Two summers ago, I finished my very first manuscript with an 80,000 word first draft. After about a week of celebrating, I chopped that word count in half after changing my mind (again) about the story, and then shelved it. I haven’t begun the rewrites, but the world I built there is still very close to me.
For assignments 10 and 12 for this class, intertextuality and creative commons, I thought WattPad was a great vehicle for me to demonstrate both of these. I used a social media website I’ve never used before (despite having an account for years), as well as reconnected with a story that I’ve been meaning to work on.
The prologue for this “spinoff” series is actually the last chapter of my unpublished manuscript, but slightly modified with some expositional details. Of course, is it really a spinoff if the text it is spinning off of doesn’t publicly exist? Who knows.
You can read it HERE.
The intertextuality is clear in my allusions to the people who created and inspired the Sherlock Holmes mythology. Artistic license has been taken of course. In my story, Dr. Joseph Bell, the inspiration for Sherlock, has just solved his best friend’s murder with the help of my own character, Wilbur Henderson. A young Arthur Conan Doyle even makes a brief appearance.
Wattpad, being a fantastic resource, network and community for creative writers, has an option to apply a creative commons license on published stories, and I chose the Attrib. NonComm. ShareAlike CC license.
Originally I was going to write something self-contained rather than serialized, but it seems Wattpad is designed for series. It is a place where fiction (mostly) and blogging meet. We’ve conditioned ourselves to feel pleasure when receiving a like, comment, share, view, etc. on social media, and Wattpad is no different. How many reads and hearts does your story have?
While some might say this practice is only perpetuating our enslavement to online social networks, I also think it’s important that writers get their work out there, to not be so precious about the worlds and fantasies they spend so much time in. The creative commons licenses help overcome that worry of having works stolen. But the benefits of publishing aren’t so much for exposure, but for practice the writing craft, exchanging feedback and connecting with like-minded people. I’m new at all that myself, but having something officially “published” certainly gives me an incentive to keep writing, to not let my story well run dry. People might be reading. People might want to know more. Even if they don’t, I do.
Wattpad is also filled with fan fiction. Though not taken very seriously, which is sometimes well founded, the practice of taking an existing world and adding to it, modifying it, merging it with something else, can be a great creative exercise. It’s almost like growing homemade salt crystals. It starts small, but when submerged in a supersaturated solution, it grows and builds upon itself. Audiences can expand the world of the story and explore the characters, see what they can do with it, test their creative writing chops.
One of the many working slogans for this course certainly applies here: you’re only limited by your imagination.