10 Reasons to Write Wattpad Serial Fiction

Why Should you Write Serial Fiction on Wattpad?

Have you thought about writing serial fiction on Wattpad? I have used Wattpad to conquer writer’s block and overcome my ongoing fear of rejection. Before I started posting stories on this platform, I had multiple drawers full of short stories and novels which I had not submitted anywhere. Wattpad was the perfect place for me to get my work in front of an audience without facing rejection.

Maaja Wentz Wattpad rankings

The Wattpad Effect

Since posting my supernatural mystery/thriller Feeding Frenzy, I have had my story “featured,” won a Watty award, and I have been asked to do readings and to speak on panels at conventions. Knowing there is an audience for writing like mine encourages me to write and submit more pieces for paying markets. As a result, I currently have poems accepted for publication and short stories submitted and awaiting acceptance or rejection. Editors can accept or reject them but Wattpad experience has melted the hard frost that immobilized me. Sending off a story doesn’t freeze me in my tracks me anymore. This change in attitude could not have happened if I didn’t dare myself to post one novel chapter per week on Wattpad. Once you can do that, submitting a short story seems easy. Posting a novel as you write it is like a tightrope walk without a net. The secret is knowing which circus to join and where to lay your rope.

Posting a novel as you write it is like a tightrope walk without a net.

Writing on Wattpad is a high-wire act.
Writing on Wattpad is a high-wire act.

Join the Right Circus

There is no more positive platform on the Internet for writers at any stage of their career, but especially for those just getting started. If you know a teen who wants to be a writer, direct them to Wattpad. Learning to write live, in front of an appreciative audience, is a fast and motivating teacher. That said, Wattpad works for adults as well. Here are ten reasons why Wattpad might work for you.

10 Reasons to Write Serial Fiction on Wattpad

  1. For writers in the early stages of their careers, Wattpad is a great sandbox to experiment in and find new readers. The platform divides stories into genres and categories and uses similar search dynamics to Amazon or Google so story creation has readership and discoverability baked into the platform.
  2. Readers far outnumber writers on Wattpad which has over 45 million members worldwide. This community spends a collective 15 billion minutes per month reading and interacting on the Wattpad platform. My story, Feeding Frenzy, has over 110 000 reads as of today’s date (2016-12-18) and this number rises every week. Writers in the most popular genres, like romance, can reach multiple millions of reads.
  3. Wattpad readers are part of a social network. They love to interact with their favorite writers, vote for stories, and add them to their libraries. Readers also make comments about individual chapters. If readers choose to follow a writer, they receive email alerts in their inbox about book updates and any messages the writer posts to his/her Wattpad author page.
  4. Wattpad provides precise analytics about who is reading your story (sex, age, country of origin) in the form of attractive, easy to interpret graphics. For example, I know that my new dystopian science fiction novel, Girl Cyborg, is being read by men as well as women, while my zany supernatural mystery thriller, Feeding Frenzy, attracts a mostly female audience.

    Countries where Wattpad readers are enjoying Feeding Frenzy
    Countries where Wattpad readers are enjoying Feeding Frenzy
  5. Having readers who expect regular updates is the perfect kick in the pants to keep project momentum. Writing on speculation without a deadline can be both lonely and frustrating. Writing for Wattpad readers is the opposite. Not only do your followers and readers on Wattpad look forward to your story, but they also make positive comments which help keep you going.
  6. Everything you post on Wattpad is done for free. Although the platform is interested in finding ways to monetize readership and give some of that money back to authors, there is a certain allure to writing something purely to entertain other people without commercial pressures. You can write under a pen name if you want to remain anonymous, as many people do.
  7. Wattpad is a digital medium popular with millennials who are less materialistic and more idealistic, with a desire to be part of something important. Writing stories on Wattpad is akin to the maker movement on an international scale. On Wattpad, you can express your creativity without needing to please publishing gatekeepers like agents and editors. This free platform allows you to instantly publish story chapters as they are written. Other members of the community may offer to provide related graphics, a cover, or even a book trailer if they love your work.
  8. Published authors can use Wattpad to increase sales. One proven tactic is to take a book which is already available for purchase on the e-book stores, and then begin releasing one chapter per week on Wattpad. Avid readers who want to get to the end of the book faster can click on a buy link posted by the author. For more on this strategy, watch my interview with romance and fantasy author, Linda Poitevin.
  9. Rankings, awards, and the opportunity to get your story “featured,” are exciting incentives to work harder and reach new readers. They are also incentives to hone your craft, polish your stories, and make them more engaging. On Wattpad, the most compelling and compulsive read wins. Whether you write literary fiction or genre fiction, or something more experimental, adding page-turner techniques to your toolkit can make you a better writer.
  10. Writing is an interactive art and Wattpad provides an audience from day one. It’s very romantic to imagine the tortured artist in a garret writing pure art based on Platonic ideals. Sometimes this is how writers are depicted in movies. For me, writing just for myself would be like acting in an empty theatre. Creating art without sharing is rehearsal, an essential part of writing that comes before sharing your work with others. Only an audience can say if your work is having the effect you intended.

