Sunday, August 24, 2014

How Wattpad Made Reading a Craze

On the platform, reading
Hazal Kirci explains how Wattpad transformed her and her sisters’ lives, and made reading a craze.

Wattpad is a global sensation in young adult literature. And I fell for it hard.

In my case, introduced to it by friends, I slowly became addicted, clicking and double-clicking my way through until my online “library” was full of romance and the paranormal, often finishing 40-chapter stories in a day. I downloaded the app on to my iPod Touch – you can also get it on iPhone and iPad – and when I saw I could read stories offline it began a reading marathon as I commuted between work-experience jobs.

Boy was it exhilarating. So much so that I abandoned “real” fiction for a while, relishing instead the heaps of clichés that populated practically every story I read. And as most readers know, stories have an uncanny ability to spark one’s own creativity and inspiration. So I began writing and uploading my own stories, choosing to (the originality will blow your mind, I’m sure of it) centre my narrative on a werewolf romance.

I have two sisters. They are 14 and 12 and before they were into Wattpad, it was all about One Direction. Their rather frightening obsession resulted in a friend suggesting to my 14-year-old sister Heral, that she read fan fiction about the boy band. She had never read novels before, but after that you could not separate her from her iPod Touch with a pair of pliers. Often it’s 4am and 12-year-old Hislen is begging for her to switch off the lamp, but no, she needs to read.

Eventually, Hislen began to portray similar symptoms. Unexpected things began to happen. Heral would come home, telling our mum all about her new English teacher and his stream of praise for her. This was shocking; she had always been the opposite of me, hating English. To see the transformation in her grades was amazing – and something I fully credit to Wattpad. If this app hadn’t provided her with the only type of story she could love and feel passionate about, my sister’s improvement in English may not have happened.

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