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Fantastical Vocal Favorites Vol. IV

Supporting Passionate and Talented Writers on Vocal!

By Amanda StarksPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 6 min read
Top Story - June 2024
Illustration by Jom Plang from Jom Plang's Images. Edited with Canva assets.

Welcome back everyone to a very special volume of Fantastical Vocal Favorites! Before choosing the pieces to be featured on FVF, I like to think of a theme or 'vibe' I want to shoot for so that all stories picked fit with each other in some way shape or form.

This time around, I realized that while picking genres or themes is cool, why not showcase advice driven articles about the craft of writing created by members of our community? It can be hard to catch the ones that don't make it to the front page so I figured I'd take it upon myself to dig through my liked stories and search for those hidden gems!

As a reminder, here is how FVF works: I will choose four published stories per volume and give in-depth thoughts as to why these stories are so great ( and why you should read them ) and then I will be gifting a $5 bonus to each of those writers as a way to pay it forward and show my support.

Please note that if you don't have a stripe account or some other payment method attached to your Vocal account I cannot tip you. :(

I will be doing my best to avoid popular stories, top stories, and contest winners with more than 10 likes. This isn't a hard or fast rule - more like a guideline!

I will also never promote my own work on these articles, as I want the spotlight to be on the writers featured here!

And, as a special bonus, I also bought one e-book per author from the ones who had a link. I hope you will join me in supporting our fellow writers!

So without further ado, let's get into Vol. IV!


Advice for All Things Writing

With You Like It Darker set to hit shelves this week, it's a good time to be reminded of what we can learn from the author of many well-loved novels such as The Shining, Misery, and Cujo.

I've been following Elise for some time now, peeking in to see what new advice article she's shared for the week. She's got over 300 published stories and many are advice articles, which is a huge boon to author's on the platform looking for some direction.

From simple hacks to be more productive, to more in-depth looks into the taxing journey of novel writing, Elise will probably have an article for whatever question you have about the craft!

And if you are worried about her credentials, here is what her profile says:

Elise is a full-time writing coach and novelist. She is a recent college graduate from Southern New Hampshire University where she earned her BA in Creative Writing.

While writing is subjective by nature, I can confirm that a lot of her advice is solid and well-known or researched. The article above, especially, as observing successful authors is a great way to learn new writing habits!

Learning to Be Brave

So my message to you, reader, is to do that silly little thing that your brain wants you to do. Even if it's scary. Even if it feels impossible. Because the sun feels so good on your face on a day like today.

You might be familiar with Bri Craig from her multiple challenge placements or her incredible short story turned novella The Wailings. She's been on the platform since 2021, and lately has been making quite a splash onto the platform with her journey to establishing herself as an independent author.

I can't say enough how much you can learn from other author's experiences, especially those who are walking the path you yourself want to pursue. With this particular article, Bri takes us on a wild ride of creative passion and ingenuity, showing us that YES, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO!

I find her articles on her work to be very inspirational, and an amazing window into the potential our work here on Vocal has for our careers. For someone to jump head first into the publishing world it takes a lot of bravery, and it's clear Bri has it in spades!

Bri Craig (she/her) is a variety pack writer. She enjoys writing poetry, webcomic features, humor, short stories, and personal anecdotes. Basically, neither of us will ever know what will be posted next!

Please join me in congratulating her, and seriously consider supporting her by buying her new poetry book! It's only a few dollars and it's worth every penny!

Learning to Look Back...on Looking Back!

My point is that you should write the sort of stories you’d enjoy instead of worrying about what the market wants. Market trends change, and though a genre may be “hot” at the moment, if it’s not a subject matter that inspires you, that lack of enthusiasm will inevitably come through in your writing.

Honestly, this article could be considered a humor piece as current Stephen A. Roddewig comments on past Stephen's article with a voice I am learning to seriously love.

Stephen is another vocalist who has been on the platform since 2021, but it's only recently I found him through his reviews of other vocal writers published works. From there, it was an easy trip down the Stephen rabbit hole.

This article in particular I read quite recently and I immediately wanted to put it on this issue of FVF. Not only is it an incredible source of advice, but it is done in a very conversational, humorous, and open matter that - even with some of the advice not fitting with my capabilities as someone with chronic conditions - comes across as very reasonable!

