able to submit your story without one!

Next, add a featured image or video.

In the placeholder box underneath the Title/Subtitle, you’ll see an option to Add an Image or Add a Video. To add an image, you can either click the image option and upload an eligible JPG, GIF, or PNG from your computer, or drag and drop the file into your draft. To add a featured video, click the video option and paste in the URL of the video and hit enter.

Our recommended size for the featured image is 1920px wide x 1200px tall—but as long as the image you’ve chosen comes from one of the sites on our list of favorite high-res stock photo sources, it will be large and high quality enough to make a great featured. You’re free to use a personal image if you’d rather; just know that our moderation team won’t accept images that are low resolution or copyrighted, or have borders or watermarks.

Now it’s time to start creating.

Below the Featured Image, you’ll see “Start writing…” This is the fun part—just be sure that you’re familiar with all of Vocal’s Community Guidelines before you get started.

A good story is equal parts creativity and structure. We’re all about playing around with formatting and styles, but it helps to start with a simple outline and build out from there so that your story will be readable and simple enough for readers to navigate.

Make your story more engaging by adding photos, products, videos, podcasts, and more. You can learn more about the types of media you can embed in Vocal here.

We recommend breaking up your story every 350-400 words or so to help in scrolling on mobile, increasing the chances people will read through the whole story.

Don’t ignore subheadings, either. Subheadings help organize your story and provide a nice shorthand for your readers to skim, or help them find their place again should they get sidetracked.

Edit and revise

The option to submit your story for review will be hidden until all the required fields in your draft are filled. Once you have a title, subtitle, featured media, and text content, and have saved all your recent changes, the Submit for Review button will become available to you.

Before submitting, we always recommend reading over your story. It's always best to be sure that you’re totally happy with your draft before you press submit.

When you’re ready, click the Submit for Review button, select the community you feel your story fits best, choose a few tags that you feel are most applicable, and choose to submit it to a Challenge if it's applicable. Then, complete the submission.

Congratulations! You’ve submitted your first story. Our moderation team will review the story within 24 hours, and if it meets all of our community guidelines, they’ll publish it on the most applicable community. If there are any edits that are needed before it can be published, they’ll send it back to you and let you know where it could use a little love. Then you’re able to make the edits and resubmit for review.

But once your story is published, what comes next?

Step 5: Promote Your Story →

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Reader insights

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You have potential. Keep practicing and don’t give up!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  5. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (11)

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  • Cat Leigh2 months ago

    So is there no minimum word requirement anymore??

  • Amanda Rue3 months ago

    Is anyone else bummed that they took away some of the editing features? They used to allow you to reposition your images on the far right, center, or far left and have the text wrapped around the image. Now all images are only front and center.

  • how do i add multiple tags at the end? it only lets me choose one

  • Paula C. Henderson9 months ago

    I am trying to find the minimum words requirement.

  • Jeff Bonano10 months ago

    I'm seeing that there are still people who aren't seeing that 24 hour turnaround time. It seems it's still happening, including me (haha I'm still waiting too). Might I suggest that the team at vocal update this article to say 4-5 business days or however long it actually is taking, just so there isn't any further confusion.

  • Four days my story has been languishing in approval limbo. Any update as to why/when it will be resolved?

  • Gisella La Croix 11 months ago

    How long before my story is approved? its been THREE days yet when I check my submitted it still says it was submitted a day ago

  • James·Gill11 months ago

    Enter the content under the picture, and you have the title, subtitle, and picture. Then click save, and the number of words in the content will be zero. After returning and re entering the draft, the content is cleared. How to solve this problem?

  • Koda11 months ago

    How long should it normally take for your stories to be reviewed? It says here they look at it in 24 hours, but so far they haven't gotten back to me in 2 days.

  • Gibbles12 months ago

    What if I don't see "Start Writing..." under the picture? I am able to type in a space under the picture but it doesn't register my word count nor does it save.

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