Writing for Wattpad is not for Everybody

Despite these reasons to write for Wattpad, there will be many skeptics who think it’s a bad idea. They’re not wrong. Wattpad is not for everybody, particularly established writers who do not need to look for new readers or who do not write YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, or romance. If your novels are already literary successes or popular bestsellers, there may be no commercial reason for you to join the ranks of authors who have posted fiction on Wattpad such as Margaret Atwood, Scott Westerfield, and RL Stein. That said, there may be artistic and social reasons.

For me, Wattpad works best when you think of it as one part artistic experiment, one part social media platform. It is a wonderful place to meet writers working in the same genre as you, as well as to interact with readers of your work. For those who prefer working alone without reader feedback, Wattpad won’t improve the writing experience. Wattpad also lacks snob appeal. Many of the readers on Wattpad are teens still developing their literary tastes. Writers who seek traditional acclaim and literary awards might hesitate to associate themselves with a platform known for publishing fanfiction and unedited first drafts. To such writers, I can only say à chacun son goût. I have had nothing but positive experiences so far. Wattpad isn’t for everybody but it might be for you.

1, 2, 4, 6: A System for Writing Success

Writers: Experiment with 1, 2, 4, 6, and Increase Productivity

This article is inspired by Scott Meyer’s blog post about writing success for screenwriters. In it he advocates “1, 2, 7, 14,” as a structure for becoming a more productive writer. Under his plan you would read one screenplay per week, watch two movies per week, write seven pages per week, and work fourteen hours per week preparing story ideas for new projects. The payoff is that in a year’s time you would have read fifty-two screenplays, viewed 104 movies, and written two feature-length screenplays.

Mad Scientist
Writers: experiment on yourselves for maximum productivity and creativity.

How do you measure writing success. Publication may be difficult but there are many ways to measure progress in writing craft. Here’s my twist on Meyer’s productivity experiment for fiction writers: 1, 2, 4, 6. Make it a routine to:

 

1: Read one novel or collection of short stories per week

If you are spending less time reading than fooling around on social media and watching TV, writing might not be your calling. Reading a book per week should be the easiest item on the list.

 

2: Read an average of two book reviews or writing craft articles per week

Scan book reviews to inspire future reading and keep up with the zeitgeist, and study craft articles to explore new techniques and forms you haven’t tried. Personally, I find reading writing craft books addictive. The challenge is to prevent writing advice from becoming a distraction in itself. Publishing trade magazines and websites provide marketing information and inspiration in article-sized bites.

 

4: Write four pages per day (1200 words)

Many authors average from 1500 to 5000 words per day, although figures vary wildly. That means it should be easy to write an average of 1200 words a day, even taking off two days a week. If this goal is too high to meet regularly, set your goal at two pages. An easier goal that can be made consistently helps build a steady writing habit. Binge writing has its rewards but can’t compete with a steady, regular writing habit for productivity.

 

6: Edit six pages per day (1800 words)

Many writers are perfectionists with drawer novels, abandoned short stories, and ideas for articles and editorial pieces they never get around to revising. By giving yourself an editing quota, you will be forced to look at your best abandoned pieces and decide what to revise and send out.

 

That sounded very authoritative, didn’t it? But my writing buddies will recognize this as advice directed squarely at myself. I have a filing cabinet stuffed with abandoned stories, and there are at least five drawer novels with my name on them. Are any of them salvageable? Perhaps. My skills have improved over the years. If I can force myself to look at abandoned pieces, instead of always chasing the next new idea, maybe some of those discarded premises will prove worth developing …

 

The Payoff: Writing Success

Writing success is reading, writing and studying the works of others.
Imagine how many books, articles and short stories you could write in a year. Publication isn’t guaranteed but I measure writing success by output and improvement

If you follow this system, at the end of the year you will have:

  • read fifty-two novels
  • read a combination of 104 book reviews and writing craft articles
  • written 1460 pages (438 000 words) of rough draft – a number which could represent 3-7 novels, 88-400 short stories, or 10 novellas, or some combination thereof
  • you will have edited those pages and made them ready for submission to editors

 

Will anybody run this creative experiment? I hope so. When I am writing well, the routine is to get up at 5:00 a.m., shower and dress, then write while I eat breakfast until 7:30 when I leave for work. Maintaining that pace, I have written a novel in a month more than once. Naturally, not everything written so quickly is going to be good, unless you put the time into thoroughly developing the ideas, plot, themes, characters and setting first.

