WattPad is a website where people can post their stories and people can read them for free. For more on WattPad, check out WattPad.
I’m intrigued by the idea of WattPad. I have been for a while. This intrigue has not been mitigated much by the fact that most of what I see on WattPad is YA and fanfiction.
I don’t actually have anything against YA or fanfiction (though fanfiction about real people makes me uncomfortable). I actually think that both of them offer a lot of things that other genres fail to deliver on, but that’s an argument for a different post. Actually, maybe I’ll create drafts of those posts now, so that I actually remember that I wanted to talk about this later on.
So, I’m intrigued by WattPad. I’ve been observing it from a cool, wary distance for a little while now, and I kind of feel like I’ve gotten to the limit of what I can do by just observing. With that fact in mind, I’ve opened an account (actually, opening an account was one of my observation tactics, but I’ve put a title on that account) and intend to post a story.
There are some problems with this, many of them having to do with my own idiosyncrasies as both a writer and a human.
First off, none of the stories that I already have rattling around in my brain are really appropriate for WattPad. I mean, anything can go up on WattPad (with a few limitations), but the readership on WattPad seems to skew younger and lighter than would be interested in my current, fleshed out writing ideas.
I’m also very possessive of these ideas, and have a sort of closed off mentality to them. I’ve always been someone who liked to be finished with something before I handed it over to someone else. By the very nature of this experiment (and it is definitely verging into the territory of the experiment at this point), I’ll be forced to interact with other ideas about my ideas and perhaps incorporate them, to work in increments and put those increments out before all the pieces are complete, and to revise. I don’t know if you know this, but I fucking hate revision.
Anyway, this possessiveness and the inappropriateness of the stories needs to be taken into consideration. I have never attempted to write YA, though I do read it, and I decided that this would be a good opportunity to play with YA. I also didn’t want to repurpose one of my existing stories to make it YA, so I wanted to start from scratch.
I was on a very long road trip today, thinking about my YA problem. I knew I couldn’t avoid darkness completely, because I like darkness. I didn’t want to do paranormal because I have no real feelings about it. I didn’t mind the idea of sci-fi/fantasy, though. We had driven past perhaps a dozen runaway lanes (lanes they put in along the highways so that a big semi truck can get off the road if a tire blows or something else goes horribly wrong, minimizing the damage to human beings), and I got a picture in my head of a book cover with one of those signs for the runaway lane on it. Which I don’t actually like very much, as covers go, but whatever.
When I was a teenager we used to hang out in the woods for a little while in ninth or tenth grade. We’d dragged a couch over from somewhere. I don’t remember what happened when it rained. We probably just didn’t sit on it. Probably not a big loss-I can’t imagine it was a very nice couch.
Anyway, I was thinking about runaway lanes and the weird couch and WattPad. I was thinking about how WattPad lets you interact with your audience, get a read (ha) on what they want from a story and decide to either satisfy those desires or not. And I thought about old school serials, and regular feedback, and whether I was a plotter or a pantser (kind of both, in case you were wondering).
And I decided to go to one of those prompt sites and found this:
The story is about a leader on the run from the law. It starts in a world-spanning nation on a forest planet. The story climaxes with someone visiting a doctor.
It was the first of ten prompts that were generated.
So this is what I’m working with at this point:
- Runaway Lane
- That prompt
- A strong desire to not name anyone in this story “Lane” because that would just be too on the nose for me
Bonus for WattPad, it’s available on all of my devices. I can write a bit on my phone in the morning while I’m on the train, free of the many distractions available to me when I can have eight thousand tabs open (only a slight exaggeration there) on my laptop.
I’ve created the story but haven’t published anything yet (because there is currently nothing to publish), so if you feel an urge to see what I’m babbling about, check here first. Something should be happening there soon, or I’ll be talking about it here…at some point. Maybe.
I’m torn on whether or not to just openly state that this story is an experiment. I don’t think I will. In a sense every story is an experiment, right? Right.
So … anyone on WattPad? How do you find it?
P.S. I was about to add a joke about only naming the character Lane if I decide to write Gilmore Girls fanfiction and was suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of how many fanfics there probably are in the world where Lane runs away from home.
P.P.S. If there aren’t any of those, there should be. You’re missing an opportunity, Gilmore Girls fanfic writers.