Sometime in early 2019, I decided I'd had enough breaks from writing. I found an online school claiming to help you write a 50k word novel in six months if you followed their program. I signed up, met some cool people, and started really writing. As it turned out, the classes were crap, but the people I met changed my life.
We started a little writing group on Discord, which we lovingly named, 'Our Cozy Little Writing Group, later changed to OCLWG, and finally Ockelwog. The channel is still up and thriving. If you're looking for a group of people crazy about writing, look there.
Anyway, in 2021, they encouraged me to join Vocal Media. One of our group had found the site and saw they did writing competitions. We thought it would be a good opportunity to get our names out there, so I joined. At the time, I didn't think I would get much out of it.
One of the first challenges I submitted to was the golden locket challenge. Vocal + members were encouraged to write a story, any story, as long as a gold locket was mentioned somewhere in it.
I was excited, to say the least, I had the perfect idea; A dying man wanders the desert with his captor, thinking of the woman he loved and had betrayed. Eventually, the man would realize his captor was an illusion he'd invented to torment himself out of madness and grief.
Not one to toot my own horn, but man I thought that story idea was hot. I set to write it, did some minor edits, and published it on Vocal. I titled it, 'Penitence Lost', and posted it with a picture of a desert shimmering in the sun.
A year later, I was so embarassed by this piece, I asked Vocal to take it down.
Needless to say, the story won no prizes. Ironically, it remains the story with the most reads and likes on my profile, largely because I reached out to just about every family member and friend and begged them to read it. I have good memories of that story, but I'm grateful the folks at Vocal allowed me to take it down.
What was wrong with it? So many things I'd rather not list. Suffice to say it was simply a matter of poor writing. Undeveloped writing, you might say. It wasn't a terrible story, quite the contrary, it was good. I only mean it was bad in the way the story was told.
Taking too many long breaks in between honing your craft can become a huge problem. Writing is an art, and just like any other form of art, it takes constant practice to become a master at it. I mistenly thought I could come back after taking so many breaks and knock it out of the ballpark.
In the last two years, I've grown as a writer. Through reading, yes, and critiquing others I suppose, but mostly through writing. The more we do it, the better we become. Today my writing is tighter, has less fillers, uses more active voice, ect. Who knows what my writing will look like tomorrow.
One of the things I love about Vocal Media is that I have a sort of snap shot of the past. I can easily look back, read past stories and see how my writing has changed, how my writer's voice has developed. It's like watching a child grow. They become better over time, mature.
Maybe someday I'll go back and re-write, 'Penintence Lost', but I think it'll remain buried in the old cloud. Still, it was the start of a journey I hope to never come back from; the journey to become the best author version of me.
About the Creator
Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing in various genres, my favorites being horror/thriller and dark/epic fantasies. I'll also occasionally drop a poem or two.
For a list of all my work, and to connect with me, go to www.kennypenn.com
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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