So I’m struggling mightily with a conundrum today. Wattpad has changed the rules to their Open Novella Contest – which was something that I absolutely loved last year – to where any winning stories become the property of Wattpad, not the writer. This leads me to the great question of just where my principles draw the line in the sand.
Without ONC last year, who is to say if Lia Usher would have ever had her own voice? A character who has quickly become one of my all time favorites might never have come to mind if I hadn’t stretched my writing to fit a prompt. The community was also great. I found several writers whose works I might not have otherwise found, and had feedback and a sense of belonging that had been missing.
This got me thinking about the bigger picture. As a writer, without publishing a single word, I would still have full ownership of my works. I’ve published a handful of times, not enough to really be excited about, but enough to feel like I got somewhere in this writing life. But I’ve always still maintained the rights to my work. When considering other avenues for work after leaving the corporate grind, ghost writing did come across my feed. As much as I think I could do the work, I still hesitate to the point of not going through with pursuing opportunities simply because I want to remain my own author, maintain my own characters, and keep my own ideas as my own.
With all of the turmoil going on in the world with pandemics, politics, and I’m sure any number of words starting with a “p”, I’ve given consideration to stepping away from certain platforms on social media (mainly Facebook, honestly). I haven’t quite pulled the plug because Facebook remains a way I stay in touch with a handful of friends and family. But the idea continues to beckon.
Now, in addition to that, there is the idea of pulling my work from Wattpad. I’ve enjoyed the community I can sometimes find on Wattpad (it’s hard to find community in the great wide intenet world, but sometimes I do truly find fellow kindred spirits). I also really enjoy my Sci-Fi competitions, and, I won’t lie, I was looking forward to where the prompts from this year’s ONC might take me. But the messiness that has resulted has put even my current WIP on hold. I’m sure Saga and Ymir will make their way back to the written realm sooner rather than later, but they’re currently something I’m publishing on Wattpad. What a truly, terrible cycle.
So I ask my fellow would-be writers: at what point do the rules or requirements of one portion determine how we deal with the whole? Do the rules put down for ONC muddy everything to do with Wattpad? And if so, where does that leave us, or, more importantly, the stories we’ve told there…
Until next time, I’ll continue to contemplate –