For its second year, 2014, the winner of Wattpad’s Write Awards is ‘Heir to the Sundered Crown (The Sundered Crown Saga Book 1)’ by Matthew Olney. This e-book is now available from Amazon Kindle – “A realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero. The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After assassins kill the king and his family, greedy self serving men battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them is that one heir yet lives, a baby boy now hidden and protected. In the mage city of Caldaria is a boy named Luxon. A young mage who will discover his past and his powers. For he will one day become known as the Legendary, the wizard who would break the world, the man who would embrace death and live and the hero who would give a realm its greatest king.” It is also available for Kobo in the US, UK and Australia, plus the US NOOK e-reader.
If you despise fantasy books the above précis will confirm why. Even if, like me, you are a lover of the great fantasy authors of the C20th, the blurb will probably elicit a groan (oh no, not more magic and wizardry on the same old themes!). The tenor of reader review us old-time SF/fantasy fans feel most sympathy for is likely that in ‘Cliché and abundance of grammatical errors make this a chore’.
Despite my contempt for Wattpad users’ choice of an award winner, I have to admit to having been myself a user of Wattpad for a couple of years. Based in Toronto, Wattpad is a social media vehicle for writers and has no less a literary personage than Margaret Atwood championing and even occasionally posting to it. It bills itself as a place where teens and adults can publicly share their fiction writing in a blog-like format, as well as read and comment on other people’s works.
Here is one parent’s take on Wattpad (from http://www.commonsensemedia.org) – “Did some digging inside the app, and there are very adult stories and the language is deplorable. Be sure to follow your younger writer and monitor the stories they are reading.” Indeed there can be little argument that there is a lot of dross on Wattpad – derivative, repetitive, grammatically awful, and vulgar. Note however that Wattpad is social media and so reflects both the upsides and the downsides of a modern phenomenon that is here to stay.
That said why do I, a senior citizen non-fiction writer of memoir and essays – as far from typical Wattpad fare as one can get – continue to use such a vehicle to help me mature as a writer?
– It is has a format that encourages logical chapter development
– It encourages the use of visuals to colour and enhance the story-line. I believe that e-books and other forms of online reading will result in a future marrying of textual and visual storytelling in ways that we presently can only glimpse
– As with other forms of social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that initially began with the young and brash, more sophisticated and better-educated users will eventually migrate to the medium
– Assuming Wattpad survives which seems likely, and when the shift to a more mature user base happens, my writing may get noticed. Meantime, I attach my Wattpad account to my online avatar, Gravatar, so that some of my correspondents or followers may find what I post to Wattpad (and may even assess it as of interest!).
We writers live in hope, and some of us will try anything that might help us along to getting better readership.
by Ian Keith Anderson aka Jethrotull on Wattpad