And you can definitely trust his advice. Not only is he a member of the Horror Writers Association ( SO COOL ), but he has this on his profile:

I am an award-winning author from Arlington, Virginia. Started with short stories, moved to novels.

Stephen has one of his books out too! Consider giving him some support by checking out his book: A Bloody Business. The e-book version is only a few dollars!!

The Power of the Written Word

Because words are a tonic. A remedy. They heal people.

I'm going to be completely forthcoming and admit that I just found em while writing this issue of FVF thanks to her top story hitting the front page of Vocal.

I usually like to promote writers I'm more familiar with just so I know that when I promote them that I am supporting someone who embodies the spirit of FVF. But, I think I can say with confidence that em - from the few articles I've read alone - fits right in with my top favorite writers on vocal.

There were several contenders for this spot, but after reading this article I could not ignore it. Not only does em write advice articles about how to write, but they also tie it in with with making positive change.

And I have to add, em has a very fun and unique writer's voice that I am quickly becoming addicted to. I think they could talk to me about particle physics and I'd be enchanted.

It’s not like a writer can stroll into the ER, read a couple chapters of The Fourth Wing and suddenly everybody’s back to full health again (I mean, that would work on me). Right? We writers can’t help people in the most literal sense — so how can we?

Em has been on the platform since 2018 ( just like me!! <3 ) and has written a little over 100 stories on the platform. I highly recommend that if you are looking for a writer to not only brighten your day but enlighten it, then you should go subscribe to em!

I’m a writer, a storyteller, a lunatic. I imagine in a parallel universe I might be a caricaturist or a botanist or somewhere asleep on the moon — but here, I am a writer, turning moments into multiverses and making homes out of them.

End of Vol. IV

And there you have it, four fantastical favorites from Vocal that have made an impact on my reading journey. I hope this encourages others with spare money in their pockets to support their favorite creators financially, as every dollar not only helps the author but encourages them to continue writing with us on Vocal and beyond!

I hope you will consider giving these pieces a read, a like, and leaving a comment if you have the time! Let's boost these talented creators!

Don't Miss Out on Previous Volumes!


About the Creator

Amanda Starks

Lover of the dark, fantastical, and heart-wrenching. Fantasy writer, poet, and hopefully soon-to-be novelist who wants to create safe spaces to talk about mental health. Subscribe to my free newsletter at www.amandastarks.com for updates!

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Comments (9)

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Christy Munsonabout a month ago

    Congratulations on Top Story. 🥳 I so love what you're doing with this and the previous articles in which you celebrate and acknowledge other Vocal writers. Wonderful idea!!! I have a Welcome article in which (at the end) I offer links to writers I enjoy reading and supporting. But I think I might lean into your idea to give their writing even more page time (so to speak).

  • Some great shares here

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a month ago

    How have I missed you? I will do my best to get caught up. Great work and encouragement Congratulations on your top story

  • emabout a month ago

    Amanda, you are a STARK and blindingly brilliant being. You have made my entire day and elongated it into this realm of writerly loveliness with stacks of books and tall oak trees and a quaint little bench where I’m sat, waiting for you to join me so I can tell you how epic I think you are. Forget subscriber, you’re my writerly best friend. I am gonna dive into your incredible stories like they’re an ocean of ink because reading this alone has only highlighted how spectacular you are. Thank you so much for this; I am honoured. And this alone kind of emphasised my point in that piece of how to wield our worlds. In me doing so — I found you (well, you found me and I couldn’t be more thankful!) let’s talk all things stories whenever you can 🫶🏻

  • Bri Craigabout a month ago

    This is such a cool initiative and way to highlight vocal creators! I'm so honored to be included in the lineup! 🥰

  • Stephen A. Roddewigabout a month ago

    Wow, thank you so much for the in-depth feature, the tip, and the e-book purchase! Incredibly generous and deeply, deeply appreciated. And glad you enjoyed that unique approach to commentary. Some of the 2024 asides made me chuckle when I was rereading it earlier. As I said in that intro, I expected to take that content and update it—only to discover it was just as on point now despite all my experience since 2021. Which then left me asking "Well... now what?" And "Looking Back on 'Looking Back'" was the end result 😁

  • Judey Kalchik about a month ago

    Awesome- I have found two new folks to follow!

  • Sweileh 888about a month ago

    Interesting and delicious content, keep posting more.

Amanda StarksWritten by Amanda Starks

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