My Art and Self-Publishing Adventure
My name is Kingsley, and I’ve been on a journey through Art and Self-publishing. It led me to Wattpad aka land of the pre-teen amazons. Dear God in heaven help me.
When I began this series, I said “As part of my adventure looking into the world of art and self-publishing I got to meet some very peculiar individuals; a swearing chef with a taste for art, a break dancing fox, a secret society I happen to stumble across which turned out to be a humble writers group, a class of super eager creative writing third year university students, an evil ‘Artificial Intelligence’ which builds websites, an Avengers type group of writers working on a seasonal magazine, I discover New Amazon-a multitude of probably 8 million fan girls and I embark upon a challenging league of writers scribbling to the death…”
Chapter 4 : I discover New Amazon aka Wattpad
Wattpad is like a sophisticated megaphone with all the trimmings. It’s got that brilliant shiny handle, it has a rubber sheath to keep your grip firm, the mouth of the megaphone is wide and durable, the speaker is loud and not fuzzy at all, giving off a crisp sound and the decibels it can churn out are impressive. However, the megaphone has dropped into the hands of the toddler who is far from eloquent (unlike his English teacher of a father) and is about to slobber all over the mouth controls. We can all guess what happens when the toddler starts wailing through the megaphone – earaches. What am I saying? I’m saying a certain demographic, namely teens and pre-teens have flooded the plains of Wattpad mercilessly with fan-fiction of One Direction, Harry Styles and Twilight. They have the megaphone and they are wailing – loudly!
This isn’t Wattpad’s doing, it’s just something that’s taken place, it’s become the natural order of things. Not to scare you away from the site as a mature reader or writer, I’m simply warning you of the bushes and weeds you’ll have to hack through in that Amazon forest in order to discover a book well written. I don’t mind fan-fiction, I for one have several ways to end a Doctor Who episode or tweak a romantic comedy, but if it’s going to be done, it has to be done with art and skill. A certain respect needs to be given to the craft of writing. My lecturers always said we had to learn the rules before we could break them. It seems many of these writers have skipped this valuable lesson. As an older writer I’d advise the oldies to stay on Wattpad, don’t be put off, this is a rare opportunity to lend your knowledge and actually help some of these teens write well, some of them can actually take constructive criticism.
Stay, and help them improve; we were young once and made abhorrent messes of grammar. Sometimes I still do. It’s summed up simply by the blogger and Wattpad user Michael Graeme.
One thing I’ve noticed reading through the material on Wattpad is that there’s a lot of stuff written, I’m guessing, by young teens – a lot of young romance stuff, vampire stuff, and fan-fiction, set in scenarios familiar to young teens – i.e. school or college. I don’t think this is a deliberate policy of Wattpad’s – it’s just that this particular demographic finds the service attractive, has moved in on it and is making good use of it.
However, if you’re an older writer like me, you tend to be writing for older people and I’m not sure you’re going to be finding many of them hanging around on Wattpad. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I’m both heartened and surprised to discover so many youngsters writing creatively. I’m just hesitant to endorse it as a viable market – even a non-paying one – for the older writer. It strikes me that your biggest audience on here is going to be on the young side, and I’m not sure if those young ‘uns will take to stories with characters who have wrinkles and stretchmarks.
So to end this commentary of my experience thus far on Wattpad, I think it’s fitting I leave you with the comment I left on his article which reads thus,
I’ve seriously enjoyed this article you have no idea…or perhaps you do?
Afterall, you all seemed to have survived the zombie apocalypse that is One-Friggin-Direction-Blooming-Twilight-Fan-Frickin-Fiction…and that’s putting it in dainty gibberish in order not to swear.
On one hand, you have 1 writer who has completely captivated me with an original tale with no stupid sparkly counterfeit vampires and no blokes and chicks hooking up in the most unlikely and unrealistic of circumstances.
On the other hand you have every variation of fan-fiction imaginable. They could use this to torture people into giving up top secrets. It’s that cringe worthy.
Yet I came across one particular story so good, so well edited and structured that I was half way through the book before the bloke and the chick were about to do the deed and the bloke was revealed to look VERY much like ‘HARRY-for goodness sake-styles.’
Needless to say, I closed that book very quickly. It was like one of those nightmares where everyone has the same face and they’re all your evil aunt trying to force feed you books you don’t want to read. So in a weird way, I’m thanking One Direction and bloody Twilight (excuse the stupid pun) for encouraging teenagers (and pre-teens) to write so much, even if it’s not so well.
Practice and all that jazz.
We can rest assured that the next generation of girls will be so sick of boy bands and warped monster mythology that they’ll start writing Die Hard fan-fiction…no? Well a bloke can dream can’t he?
But hey, even that would have to be written well to get my vote.
That’s all that counts after all…