The Internet isn’t just transforming the world of professional publishing, it’s opening up a whole new world of self publishing, too. Sites like Wattpad have become hubs for people wanting to share their homespun fiction.
One of the benefits of so much fiction being shared digitally (Wattpad says it sees over 150,000 new works uploaded each month) is that trends can be spotted, telling us about what’s on the minds of creative people out there.
One of the most interesting trends Wattpad has spotted in recent months is ‘Facebook fan fiction’. Although not a dedicated fan fiction site, Wattpad says that it began to notice the a rise in fiction inspired by Facebook shortly after the release of the movie The Social Network.
“As critical and mainstream buzz for the film continued to build, a curious ground level activity began to develop; users began creating stories that incorporate Facebook as a character,” explains Wattpad’s Nina Lassam.
However, rather than use the people portrayed in The Social Network as a starting point for a story, writers appear to be using Facebook itself in stories. Lassam gives You’ve Been Tagged as an example. In this story by a 15 year-old author, the narrator is tagged in an ominous photo, forcing the characters to uncover clues via Facebook. “Through out the story, Facebook behaves like a stubborn guardian, revealing its secrets with characterized or human-like irrationality,” says Lassam.
Another example is the story Wait! He’s Real?!, in which a teenage protagonist tells everyone at school she met a boy over the summer. To maintain the illusion, she creates a Facebook Profile and sets her status to “in a relationship with Garrett Cross”. Soon, her wall and that of her friends’ is filled with Garrett’s newest friends and activities. “To Avery’s delight, Facebook, in effect, becomes her imaginary boyfriend,” explains Lassan, who notes that Wattpad carries around 500 stories that writers have given the metatag ‘Facebook’.
Right, I’m off to write a story in which Google Buzz becomes my girlfriend and then cheats on me with Friendster – the hussy!