Daily Archives: November 20, 2012

Wattpad: the Pros and Cons

Just a heads up, this has nothing to do with jiu jitsu, and everything to do with writing.

I was on the site Wattpad all weekend: an online community where writers can submit stories and supposedly submit feedback so the author can improve. Overall I like the site, and I dig the mission, but there are a couple of things that have annoyed me a little:

1. Everyone is too nice. I understand no one wants to be hated for harsh criticism,  but at the same time there are gaping plot holes or stereotypes that I just can’t get past that no one seems to attempt to address.

This has also caused me to create a term I think we should start to use. Hopefully you’ve heard about the Mary Sue: the seemingly perfect protagonist with little to no serious character flaw, which is seen as an ideal representation of the author. I would like to propose the term the Edward Cullen- a character who is the author’s ideal representation of a mate, again with little to no character flaws and really little to no personality while we’re at it: their whole existence hinges on the fact they adore and worship the protagonist, and offer platitudes concerning how beautiful, unique and emotionally strong the character is, even though the protagonist may think of themselves as unattractive, awkward, etc…

Yeah, I found a lot of that.

There’s also a term I have thoroughly enjoyed since contestant Michael Knight said it on Project Runway: Captain Save-a-Ho.

2. Stop ‘casting’ you characters with real actors. When we read our favorite books, of course we wonder what actors would play a tv/film adaptation of said work. BUT, these writers have already decided that cast, which I feel hinders the imagination of both reader and writer. What I don’t like the actor the writer has chosen and decided to not read their story? What if there is a killer development in the story because they don’t want to think of their favorite actor in such a situation? I like Stephen King’s approach, as he mentions in his book On Writing: “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

3. Holy poop, raise the stakes a little with your characters, and don’t have such easily solvable problems. Oh, I’m terribly sorry Little Miss Protagonist, your late husband was shot in the head and you aren’t interested in looking into it?!? Like, no one would be gunning for you as well? Really, we’re going to wrap this up with a pretty little bow and not address this issue? You, your family, your Edward Cullen of a boyfriend (ah-ha, see, already using the term) are not in danger as well? Not even a little bit? Maybe because a lot of the things I write creatively recently involve death or someone at serious risk of dying that I find this a bit absurd.

Other then that  I would love to see less chick lit and young adult stories, but then again if that’s what people feel comfortable writing, more power to them.

The bright side to all of this is I am taking this snarky attitude and applying it to my own work. Which, in a way helps achieve the site’s mission: to create better writers and better stories. So, hooray, I guess?

Sign up and check it out as well if you are interested: Wattpad

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