And heres part 2! I would like to air some thoughts of reader collaboration as I was inspired by the Book Summit panel. Last week I attended the Toronto Book Summit. This week I visited Wattpad’s head office in downtown Toronto so this topic is fresh on my mind.
To begin I would like to talk about Wattpad as a place for storytelling. This website/app is growing exponentially, allowing writers to experiment with their craft and gain feedback from readers. All for free too! Click Here to learn more about this company and their goals. I had the pleasure of visiting the creative team at Wattpad this week with my class, and was really moved by what they had to say about their mission as a company, and how they have single handedly boosted publishing markets around the world. That’s me on the very left!
Any way.. Reader Collaboration. Wattpad is not just a place for stories, its a form of social media. One of the best things about posting is the opportunity for feedback, constructive and supportive. But there is one thing that this feedback provides that is not quite expected. A community is born within a story. The same people are reading and writing, they become trusted by the author. The author may choose to act on the suggestions given in comments. The author may even entrust commenters with preliminary chapters, to act as an editorial voice. And, jokes may even form. Inside jokes maybe. The reading on Wattpad is an active experience.
If you could go back to one of your favourite books and write an active comment on it that you know the author would see what would you write?
Did I mention the holy Margaret Atwood writes on Wattpad? Here are her thoughts on the company: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jul/06/margaret-atwood-wattpad-online-writing
What does this reader collaboration mean? Is Wattpad the nicest place on the internet? (because they make a point to monitor their comments for negative comments and trolls) Does writing with a collaborative readership mean that the quality of the writing is changed? Dartmouth University has a study on reading and writing collaboratively. They believe that writing with a collaborative readership allows young writers to get a better sense of audience, and that the learning curve is smoother. Read more on this here. Writers do not agree on this unfortunately, and this clash in beliefs came forth at the reader collaboration panel at Book Summit. Hal from The Broken Pencil does not agree in inviting readers into his creative process. Tim Johnson from Wattpad believes that his book on Wattpad has benefited from his readers’ suggestions.
So I am going to repeat some earlier questions and ask some new ones. How is the role of reader changing if they have the ability to connect with the writer? What would you say if you knew the author was going to read your comment? How is this going to change the role of the author?
Im going to get theoretical here: If the readers of a book form a Public, interacting in rational discourse surrounding it, is Wattpad actually allowing these Publics to make a difference in what forms them? Am I making any sense? I’m going to be posing this question to the Publics expert Mike Epp when I see him next.
More on Publics Here.