A large part of Scott Meyer’s proposition is weekly idea development. For me, when an idea takes hold, I don’t need to schedule thinking about it. Researching, developing characters and setting, and then planning story beats are things I prefer to do in big blocks of time. All other writing comes to a stop as I mull over ideas, think about plot points, and anticipate creating dramatic scenes. I can’t imagine making the conceptualization stage into something methodical that could be divided into bite-sized chunks, but Myers asserts working on multiple projects simultaneously is necessary for working screenwriters.

If you are a screenwriter, or you are interested in reading the original article, find Scott Meyer’s brilliant advice here, on the Go into the Story blog.

Happy reading and here’s to your writing success….

 

Loon Lake Reading Club
Loon Lake Reading Club

Exclusive Report for Loon Lake Readers

The latest edition of the Loon Lake Reading Club newsletter is out. Access is for members only. This time content includes personal perspectives on travelling in Peru, photos, a recipe for Valentine’s Day, Feeding Frenzy novel updates and more. Don’t miss out. Sign up below….

 

Feeding Frenzy Wins a Watty Award

Feeding Frenzy Wins a Watty Award

I can hardly believe my supernatural thriller won an HQ Love Award in The Wattys. This award is given to the handful of stories most read and recommended by the Wattpad staff. Wattpad holds the largest online writing competition in the world with a community of 40 million. Feeding Frenzy was selected from among 75,000 entries. It appears on the Wattys list and just got a ‘Wattys’ badge added to the cover.

Feeding Frenzy wins a Watty Award.
Feeding Frenzy wins a Watty Award.

“Each year with The Wattys, we celebrate our community and recognize the stories that have captured the hearts of millions of people around the world,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “We launched The Wattys in 2010 as a small writing contest. Today, it has grown into the world’s largest online writing contest, and it brings the entire Wattpad community together in celebration.”

Founded in 2006, Wattpad is a free app that lets people discover and share serialized stories. More than 40 million people use Wattpad in over 50 languages. The company is based in Toronto.

Feeding Frenzy to be Published in Paperback and Ebook

It may have won a Watty but I consider the free Wattpad version of my novel to be a draft. Sunday I sent off a newly revised version of Feeding Frenzy for professional editing in advance of its upcoming publication in ebook and paperback forms. I am delighted to announce that multiple award-winning editor, Sandra Kasturi, has agreed to take on the project. Sandra writes brilliant poetry, appreciates quirky fiction, and has a wicked sense of humour. The manuscript couldn’t be in better hands.

Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi celebrate with their World Fantasy Awards.

Author Bio and Bloor West Writers

BWW, a Toronto-Based writers' group, meets weekly to trade critiques.
BWW meets weekly in Toronto.

I was recently accepted as a judge for the Mash Stories Competition. The Mash Competition appeals to my fascination with randomly inspired art, and artistic experiment. Each quarter, Mash posts three unrelated words. Participants incorporate these words into 500 word stories of any type. It’s not necessarily Dada poetry, but in the right hands, it certainly could be!

I’m flattered to be accepted as a judge, but when Mash featured me in their most recent newsletter, I was disappointed that I couldn’t provide a link back to BWW, my beloved critique group.

Over the years, I have owed a lot of my progress to Bloor West Writers. Prize-winning and published authors belong to BWW, but without a website, there was nowhere to gather their achievements and interests. To correct this oversight, I started a website we can contribute to collectively.

Words of the Season Reading
Words of the Season Reading

Here’s my bio, which also got an overhaul:

Maaja Wentz’s Dionysus-inspired poem “Fallow God,” appeared in EDGE’s Urban Green Man anthology. The experimental story “You,” won a prize in the national Norma Epstein Foundation competition for Creative Writing.

Her one-act play, Midnight Fran-pire, was produced at ‘Fran’s Café’ by Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre. She recently won a writer’s grant from the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region. She is a member of the WCDRSunburst Award SocietyOntario Library Association, and Bloor West Writers.

Partial to live readings, Maaja has performed her work at poetry slams, reading series, and science fiction and fantasy conventions. She Maaja holds an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto, where she studied works in English and French, and developed a life-long fascination with the ‘Gargantuan’ works of Francois Rabelais.

Her most recent projects include a serial novel, Feeding Frenzy, and an interactive novel called Cliffhanger Castle. Maaja is a teacher-librarian in Toronto, where she has written and produced a handful of children’s plays.

November Creative Updates

Creative Teaching Update

I Wish My Teacher Knew, the non-fiction online book I made to collect first-person stories about education and creativity, has received over 1050 reads on Wattpad. This is exciting because the more people read it, the more will contribute. The hope is that these stories will inform Creative Teacher Librarian with fresh ideas for renewing education. Find out more about it by clicking on the story below. Drop me a line if you have a story of your own to add. It would be great to hear from you.
 

