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How Wattpad shaped many of us

Slash fiction, fanfiction, or all those stories that can be found on Wattpad and many other similar sites were often an escape for many of us. As an avid reader I started off with reading all the classics, from Mallory Towers to Little Women to Jane Austen and when my parents got tired of buying me books every month, I resorted to looking for them online and that is when I stumbled into the world of fanfiction or slash fiction. Wattpad and other sites like archieveofourown or fanfiction.net were (are) full of thousands of stories with the most creative plot lines you could find out there.

You had to struggle through a few badly written stories or outrageous plots until you found the authors and themes that were actually really well throughout and written. These writers were mostly teens and they were writing as a passion or hobby. Yet these authors connected wrote whole planned out stories that could be called novels, many having multiple parts. Many authors found popularity on these platforms and were encouraged by their readers to publish, and given the opportunities to get their work professionally recognised; not only have wattpad writers gotten their works published but Netflix has also adapted atleast 2 movies off of wattpad novels.

The support that these authors got was in part due to their connection with the audience, there were authors' notes about uploading late cause of exams, uploading while on vacation, or just little anecdotes that bridged the gap between reader and writer, making authors feel less allusive and mysterious. Writers also entertained their readership by dedicating bonus chapters or giving shoutouts and the audience responded in kind. I remember waiting weeks for uploads, as did many others, leaving positive feedback and comments on stories so that the author would upload sooner and we could get closure. Before Wattpad grew into what it is today, it was swarmed with young people writing their hearts out, other young people being proofreaders (or betas as they call them), or just readers giving feedback.

It created an environment that encouraged learning way more than most English classrooms. It was also a place where we didn't look at texts as good or bad or with the subconscious influence of education or media, if you loved a writer, you overlooked the grammatical errors (or suggested fixes in the comments) and continued reading for their plotline. These stories were also constructing narratives that were not governed by normal societal norms and instead were subverting from patriarchy and approaching the prototypical tropes and protagonists with a different lens.

Wattpad also allowed you to discover so many different genres, you could read historical fiction or supernatural romances and live vicariously through those questionable characters without the stringent need to be overly critical about texts. I am still amazed by Wattpad not only for its riveting content but also for the community it gave to young people and how it broke traditional barriers of literature, it allowed anyone with a passion for writing the means to do so (I occasionally still resort to reading some stuff on it as a guilty pleasure). It was a vital part of my friends’ and i’s teenage years and I’m grateful that my reading abilities developed partly in this environment as well.


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I remember when we had our lecture over "slashing the romantic narrative" in class with Sir Hasham, all I could think about was the example of wattpad in my mind. It was such a captivating discovery for me when I was a teenager and it was the stories ON wattpad that introduced me to this whole new genre called 'Fan-Fiction' for the very first time ever. I realized and reflected later on that wattpad was a platform where through slash fiction it offered its own particular challenge to narrative construction of gender/ and romance because it allowed women- mostly teenage girls/boys- to construct narratives that subverted patriarchy by re-appropriating those prototypical hero characters who usually reproduced women's position of socia…

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Khubaib Riasat
Khubaib Riasat
Dec 15, 2021

Many of us considered Wattpad our hideaway to

partake in adventures and fantasies away from the conventional boring and dull days throughout our adolescent years. The poorly penned short stories were worth reading when you came across an eloquent masterpiece. The platform is open and accessible for everyone without any discrimination, which encourages writers to get their work out into the world and for readers to enjoy it. It established a community where people can freely critique each other’s work. Wattpad is a dream for the lovers of the written words.

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Back in the day, Wattpad has acted as a safe haven for teenagers. The fan fiction stories about the celebrities we crushed on just added to our excitement. The interesting part about Wattpad authors was that they listened to their audience and released a few extra chapters or a spin off series if their audience loved the initial story. My experience on Wattpad was reading short stories and this is what I loved about those stories that a perfect story was delivered in a few pages. Lastly, I agree with the article how the audience forego the grammatical errors and mistakes because I remember that the story line used to be so fascinating that I didn’t even begin to care…

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Growing up, Wattpad felt like a safe space where I could express myself creatively and meet people who shared similar interests. I think it was an excellent platform as it gave young people the space to create art and engage with fellow artists. Back in the 7th grade, my friends and I used to write Harry Potter fanfiction and it was the incredibly exciting and stimulating coming up with new ideas, writing for hours with no restrictions, and then receiving feedback. It created a sense of community where there was no judgment and "fan girls or boys" could freely ramble about their favourite books, movies, songs or any obscure interests they had. I agree with you as it broke traditional…

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I agree wattpad was also great at regulating negative comments and that really allowed writers the room to get feedback and grow and also do so without judgment. I admit that even I’ve written some very trashy and amateur stories on wattpad just because I never felt discouraged to put my skill out for people to see and comment on, as most criticisms were words of advice and the existence of such spaces and feedback is necessary for young adults to learn and grow in.

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