Well, there’s a new literary addiction in town, and it’s name is Tap. Or, technically speaking, Tap by Watttpad.
Shane Dingman over at The Globe and Mail wrote an article titled “Wattpad taps into a new genre” and I was intrigued right away. For those not in the know, Wattpad is a great site for young/emerging writers to post their stuff. Last year, the site’s overwhelmingly most popular story was Isabelle Ronin’s Chasing Red, which has over 126 million reads to date.
Unlike the short stories, full-length novels and poetry that Wattpad features, Tap’s an app that is essentially an extended text message. Sound strange? Kinda/Sorta. I was dubious at first, but after reading a couple of stories (you literally tap your screen to reveal the next message), I thought, Hey, this is interesting.
Now, why is this relevant? Sadly (or not), we’ve become a world of texters. According to the previously mentioned Globe article, we send 8 trillion texts a year by phone, and through Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp alone, we send 60 billion messages a day.
The point, I think, is that we like to text and that Tap might provide a new means by which to tell stories.
You can download the Tap app from iTunes or Google Play and then start tap, tap, tapping away at your own speed.
In a CBC article titled “Winnipeg Wattpad writer receives book deal from U.S. publisher,” there is once again hope out there for all you writers who dream of making it big, but lack whatever the IT!/WOW! factor is it takes to get noticed by the Big Boys & Girls of publishing. Perhaps “A Novel Idea” has the answer.
Since ‘Pegger Isabelle Ronin (@isabelleronin) published her novel Chasing Red on Wattpad in 2016, she has received more than 126 million reads, making it the Toronto-based website’s most popular story of 2016.
That’s 126 followed by six zeroes. Or, put another way, that’s almost four times the population of Canada; 97 times the population of Manitoba; and 189 times the number of people who brave out every winter in the Chicago of the North. (ed. note: Does anyone actually say “Slurpee Capital of the World”?)
Obviously the short stories I, ah, have on Wattpad are similar to Ms. Ronin’s in that, you know, in that they all have words and, um, a cover design. Oh, we’re also both from Canada, which means our stories are probably really similar. Like, almost totally the same. Kind of same-same, but different?
Anyway, congratulations to Isabelle Ronin. Hearing stories like hers is a victory for literature, for writers, and – most importantly – for readers.
A little over 10 years ago, I wrote a short story, a political satire, in homage to President George W. Bush called “Everybody’s Dictionary.” While going over it recently, I realized little had changed in the U.S. since the time of G-Dubs, and that if I tweaked it just a little here and there, I could actually make it an homage to President Donald J. Trump. How exciting, I thought!
I originally posted it on Wattpad, the leading English language short story site, a couple of years ago, and then kind of forgot about it until January 20, the day Donnie T. was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
However, it wasn’t until Kellyannegate a couple of weeks ago, when the term “alternative facts” entered the lexicon of the American media, that I decided to go back to “Everybody’s Dictionary” and see if it was still relevant eight years later. And wouldn’t you know it! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (TRANS.: If you beat around a bush, you will always be trumped.)
So, to all those logophiles out there who still think semantics are important, I dedicate this updated version of the story to you.
Click here to read “Everybody’s Dictionary (& Other Semantic Debacles)“