I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding why I took down my story ‘Starstruck Summer’ and this is hopefully an explanation you will understand.
Back when I was in elementary school there was this thing called Bathroom Wall on Facebook. I’m not sure if anybody remembers it. But the concept was that people would anonymously post their secrets for anybody on Facebook to read. Eventually, it turned into a platform for writers to create stories and get comments asking for more chapters.
When they got rid of Bathroom Wall I was heartbroken, to say the least, because not only did I love reading those amateur stories but I also loved writing them. It wasn’t until grade ten that one of my classmates introduced me to Wattpad. It was like Bathroom Wall only like 100 times better. I HAD to get on it.
The first story I read on Wattpad was called The Kissing Booth and it has been published since then. It was overwhelmingly popular and I thought, hey I can totally write a story like that. Thus, the creation of a little story called Maybe I’m Starstruck, Maybe You Love Me.
I will embarrassingly admit that I Googled ‘how to become popular on Wattpad’ to figure out how to get reads on my unwritten story. There was a sarcastic Yahoo Answers response that said that you would need a super cliche concept and a title that gives the whole story away. And I knew how unimpressed the commenter was but at that point I wanted reads, I didn’t care about putting out a genuinely amazing story. It was just a hobby.
At sixteen one of my favourite book series was titled Secrets of My Hollywood Life I LOVED it because it exposed the media and the lives of celebrities unlike anything I’d ever read before. I was also a huge concert junkie and music addict. So I took my fascination with celebrity lives and the artificiality of it all and combined it with my love for music and Maybe I’m Starstruck, Maybe You Love Me was born. (Notice how extremely obvious the title is… thanks Yahoo Answers responder).
I didn’t even try to write a quality story. I wrote a story that I thought would get reads. I introduced a hot celebrity, an innocent high school senior and threw them on a tour together. The sexual tension was there right off the bat. The story took me a couple years to complete and I found my writing improving with every new chapter.
I had some major mistakes in my story:
- I was writing about a high school senior when I was only a sophomore
- I thought I knew how the music industry worked, I didn’t
- I didn’t develop the plot well enough, it was half a page of background story and then HELLO, action
- It was cliche AF
- It was unrealistic
But looking back I also did some things I’m proud of
- I researched the hell out of Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0 Tour” and based all the cities and dates of Seth’s tour on that
- I made the reader wait a looong time before Seth and Kassidy got together
- My writing improved drastically throughout the duration of writing the story
- I still continued even though I wasn’t getting the reads I’d wished for
But after Maybe I’m Starstruck, Maybe You Love Me I started to write other stories. Slowly, I watched my writing improve with each one. Notably, the first short story I ever took seriously became featured on Wattpad and now has over a million reads. I am beyond proud of Trapped. I did things differently with it that I never could have done had I not started with Starstruck.
So once I had all these stories that I was way more proud of, I went back to Starstruck and started editing.
But here’s the thing.
I’m a radio and television major and I’ve taken several courses about the industry and more specifically, the music industry. I’ve had so much more experience. I’ve interned for radio and television stations and I’ve learned all the nuts and bolts. So reading Starstruck only made me cringe because it was so wrong…
I tried to fix it. I even changed the title to Starstruck Summer because I couldn’t stand the cliches. But still, it wasn’t something I was happy putting my name on. I’d started it for all the wrong reasons and even though I was grateful it made me a better writer, I just couldn’t stand looking at it anymore.
I unpublished the story today. I don’t want to let it go and I will probably return to it in the future to re-write it and make it right this time. But for now it’s time to move on to better stories that I am writing for me and my readers… not for reads.
I think that’s the issue with Wattpad. Writers write for the wrong reasons. They see a story has millions of reads and think ‘wow I need to write like this to become popular’. But why do you want to put your name on something so poorly written? Maybe it’s fun now but one day you’ll look back and wince and wonder what was I thinking!?
And seriously, what had I been thinking?