Canada's most famous author, Margaret Atwood, is a Wattpad fan. Not surprising considering Wattpad is based in Toronto, Canada. But it is surprising considering Atwood is a writer with considerable gravitas and an unlikely champion of an online story-sharing site that is, as she put it herself in a piece she wrote for the Guardian, "heavy on romance, vampires and werewolves".
Let Atwood explain why she is all for Wattpad:
On Wattpad — using your computer, tablet or phone — you can post your own writing. No one need know how old you are, what your social background is, or where you live. Your readers can be anywhere.... You'll have readers who leave encouraging comments on your message board, thus boosting your morale.
Atwood then tells us what it was like for young writers of her pre-internet, pre-Wattpad generation:
We put together little booklets with our writing in them — our handwriting — for a readership of two: our parents. We went on to place an ill-advised poem or story in the school yearbook, to the secret derision of our classmates. We had to use our real names, which meant that many of us hid our most heartfelt writing in our sock drawers.
Atwood also dispels the notion that young people aren't reading but playing video games instead:
You don't get that impression from Wattpad, possibly because the site emulates features of video games: participation. Like Dickens during his serial publication of Pickwick, Wattpad writers get feedback from readers, and may shape their stories accordingly.
Read Margaret Atwood's article in its entirety here and then head on over to Wattpad to discover the kind of stories that you love to read. And if you're a writer or harbour hopes of becoming one (as do a few of our students), let Wattpad help the world discover your talent.
- ADDITIONAL READING: Wattpad in the Washington Post: "Wattpad gives writers a place online to tell their stories".
- UPDATE (June 13, 2013): Commitscion Ashwin Shanker (Class of 2015), an avid storyteller who read my post on Wattpad, has drawn my attention to another story-sharing site: "I checked out Wattpad and I have created an account," Ashwin wrote in an e-mail. "I felt it's more like Readwave, which I'm a member of. I have published all my work on Readwave and keep getting good response from the international community. My Readwave profile can be accessed here. All my short stories and a few poems have been published on this site."
- UPDATE (June 21, 2013): Here are two other short-story websites I discovered recently: East of the Web and Five Chapters.