As someone with a passion for writing, I also enjoy writing stories, but it’s more of something I do for fun rather than trying to monetize it or publish a book.
One of my good friends loves to write stories. Sometimes he writes fanfiction and sometimes he writes original stories too. One of them he recently got published as a book, but the publishing company doesn’t offer it in English sadly.
He also publishes his fanfiction on Wattpad and several other writing sites like Ao3 because what he does differently than me, is that he wants to be a full-fledged author and make money from his creations. So, of course, he’d want to make himself known and I support him one hundred percent!
Because I only write stories like fanfiction as a hobby, I don’t like it when too much critique is received on my work. When I first published my Lordi fanfiction on the Monsterboard, I got some loyal readers and thought it would be a great idea to bring it abroad, so I started with Fanfiction.net because I liked its slogan. But as I put out my first Lordi story there, it was met with some criticism that I didn’t like. One reviewer compared the story to Twilight (I will admit maybe there were some elements from those books/films present that I inadvertently added) while mentioning they didn’t like the usage of a self-insert protagonist.
A self-insert is an OC you created that can look like you and share your name. In short, you, the writer are the protagonist. As I have stated many times, there is nothing wrong with doing that in your fanfics. Not everyone has the same level of imagination when creating an OC and self-inserts connect me to the story that I’m writing more and it’s my way of expressing my love and fantasies for a character or celebrity, without crossing boundaries or hurting anyone.
Anyway, the second reviewer of my Lordi fanfic on FFN proceeded to leave a rather strange review about how the story “chased their brain away” I struggled for a while to understand what that meant before reaching the conclusion that they didn’t like it. Then that was when I realized that FFN was not the place for me. Unleash your imagination, my ass, so I left.
I began searching for a different platform to publish my fanfic, somewhere where people wouldn’t be so critical or nitpicky over my writing style and other factors since I was just doing this for fun. Then a friend suggested I check out Wattpad and I’ve been there ever since.
I have experienced some hiatus there like sometimes I would delete stories when I couldn’t come up with a good direction to take the plot, or they were meant to have sequels and I failed to yield a plot for those. Taking those down was a decision that I sincerely regret, and it wasn’t until I wrote my Didact fanfiction did I decide to keep my work there for readers, even if something was left unfinished for a while.
So, that brings me to the elephant in the room, why did I stay on Wattpad when there are now plenty of other growing alternatives out there that have even managed to surpass it? Well, Wattpad is a place for amateur writers like myself. There are two kinds of amateur writers in the world: those who want to write about the things that they love but aren’t very good at writing, or those who just want to write for fun and don’t want to be taken seriously. The latter is where I am.
Wattpad allows you to not only write fanfiction but also original stories too that some writers that do the latter have become famous for it. Wattpad tries a lot to promote original works and when advertised they try to target readers more than writers when they talk about the features, but I’m glad that fanfiction is still allowed to be published there. People who read my work there aren’t so over-analytical with the way I write and what I write about, so it’s easy for me to write whatever I want without dealing with readers who decide to act like critics on a regular basis.
However, the downside to Wattpad is many readers I’ve encountered aren’t very smart, sometimes they will leave unusual comments about things irrelevant to my story, like someone making a Harry Potter reference to something in one of my stories, when it was a Disney story, not an HP one. Another person kept making jokes about certain lines in a chapter too in an immature way that vexed me. I wanted to see comments of praise whether simple or constructive, not these types of pyjaks.
Now, I have got some negative comments before on Wattpad, but they are very rare and I delete them because they aren’t constructive. But on the other side of the coin, that’s also why I left FFN and never returned there because the negative/constructive comments were too frequent and scrupulous for my mental health to handle when this is just a hobby for me. So it’s not like I can’t take criticism, it just depends on how frequent and how respectful the poster is, but the bottom line is I’m not looking to monetize this, so I would prefer to deal with this as little as possible.
Also, most of the other people I see on there write primarily fanfics with strong sexual content that is way more than the amount that I put in my own stories, and most of their stories are “X reader” stories. A lot of these I’ve noticed are just for fulfilling sexual fantasies with the character they like and don’t have a lot of story to them. Don’t get me wrong, there is one X reader story I read from a friend that does have a plot and some racy stuff, but the story also grows starting with a budding romance before the sex comes which I like. Other than that, most of those types of stories just only have the NSFW content and that’s it.
X reader stories are basically, well, exactly what the theme inscribes, where the person reading the story is the protagonist and the author will write acronyms throughout it that the reader can use to insert their own traits about themselves such as:
(Y/N): Your name
(F/N): First name
(L/N): Last name
(E/C): Eye colour
(H/C): Hair colour
and so on…… so if you were reading one of those stories, you’ll see those acronyms throughout it and all you have to do is mentally replace them with your name, eye colour, etc. I have a hard time doing that. I would find it annoying and tedious to write a story where I constantly have to put (F/N) every time one character talks to the protagonist, so I just make the latter, myself because that’s how I prefer to write for fun.
One time someone commented on my most popular story that they wished my character’s name was replaced with (F/N) instead in the text. I told them that I was not going to do that because that was not my style. They never answered, but I’m sure deep down that made them mad.
There have been some similar requests like that that I have received and rejected, but I’m not going to list them all.
Well, you can’t please everyone. But because there are so many stories written like that on Wattpad, it’s like fans expect you to follow that method as well. No thanks.
Back to the positives. What I also like about Wattpad is that it’s a lot more visually appealing. When you create a new story, you design a cover for it using whatever you like. I make my covers with PiZap or Canva and they turn out great, FFN and Ao3, from what I’ve seen, don’t offer that. I’ve looked at both sites recently and it’s just the titles and the words, it doesn’t look inviting to me as a reader or a writer. I like to see the cover of a book or fanfiction before I start reading, hell I like to also have covers for my own work!
I already know that FFN is not for me, now I still don’t know much about Ao3, maybe the community there is friendlier than FFN and more mature than Wattpad, but it still has a striking similarity in appearance to FFN. I heard it’s been praised for its search engine and community but it just didn’t look visually appealing to me, there was nothing but the words, no images whatsoever. When I visit a site to work on my stories, I like it to look bright and welcoming, that may sound odd, but it’s what keeps me motivated to see the cover I designed for a story I’m writing.
Sure, Wattpad may have its share of good stories here and some where everyone does the same thing over there, but it’s the best place to suit my needs as a writer.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I use Wattpad and hope it continues to stick around for years because it’s the only place I want to publish my stories!