 

Creative Writing Update

As of October 31, the new serial novel, Feeding Frenzy, is underway. Over a hundred readers have perused the first three chapters. As it grows, the hope is many more people will read it. Serial fiction is a great motivator and antidote for writers’ block. Since making a promise to update weekly, there is real pressure to follow through. Last week I posted chapters on Wednesday and Friday. Reader comments have been encouraging. Writing Feeding Frenzy is a nostalgia rush too, as it forces me to reflect on my first year of university, although mythical Loon Lake University is nothing like my alma mater, University of Toronto. If you like fiction with a little humour, mystery and paranormal suspense, this one may be for you.
 

 
The Wattpad experience has been stimulating in a lot of ways. I attended a second Toronto meetup at the Wattpad offices in October, which resulted in a new Halloween Story compilation. This platform makes it easy to engage online with writers and readers in their late teens and twenties. Who better to discuss creativity and new ideas in fiction?

Convention Update

My schedule for http://sfcontario.ca/ has firmed up. If you are in Toronto next weekend, and you are interested in speculative fiction, attending a convention is worth doing. I’m moderating three discussion panels and I’ll be running a flash fiction contest, open to attendees. If you are at the convention, be sure to say hello. Here is my schedule:

Reviews and Critiques – Saturday 11 AM
Tricorders in the Classroom – Saturday 12PM
Flash Fiction Slam  – Saturday 7PM
Sherlock vs Elementary – Sunday 1pm

In case you are wondering what a Flash Fiction Slam is, I admit I made it up. The idea is to have writers perform their own 500-1000 word stories, and have the audience choose the winners. In a traditional poetry slam, a couple of volunteers are chosen from the crowd who give each slammer a score of 0-10 for his or her performance. No props or costumes are allowed, and only 20% of the offering may be sung. Beyond that, there are few rules. Whatever the reader does to make the performance exciting is allowed. My idea is to take this format and apply it to flash fiction, all in aide of engaging entertainment.

 

 

 

Takatsu Cell Phone Novelist

Takatsu wrote the first North American cell phone novel. I met with him to speak about creativity, multimedia art, writing, and education reform. His current project, Espresso Love, is a Wattpad novel. You can look at the video trailer, which he produced himself using Animoto to add mysterious signs to the urban landscape. His multimedia productions include songwriting, stories, video and graphic arts.

Takatsu praised the rigour of the Japanese school system and the close relationships and teamwork inherent in Japanese culture. Paradoxically, the strictness and high expectations bring out students’ talents and develop their abilities. Takatsu says that by working inside such a strong box, students learn to think outside it.

The same students who work together on a rigorous curriculum during school, and then clean their classrooms together, must participate in one club after school. These clubs involve many hours of daily practice in one area chosen by the student according to interest and talent. Choices include music, sports, visual arts and drama. The creative or athletic skills developed last a lifetime. Takatsu laments that in North America, although many people have a passion for the arts, many forget their talents once they enter the workforce.

There is a place for teachers on platforms like Wattpad, according to Takatsu. Educators are needed for collaboration, to teach net etiquette and also to mentor and teach writing skills.

I hope you enjoy this interview in which Takatsu speaks passionately about art and education. You can find his multimedia projects at Takatsu.tk.

 

Make a Chapbook or Booklet – DIY Video

Getting Started with Chapbooks and Brochures

Give your students recognition for their excellent creative writing by publishing a short story anthology, or connect school and home with a booklet of favorite family recipes, or a homework guide for parents. From poetry chapbooks to collections of cartoons, publishing little books helps generate excitement for literacy. When you arrange a book launch for student authors and their families, their pride is palpable. I will never forget when one of my student’s poems was accepted into a school board anthology. It was gratifying to see her get recognized for her originality. You can create the same kind of emotion in your school, library or classroom.

Chapbooks are a well-respected form among poets, including professionals. Making a chapbook can be as easy as printing out a manuscript and photocopying. A simple chapbook can be formatted using software such as Word or Publisher. Once you have printed out the booklet, fold the paper in half to make your book. For added panache, add a separate cover using heavy stock before you staple it together.

To find simple instructions for designing a booklet, I searched the internet for templates. Unfortunately, a lot of the available templates are for tri-fold brochures or one-page flyers. In the spirit of DIY, here is a quick instructional video to get you started making chapbooks using Word for Windows 8. My version has a cover, an automatically generated table of contents, and odd and even page numbers. Click the link to watch the video: DIY Chapbook Video

I also found online instructions for making a chapbook using Windows 2002 as well as a YouTube video for using previous versions of Windows to make a booklet.