In my Digital Textuality class, the major semester project is a Multimedia Portfolio composed of four pieces (text, image, video, sound) that tells a story or argument of our choosing. In order to help expose us to a variety of digital media tools we could use to create each piece, all the students are required to present our reviews of two different tools. In order to get mine out of the way early, I volunteered to go first this week in during our text unit. The tools I selected are ones I have some experience with and I have determined they are strong choices for text-based narratives depending on what you want to accomplish with your writing.
This week I want to share my review of Wattpad, the website/app that allows writers to share and discover writing of multitude of genres. If you’re a writer and have been recently considering using Wattpad, I hope you find this review helpful!
[Note: This tool review has been modified to suit my blog audience. An expanded version is available on my Digital Textuality class blog, but I’ve decided not to link to it.]
Wattpad Tool Review
Wattpad is a community-based website where people can publish their stories and find an audience. Wattpad operates like a social media website in its emphasis on community-building. Users create profiles and easily converse with other users. There are awards, contests, and clubs that inspire writers not just to publish their work on the website (or app) but also to discover other writers and stories. Not only does Wattpad recommend stories but also people for users to follow, allowing writers be on equal footing with their written work (if they choose). Sharing stories across different platforms is easy with Wattpad.
Wattpad is free to use and available via its website or app (also free). All you need to do is create an account to have full access of Wattpad’s features.
On my account (loriwrites) I created a story called Emerald Window. Because I know I will probably delete this story soon, I’ve included two screen captures of relevant Wattpad interfaces to show how Wattpad looks when you are writing or managing your works. Both of the screenshots I’ve created also include annotations pointing out things I thought would be most important for new users to note.
This first screenshot pictured directly below shows my creator view of my example story Emerald Window. This what it looks like after I’ve created the story and added two chapters. From this screen I could manage any aspect of the story I desired, from the overall story summary to individual chapters.
This second screenshot directly below is of the editor view visible when you are creating a new chapter/installment. It is very clean and simple. You can type directly into the text fields and Wattpad automatically backs up all your words (this might depend on the speed of your internet).
Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials
Wattpad should not be very difficult for a first-time user to figure out. However, these are some general reminders I’ve decided to might be important to reiterate:
- Write the story on a Word document first, then you can just copy and paste the text into the editor. This ensures you have a back-up, should something fail on Wattpad’s end (corporate takeover, website deletion, etc.).
- To set a story to private, you need to select the privacy setting for each individual chapter. You cannot control your story’s visibility as a whole. And if you initially set a chapter to private, you will need to unpublish the chapter to see the work.
For a good introduction on how to make the most of Wattpad, see the Write on Wattpad page and see Wattpad’s tips and information about the Wattpad Star program. If you manage to build a strong following, there’s a possibility you could start to get money from your work.
What the Tool Does Well
- Creating new projects on Wattpad is very self-explanatory from the moment you click on the ‘Create’ tab which directly leads you to the My Works page.
- The interface is simple and sleek in design, only providing practical functions to the creator.
- There are no options for template/document design customization, which keeps the emphasis on the text and story.
- It also possible to draft your stories in the website, as it autosaves your work as you type. And you can ‘Save and Preview’ works before you select ‘Publish.’
What it Does Poorly
- Wattpad does not enable HTML/CSS coding for users who might want to personalize the presentation of their writing. It allows for bolding, italicizing, and underlining as well as text justification (left, center, right), but not for font selection.
- Also, it is limited on what external media you can include or link. You can upload images and videos, but the videos have to come from YouTube.
- You can only make one external link which is be default placed at the bottom of the story and with no designation about to where it leads.
In addition to these limitations, Wattpad does not have a convenient method of allowing for collaboration. There’s no way for more than one person to be working on the same story at the same time. And if more than one person is contributing to a story, then the story is going to be attributed only to the account name/holder.
I hope you enjoyed this review of the writing tool Wattpad. If you’re interested in seeing more of these, please let me know in the comments. I have another review prepared for this blog on the free and open-source software Twine, which I’ll be posting next week. But if there’s a strong response to these types of posts, I’ll start looking into and reviewing more tools for creating narratives.