Full disclosure, this blog post started out as a reaction to a talk the CEO of Telepathic gave. Her product, Hooked, is a mobile fiction app that I have a wonderful time writing for and is very unconventional. It delivers flash-fiction stories in the form of texting conversations. I’m really happy I’ve had the chance to grow as a writer under this strange constraint, and think it has forced me to grow in a way I wasn’t expecting to as an artist.
Some of what she said in the first half seemed very obvious to me as a writer, and as soon as she showed some of the biggest blockbuster films of the past few years, I knew that a large part of their success could be tied back into the fact that they started as books…and in some instances, that they started as community-driven stories on blogs or sites like Fanfiction.net (which is in the top 450 most traffic websites ON THE INTERNET) Wattpad, Tablo, and other sites are growing in popularity, and what a lot of authors overlook is how much joy it can bring readers to feel like they are early adopters or getting behind-the-scenes sneaks at the creation process.
Fiction has never been a solitary creation process. A good story needs a great content editor, a good line editor, and even strong beta readers before that. I think in the arts we tend to stress the quality of our beta-readers (i.e. people we personally trust or are themselves successful/experts) whereas the tech world tends to seek out beta-testers in greater quantity from a pool of potential users to determine what the experience will be for the average user. It is so interesting to watch Telepathic cross these boundaries and reimagine conventions!