The content team at Wattpad is back to discuss how to be successful on our platform. One of the most important things writers must understand about the Wattpad platform is how to appeal to Wattpad’s audience. The stories that you see on our platform are slightly different from what you would see in traditional publishing and they attract a different type of audience because of that. These stories are known as webnovels.

Wattpad readers are often considered “distracted readers” as the nature of reading stories online means there are an abundance of potential distractions. In order to have a successful webnovel, you need to hold the distracted reader’s attention in order to maximize your audience. 

In this post, we'll be talking about mistakes you might be making that can push away the distracted reader. Don’t worry—we'll also be telling you what you can do to fix these mistakes in order to be more successful on Wattpad. 

Lack of emotion

One of the biggest mistakes that writers may make on a webnovel platform is not using enough emotion in their stories. Readers need to feel connected to the story and the characters in order for them to properly digest the story and build their interest. The easiest way to evoke this emotional experience is by showing what the characters are feeling, why they're feeling that way, and what this might mean. Now you don't have to reveal this all at the very beginning of the story but regardless of the tone of the story, there should be hints to what characters are feeling.

Let's say you have a love interest that seems like they're emotionally closed off, you can still incorporate nonverbal signs that hint at what they're feeling. For example, they may not verbally articulate that they are nervous but you can mention the main character noticing them fidgeting around due to their presence, and the emotional response the main character feels when they witness that.

Forgetting tropes 

Sometimes in an effort to write a unique story, that you may think will stand out from the rest, you choose not to incorporate common elements of the genre, like tropes. By doing this, you forget that readers are seeking out your story because they are such big fans of the genre and therefore will want a story that fulfills their expectations. 

For a distracted reader, it's important that they feel like the story that they're reading is easy to follow. Utilizing tropes helps a reader stay engaged because the familiarity of the trope will make them feel like they already know the framework that the story will adhere to. That familiarity will keep them interested enough that they’ll be less susceptible to the distractions that the internet may throw at them.

For example, if you were to write a werewolf story, your readers will expect to see the fated mate trope. One of the reasons why readers are so interested in werewolves is the fantasy element of werewolves having primal urges, which intensifies their feelings and connections. Therefore, readers will expect this trope to be used because regardless of how the lead characters initially act towards each other, the expectation is that their heighted werewolf emotions will force them to be drawn together. If a distracted reader notices that the werewolf story does not include tropes that foreshadow that their expectations will be met, they are more likely to move on to another story if they notice an ad for a story that more closely follows genre expectations.

Too much worldbuilding 

Similar to how webnovels benefit from familiar tropes, they also benefit from using familiar settings rather than highly detailed new ones. While it is important to let readers know where your story is set, focusing too heavily on information-based worldbuilding can bore a distracted reader and turn them away. Remember that readers of your story are familiar with the typical worlds of your genre. Instead, use  emotion-based worldbuildling where you focus on your characters’ emotions in the world. 

For example, if you write a hot encounter story about workplace enemies to lovers, it is implied that this will take place in a typical contemporary office job. Rather than breaking down every small detail about the specific company they work for, focus on how the characters feel in their workplace and how that affects their feelings towards one another.

Irrelevant details

Webnovel stories need to be focused. They should primarily include relevant details to push the story forward. Throwing in irrelevant details that readers do not need to know is only going to push a distracted reader away as it will weaken their engagement with the story.

For example, readers do not need to know every detail of your character's outfit in every single chapter. That is not an interesting and/or engaging way to keep a distracted reader committed to your story, as it will feel like too much work to decipher what is actually important in your story. Instead, you should only mention what a character is wearing if it's relevant to the plot. For example, the main character in a romance story might wear a charm bracelet from their love interest to show that their relationship is progressing.

Whenever you are considering adding a detail and debating its relevance, always ask yourself what you are trying to say by mentioning this detail. What will the reader gain from learning this information?  How does the inclusion of this detail affect your story's progression? 


Another mistake you might be making when writing webnovels is unfolding the events of your story at a slow pace. As we know from the storycoaster, it's important to have both highs and lows in your story, however there should still be climbs and plunges happening around story peaks. If a story has nothing happening for chapters on end, then your reader may just give up on it. With the storycoaster, you ensure that you have smaller but still engaging plot points to keep your reader reading.

This might be challenging if you're writing, for example, a slow-burn romance, because the entire point is to have it take a while for the couple to get together. However, just because a couple has not officially gotten together does not mean you cannot showcase the chemistry building between them. Play up the small moments that are foreshadowing their happily ever after and even parts of their backstory that explain why it is taking these characters so long to just get together. Good pacing really just means that you are constantly adding relevant pieces of plot that will keep your reader wanting more, and coming back again and again.

Non-linear narrative 

When it comes to crafting your plot, you may look towards traditional novels to inspire you on how to lay out your story. However, while non-linear narratives may be gaining popularity in traditional novels, this is less effective in webnovels. You have to remember that webnovel readers want to be able to understand what is happening in your story with minimum effort. If things have changed each time they come back to your story, like a new time period is introduced or there’s an unexpected switch in point of view,  your reader may give up on it.

Instead, we recommend that you consider writing your story in a linear narrative, clearly state when things are taking place, and remain consistent with the POV(s) you established in the beginning. 

Now that you know what to avoid when writing a webnovel story, we can’t wait to see what you write next. Keep checking in to our blog and sign up for our newsletter to continue getting more tips on how to be successful on Wattpad.

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