By Chelsea Kingston ’17
More than 45 million people around the world, including Midwood students, have joined Wattpad, a free app that lets readers and writers discover and share stories of different genres.
Since Wattpad was founded in 2006 by Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen, it has received a great amount of attention. The app has been used for 15 billion minutes per month and has more than 110 thousand sign-ups per day, according to wattpad.com.
Wattpad allows people with a passion for writing to share their stories with the public. To start creating a story, the writer must provide the category, language, and whether the story is for “everyone” or “mature”. “Everyone” is for ages 13 and up and “Mature” is for ages 17 and up.
For the creation process, writers must also make sure their stories are safe with a copyright. A description and book cover can also be included. Wattpad stories are uploaded one chapter at a time. In addition, authors can also include pictures, YouTube videos and sound clips to accompany each chapter and bring their books to life. Descriptive tags are also ways writers can entice readers in order to get more reads, votes, and comments. Oftentimes, authors assign celebrities to characters to help envision the story as a movie.
If there are any inappropriate contents (images of private areas, encouragement of illegal acts, etc.) in stories, readers are able to report them, and the stories will be removed, according to the website.
The app does not cater only to writers, but readers as well.
The categories or genres that the app provide are endless. They span from romance, adventure, horror, historical fiction, fanfiction, poetry among countless others.
Since each chapter is uploaded one at a time, readers can be right alongside the author as the piece is written. However, this can be difficult as writers may not upload chapters on a regular basis.
Readers can leave comments in the story to give their reactions. In some stories, authors include references to slang, music, and applications that are used and heard today. This gives a modern element that can not be provided in a story published years ago.
Another factor that attracts both readers and writers is the relationships created through Wattpad, which is a rare possibility for famous authors outside of Wattpad. Through comments, authors can receive constructive criticism to help improve their piece. In turn, writers can ask readers to participate in contests, like creating a cover or an epilogue, for their books.
Maia Vines ’17 started using the app during her freshman year.
“It’s my favorite app,” Vines said. “I like that in stories you get to comment and bond with other commenters on the same stuff.”
Brianna Lackwood ’17, who enjoys writing, explained that the app has helped her think of new ideas for her own pieces. Lackwood was also inspired by stories that won Wattys.
The Wattys Awards is the world’s largest writing contest, according wattys.wattpad.com. There are various titles participants can strive for which can include People’s Choice, Beginner’s Luck, and Hot Genre Award. In addition, a monthly award is called #JustWriteIt, where contestants vow to write a story in 30 days. These awards are won through the votes of readers.
Wattpad has helped writers bring their finished stories to bookstore shelves, while making sure they can keep those stories on Wattpad. Many of the stories originally written on Wattpad have gone on to be published. Some are My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak and Storm and Silence by Robert Thier.
Additionally, through a program for writers called Wattpad Stars, some have been commissioned by Universal Studios, USA Network and A&E for work.
“I used to use it, but it got a bit distracting and I vowed to stop reading it to read actually published stories,” Lackwood said.
Sumiya Akater ‘18 agrees. “I don’t use it as often as before.”
Although some don’t use the app as much as before, Vines, Lackwood and Akater would all recommend this app to anyone who likes to read and write.