So tonight I got to see and hear Neil Gaiman in his penultimate appearance before he goes off for “a year or so to be a writer.”
“Writing is really lonely…but it’s time to do a novel.”
He started the evening with two stories, the first one about Harlan Ellison and the second about Terry Pratchett. Then he read a poem he wrote shortly after the Charlie Hebdo attacks about ideas which is his credo, so to speak.
“I believe that ideas are invisible and they linger and sometimes they are true.”
I loved his answers to questions people posed before the talk, among them his advice about writing (read, even the things you aren’t into), writer’s block (doesn’t really exist though being stuck in a story does) and how long it takes him to write a story (between 2-1/2 months for Oceans at the End of the Lane and 22 years for The Graveyard Book). He also read a short story, The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury from his book of short stories, Trigger Warning.
“My biggest moment of self-doubt is probably the same reason in up here on the stage in front of you.”
I loved how he spoke about Amanda and his baby, Ash. I love the man, and have loved him since I first read American Gods so many years ago. And I count myself lucky for being there tonight.
Oh, and then I got myself this autographed copy of The Sleeper and The Spindle. So time to get reading!
when the masks fell
and we were revealed
each one of us, our skins
we screamed in anger
and in shame
unable to face the world
with just our names
the ones we chose to hide our words
when in despair, we carved out
the hearts of many who
that we’d amount to something
or give us reprieve
for being human, for being
so unfailingly open to the world
and so gullible
if only to allow the feelings
to seep in
to soak through our defenses
and mold us
to yank away the layers
we hide behind
and reveal the truth that lies
so the masks fell
but we’ll be alright
for we’re writers, we reveal
what others hide
out of sight.
*Image by @Designthewild on DeviantArt
I’ve been on Wattpad since October 2012, and since then, I’ve been writing up a storm. I wrote way before that, and even after I stopped writing for 10 years and resumed in August 2012, no platform online could allow me to really connect with readers and fellow writers like Wattpad does. So with my 2-year anniversary fast approaching, here are 10 reasons why I’m still on Wattpad – and maybe why you should consider checking it out as well.
- You get to write your stories!
According to Wattpad, the site has 40 million stories with 25 million readers/writers and the number is growing! 6 billion minutes are spent on Wattpad every month and 85% of its usage is on mobile. Just yesterday, my client arrived and saw me reading a Wattpad novel on my iPhone. He said that he reads most of his books from his phone these days, simply because it’s the one thing you never leave home without.
Oh, and with the Wattpad app, you can also write your stories while on the go. I do that while waiting to pick up my son from pre-school or while sitting at the doctor’s office.
- You get to interact with your readers and build an audience.
This is a huge plus in my book. You see, writing is such a solitary sport. Like Neil Gaiman says, we have keyboards and we work in the dark. And unless my neighbors drag me out for some Vitamin D, I’d probably be sitting in front of my keyboard typing away all day and night. Even my 4-year old is getting in on the act when he says, “mama go to the gym.”
But as far as interacting with readers, understand that you’ll usually get non-professional feedback, so if you want professional editing feedback, Wattpad isn’t the place for it. However, there are certain groups on there who give constructive criticism on certain stories – you just have to opt in. I’ve read the critiques, and they are spot on.
- You get to interact with writers like you
I’ve met some wonderful writers on wattpad. Published or not, they’re all writers to me – or authors, however you want to call it. Some people out there want to argue the semantics of it, but if you write, you’re a writer. And while the argument can go on and on online, on Wattpad, there really is no argument because we’re all in the same boat. We’re all writers just as much as we’re readers. And the writers I’ve met have helped me get better. We cheer each other on and promote each others’ work. We pat each other on the back and cheer each other up when we’re down. Oh, did I mention that it’s a social site as well?
- You get to read stories – for free.
Even the classics are getting uploaded on Wattpad, so if you want to read Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, along with the latest novel your favorite author just penned, you can find it all in one place. You can even follow classic (dead) authors like Edgar Allan Poe and get notifications of “latest” works uploaded. As for current authors, not yet published or already published, you get that for free, too. Some of them post their rough drafts on Wattpad while the fully edited book may be available for sale online; or some, after featuring the full draft as they wrote it, remove all but the first three chapters with links on where to buy the full book.
- Famous writers are now on Wattpad.
I think the first one I noticed was Margaret Atwood. She currently has a fan fiction writing contest based on her book The Mattress called Freeze-Dried Fan Fiction Contest. Paul Coelho is also on Wattpad, and here, he stumbled upon a post of his own comments on writing, compiled by a blogger named Jerome. Then there R.L. Stine of Goosebumps series, who has a contest running as well – he already wrote the first chapter of a story and you get to fill in what comes next. And if he picks your story, he’ll finish it.
- Contests and tie-ins
As #5 above, with Atwood and Stine’s writing contests, there are other contests for aspiring writers to hone their writing skills with. Today is the last day for The Best of Me movie/book tie-in where writers come up with their “First love” stories under 1500 words. The winner getting a shout-out on Nicholas Sparks’ blog is one of the perks of one’s story being chosen.
And what do you know – after @monrosey suggested I should write something, I dug deep into the recesses of my young love memories, and did!
- There are clubs where you can interact with like-minded people.
These clubs can be anything – whether by book genre, a discussion on answers to hard questions, or book cover help. I subscribe to one particular forum called The ?uestions and I have to admit, sometimes the questions are really interesting, and the answers from fellow writers more interesting still – some even triggering simply because I’ve been in my little hidey-hole all this time.
- Being on Wattpad where you get to post your stories for all to see (unless you post it as Private, which is visible only to your followers), puts you out there!
Of course there are some cons to one’s decision to post their stories online. Piracy is rampant everywheree. I’ve heard of stories being pirated and sold elsewhere, and of course, one’s stories on Wattpad can easily fall in the wrong hands. It is a risk that one takes to post on sites like Wattpad and other places online (fanfiction.net, AO3, figment, Goodreads).
Wattpad states that you keep copyright of your work. An online record shows when your work was posted on their site, seen when you hover over the chapter cover.
- Publishers go on Wattpad searching for new talent
While some publishers frown on submitted work having appeared on Wattpad, there have also been success stories of writers being discovered on Wattpad and offered publishing deals.
- You get to read and write. Then repeat it all over again.
There really is more to Wattpad than the first 9 things but the 10th is just going to be reading and writing. If you’re a writer, published or not, or want to be published, Wattpad is definitely a place to check out. Don’t be discouraged by the demographics of young readers or the multitude of One Direction fan fiction. No matter what your age, you can find your audience on Wattpad – that is, if you read other people’s works as well. And if anything, isn’t that one of the things that makes a good writer – that he/she reads as well? And so while the works may not be all top-notch and perfect, we’ve all been there, and who knows? Your heartfelt comment on someone’s story just might get that person to keep on writing, just as someone else’s comment on your stories will do the same for you.
Anyway, at this point I’m rambling. So if you haven’t checked out Wattpad yet, definitely give it a go. Rowena Wiseman wrote about the 8 reasons she loves Wattpad, so do mosey on down to her amazing blog for her thoughts as well.
And if you’re already on Wattpad, come over and say hello! I’m @morrighansmuse (just about everywhere online anyway) and I’d love to hear from you!