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The Malaise of Wattpad
mug's game - a pointless or futile activity

I don't understand the over-zealous rules Wattpad has about mentioning-- err, "promoting" your own stories. On the club forums, you're not allowed to post links to your stories except in those designated threads like this one.

Only once in a thread, amidst hundreds of other stories, until the thread gets refreshed (which is 'whenever'). Do you honestly expect readers to go through every advert in every page, so to give these stories a fair chance at being appreciated?

In reality, your story gets drowned out amidst many voices, like that moment in Titanic where the ship has sunk, and you see Rose struggling in the waters amidst hundreds of others, looking for Jack. Since around April of 2013, when they decided to replace the Share Your Story (SYS) club, not once have I gotten a single reader because I've put my advert up in those "Share an 'X-genre' story here!" threads.

And when it comes to people asking "Is there an interesting such-and-such story I can read," you always see the ambassador stepping in and sanitising the opening post: "No links! No suggesting your own stories!" Like here.

It's okay to mention other people's stories to a wanting reader, but not your own? How silly -- what's there to prevent someone from using a different account and mentioning his own story under disguise, for example?

Ultimately, the way things are set up in Wattpad, you're lucky to even get genuine readers.. that is, if you're not writing the usual "Bad Popular Boy meets Nerdy Girl" plot, or "One-Direction/Justin Bieber/Boy Band" fanfic, or "Hunger Games/Twilight/etc." Young Adult derivative. Or if you're not already an established, published author come to make a token visit to the site:

As someone said, the popular books get more popular and the unpopular books stay unpopular.

It's fucking ridiculous.

Maybe if you're really desperate enough, there is the option of signing up for Book Clubs - but the catch is that once the members do read and comment to a certain point in your story.. oui, they do give some detailed comments and critiques, but they do so not because they really want to read more of your story (without you having to nudge them), but because they expect you to give the same to their stories in return.

For example, my incomplete fantasy story, Demon's Paradise.

On chapters 1 and 2, you'll see the club members' comments. After those chapters though, nothing. Except a lone critique from someone else unrelated to the book club.

Or, for asking some critic or an editor to read your story, you have to "pay" them a certain number of comments on their stories.

The thing that really gets me is when you compare Wattpad (writing) to deviantART (visual art). On deviantART, people can quickly fall in love and tell if they like your work, based on the quick thumbnail glances of your stuff.

Wattpad by contrast, all you have to attract people is whatever cover you can make, and the blurb/summary you provide for your story. And perhaps an excerpt line or two. The saying "Never judge a book by its cover" becomes a two-edged sword here, where genuinely interesting writing can easily get overlooked by people (it takes 'effort' to read, hurr durr) in favour of the familiar clichés the masses know and love.

Stanley Kubrick once observed that "most films don't have any purpose other than to mechanically figure out what people want and to construct some artificial form of entertainment for them." People seek the familiar. Whether it be a familiar genre, actors, or a specific kind of emotional gratification, films have become delivery systems for the feelings that we crave. -- Snake Eyes review by tieman64

I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore.


Wattpad and Story Promotions!

Ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAbGeNqqT6Y

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Via Con Me – by QDesjardin

away, away, get away with me
nothing more binds you to these places
not even these blue flowers

let's get away, let's get away, not even this grey time
full of musics and people that you liked

After the velvet curtain has fallen over the illusionist's performance, the applause seems to go on for a very long time. She can still hear it in her ears, long after the applause has diminished away – as she is in the makeup room, wiping away the white powder and eyeliner from her face.

The grips have removed the props from the stage, rendering it bare, with just the black stage floor.

Soon after everyone has left for the night, only silence fills the auditorium, with the dim hum of the ventilation.

Then behind the curtain, a spotlight turns on. Concentrating on a young woman whose lithe form is laid bare for non-existant eyes to see. She is posed, her back arching up to the ceiling, her arms stretched forth and back.

She begins to dance to an imaginary tune. Her feet tap along the floor, swift and quiet and unrestrained – she shuffles to the left, to the right, around the stage's span.

She comes on her toes, stretching herself as far high up as she can, her hands crossing each other, before she collapses down to the ground, as if the strings that have held her up have been cut.

Her eyes glance mournfully at the curtain that will never rise, a smile forming on her lips.

Finally, she stands up and takes a bow at her unseen audience, and she can hear the roaring cheers celebrating her efforts.

One day, the audience will be real.

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Long Live the New Flesh!

It is one gloomy day when I visit my university's computer laboratory that I discover something strange on the floor. Pink and thick organic ooze, splashes of it, trailing down the aisles of Linux PCs. It smells like a combination of raw fish mixed in with that awful rotting egg stench.

I kneel down and take a closer look at the ooze. The pink surface looks swirly, with a mild film of colour (like the surface of a soap bubble).

I take out my pen and I touch it with the tip. The piece of ooze seems to squirm from being punctured, its mass clambering away from my pen's tip, until there is a visible hole around where my pen is. Whatever this thing is, it's alive.

It must be one of those lab experiments from the biology students gone awry.

I follow the trail of ooze, careful not to step on it, until I find its apparent source; there are huge mumps of it concentrated around one computer terminal in the dark corner, staining the keyboard and monitor - with someone's box of Oriental takeout just beside the mouse, and the knapsack underneath the table.

Against my better judgment, I investigate.

