Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman collaborate on social writing site Wattpad
November 26, 2012 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Wattpad, started in 2006, is a free social writing site where people can publish their own work, read others' writing, and provide feedback. It can be accessed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, with an app for Android or iOS. Wattpad enthusiast Margaret Atwood is currently collaborating with British author Naomi Alderman on a serial comic/horror story; you can read the chapters of The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home as they are added.

Atwood on why she thinks Wattpad is a valuable tool for writers.

One of Alderman's previous writing projects: the running game Zombies, Run!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (8 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
The poetry on that site is really, really terrible. It'd be cool if the space encouraged more interaction other than "your poem is awesome!" - some kind of mentoring or education, rather than typical internet comments. My fear is that the young writers will misunderstand the positive feedback they're getting as reasons not to grow as writers.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:27 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

My girlfriend's teenage daughter is addicted to writing on Wattpad. We're pretty relieved, considering all the other things she could be addicted to. It's true that most of what's there is atrocious, but we figure it'll at least get her into the habit of writing, so that when it's time for her to pursue writing more formally, she'll have that productivity muscle pretty well built.
posted by Rykey at 2:51 PM on November 26, 2012

I'm not going to jump on the "Wattpad is crap" train...

but... much of it is One Direction fanfic, and I was browsing through the amazing breadth of subjects within said genre, and one of them involved the identification of a certain disability as "cerebral posse" and oh my god I like to died
posted by Madamina at 2:52 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Margaret Atwood: why Wattpad works
'You can post your own writing. No one need know your age or background. And your readers can be anywhere'

That sounds familiar.... now where have I heard that before?
posted by JHarris at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

The poetry on that site is really, really terrible.

Same thing with the reddit's /r/poetry. If you read enough posts there you'll think Trent Reznor is Shakespeare.

Having access to an immediate audience and instant printing press is unbelievable and the future technology promised, but there is something to be said for a gatekeeper that has devoted years to the art and craft of being an editor at a publishing house.
posted by four panels at 9:46 PM on November 26, 2012

Fictionaut, the writing community I co-founded, relies on a recommendation algorithm and invite-only signups to make it easy to find quality stuff. No iPad app though, and no Margaret Atwood -- but our most-read story ever is by Amy Hempel.
posted by muckster at 12:40 AM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I use Wattpad almost every single day to read machine-translated Chinese internet novels on my IPhone. Yes, you've read that right, these novels were translated directly from Chinese to Vietnamese by a software with minimal human input and then posted onto the Internet. There are accounts on Wattpad that got 1000+ stories posted. And once in while you got people being reported, and accounts deleted for IP violations but they always come back under another names.
I did a quick check and Vietnam is at no 6 on the Global traffic chart. Given that all of the countries above it uses English at their Primary language, I strongly suspect that Vietnamese is the second most popular language on Wattpad. And maybe 80% of the stuff up there in Vietnamese would be these software translated Chinese Internet novels. It is an incredible phenomenon that I've witness developing over the last decade.
This doesn't have anything to do with Wattpad but I've always wanted to tell this story so here goes:
I was there at the beginning when the most primitive form of translation softwares were being developed by people who wanted to read Chinese Wuxia novels but didn't know Chinese and it was an extremely laborious process. At the beginning, the software would first use Google Translate to change a piece of Chinese text into English. Then in another column, it will use another website to translate the Chinese text into Hán Việt, which is a form of Chinese Vietnamese. Then the "language changers" and that's what they called themselves because they are not "translators" would sit down, and decipher the meanings from the two columns of badly translated Chinese to English and the Hán-Việt which is readable but still mainly incomprehensible. they would also have access to a third column of Chinese scripts where they can select a Chinese character, have it translate by an online websitand and then pick out a meaning that they would think most suitable from the various meanings that a Chinese character could have.
The drive and devotion of those fanboys and fangirls gave birth to the current form of application where I only need 2 clicks of a mouse to change a Chinese text to perfectly readable Vietnamese, which would be about more than 90% percent accurate, sometimes even more accurate than the published version of that same piece of text that had been professionally translated.
As for those authors that complain about online piracy, the Chinese models is the future. Anyway, I'll expand on that a little bit later. Need to go now.
posted by LenaO at 3:13 AM on November 27, 2012

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