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Write with the Wattpad reader in mind

Write with the Wattpad reader in mind Write with the Wattpad reader in mind
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    You’ll notice that we’ve been talking a lot about reader expectation as a central concept in our understanding of what we’re looking for on Wattpad.  But who is the Wattpad reader, and what do we mean by reader expectation?

    The Wattpad reader

    The Wattpad reader is reading on the Internet, either on their phone or in a web browser. This seems like an obvious thing to say, but it is crucial to understanding Wattpad readers and Wattpad stories. With dozens of tabs open in a browser or a phone always ready to serve another notification or pop-up, internet reading is built around distractions. It’s part of the form in ways that just isn’t true for print books. People reading on the internet are almost always distracted readers: there is always another tab or notification available to pull focus.

    When we’re writing for Wattpad readers, it’s important to remember the potential for distraction when we’re making storytelling choices. A distracted reader is less likely to retain information, more likely to skip over the text, and more likely to stop reading and find something else to do. Writing successful Wattpad stories means optimizing for the distracted reader by designing your story to be easy to fall into and retain by using IEC principles and Effective Webnovel Storytelling.

    Reader expectations

    Using reader expectations is a very easy way to keep even a distracted reader’s attention. This does not mean giving up your creative vision or giving readers exactly what they say they want. Reader expectations are useful because they make reading easier. When a reader opens a romance story, they know the two main characters are going to fall in love, so they don’t have to spend time figuring that out. Distracted readers like stories in defined genres because the genre helps shape the story in ways that make it easier to maximize enjoyment. Setting up and paying off reader expectations through use of genre rules is a crucial way of keeping your reader engaged in your story.

    Here are some questions that might help when you’re thinking about including common genre elements:

    • What does my audience probably expect to happen with this element? Do I want to give them the satisfaction of fulfilling their expectations, or do I want to subvert them?
    • What draws me as a writer to including this element? What excites or interests me about it?
    • What reaction am I hoping to get out of my reader with the inclusion of this element?
    • How often do I fulfil reader expectations in my work, and how often do I subvert or delay them?

    For more on approaching your story as a reader, download our Reader Brain worksheet.

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