(my nose burns and my eyes water)

The contents of the screen show a corrupted terminal interface; someone had been attempting to load 'RAGNAROK.EXE' and the results are a jumble of multi-coloured symbols on the bottom half of the screen, as if whatever ticked the computer off had made it regurgitate all the bytes of its memory.

I notice a scrawled note tucked under the Oriental takeout. Pulling it out, it reads: "The battle for the minds of North America will be fought in the visual arena: the Videodrome. The computer screen is the retina of the mind's eye. Therefore, the computer screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the computer screen emerges as raw experience for those who see it. Therefore, computers are reality, and reality is less than computers."

Then I hear deep, laboured breathing. It sounds as if someone is seriously ill with the flu.

It's coming from the computer screen - the entire screen is shrivelling in and out as if it were someone's chest. I stare at it, baffled, and then I see the screen show Nicky Gumbel, his beady eyes gazing at me and his smile proud and confident.

I see this guy every time I attend Church on Mondays. He preaches about the life of Jesus, and that by dying for us, Jesus took away everyone's sin, so we ought to be grateful for a faerytale character.

"Do you want to know why you are here?" Nicky Gumbel says. "In this room, right by this computer on this very day?"

"Because somebody made a badly mess," I say.

"No! Because you will be the one to help fulfill the prophacy foretold in the New Testament! The Holy Christ shall rise again, and you will be the one to witness it!"

"What happened to the other guy?" I ask.

"He had to go on a vacation," Nicky Gumbel says. "Now com'mere.." A hand pops right out of the screen and grabs me by the collar. It is so sudden that I have no time to react, and I get jerked into the screen, facefirst, squeezing my entire body through the monitior.

To be continued!

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The Darkness - by QDesjardin

In the darkness of your room
lying in bed
your eyes open,

Emptiness envelops you
The wistful air
and the orange glimmering light

Your breaths rattle
in and out

Your heart beats steadily on,
That eternal ticking clock
unwinding inevitably towards

In the darkness of your room
lying in bed
your eyes close.

Hiding away behind the shelter of dreams.

qdesjardin: (Default)

Death, and Life - by QDesjardin

To whom it may concern,

I've died. And yet, I'm still alive. It is very strange, oui? But while I have the time, I wish to let you know - there really is nothing you should be afraid of. Because to fear something is to fear Life itself, and that evil Witch in the faery tales - she is really another human being, like you and me, just wounded by regret and pain.

The same wound exists in many other people today, when you bring your dreams with you to someone, and that someone acts as though they have spat in your face, smothering the light in your dreams, and you are left feeling afraid and empty inside.

Many people can be like that.

It's the original Sin they keep talking about in the Holy Bible, when Adam and Eve have once enjoyed a life of paradise, but wanting more than that, they ate from the forbidden tree of Knowledge, and as a result, it seems as if God has cast them aside into the world which is Today. The world where many wars are being fought over so-called Holy Lands desecrated by human blood as sacrifice to their vengeful Gods. The world of school, and academia, where they have you associate the mediocre learning experience of classrooms with real learning. The world where your parents have been taught by life experience to be afraid of surrendering their children to life itself.

It's the world which I'm still inhabiting, even right now, even if you can't see me. Even if it seems like you're the only one who seems truly alive, when you weep, I weep with you too. When you're jumping for joy, I feel joy too.

When you are silent, that is when I can whisper with you -- do not be afraid, dear one. I'm here. I'm listening. I am a ghost, lingering in you, your holy protector. To the extent which I can, I shall deliver you not just from the Temptation of Evil, but deliver you with Temptation into the Good and Noble.

And what is Evil? The natural antithesis of light is shadow - and whiteness co-exists with the blackness in harried symphony. Light is life and goodness, and Shadow is death and badness. But in actuality, they are the one and the same, separated artificially by words. To say that you will devote your life to pure good, and nothing but pure good - it is as false as saying that you can satiate yourself merely by reading the words of a restaurant menu alone.

But if you look at the Shadow (the Apple of Knowledge) as the regions of Life which you have neglected, then you shall see that the darkness is merely natural, that the darkness is the beautiful night in which the Moon and the Stars have the opportunity to shine. In which unspoken dreams may thrive within the beating heart. After all, "The night is darkest just before the dawn," Harvey Dent says in The Dark Knight (2008).

And for that very reason, seemingly dead trees in Winter come back to life during Spring and Summer; they have not died, they just needed to use a bathroom break.

And for that very reason, I am still alive.

I remember an old tale of sailors who were lost at sea. They were clinging onto a small piece of land above the ocean, and they were ready to die of exhaustion and starvation. The ocean waters battered them, and they decided to die a glorious death. They surrendered themselves to the vast currents, and they did not die.

Instead, they found that the underwater corals were beautiful, and that the fish and sea anonemies were beautiful, and that therefore Life itself is beautiful too. The ocean current drifted them to where there was buried treasure, thought to have been forgotten long ago. And the sailors recovered the treasure and managed to return home by a miraculous rescue from their sailor friends, safe and sound.

And that those who 'die' naturally are really just sound asleep, dreaming a more beautiful life than the one they have led prior. Like me. Like you too, someday. Even if we can't see it yet.

Life goes on, in many different ways it can, whether we want it to or not.

The one question remains; with the life you have right now, do you want to live?

Yours Truly,


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