Over the past couple weeks my daughter, TheChildF, has been doing some research and writing a report on it. (Why? Because I’m a monster and am not giving her a break during her school Christmas break. Monster, I tell you.) In the interest of providing some content for the temporarily languishing blog, here it is. (Why? Because I’m a monster.)
Wattpad Fanfic Report
Sturgeon’s law states that “90% of everything is crap”, and I wanted to see if that applied to Wattpad fanfiction too. Seeing as Wattpad has a reputation for badly written stories, I wasn’t expecting much. By skimming the first chapter or so of the top 5 stories in the hot category in 10 fandoms, I have concluded that out of the 50 stories I had read, 2 were good enough that I would keep reading them. 13 of the 50 were passable by Wattpad standards, a deliberately lowered bar.
I came in with the hypothesis that more than 90% of Wattpad works were awful. This is based on Sturgeon’s law, which states that “90% of everything is crap”.
- a healthy dose of spare sanity
- the strength to go on
First, I chose 10 fandoms to read 5 fanfics each on. Instead of randomly choosing them, I got popular and well-known fandoms, as well as some smaller ones I had heard about in passing. I picked out the top 5 stories from the hot listing, but it would have produced a better result if I had sorted by new instead because the worst stories are usually excluded from the hot list.
I read at least 500 words of each story, though inevitably some had multiple chapters of character introductions and song recommendations. Additionally, if I was unable to tell if a story was passable or not, I would read a few chapters past the first one.
I automatically rejected a story if it met the following criteria:
- excessive capitalization, spelling, and punctuation errors
- improper writing mechanics
- excessive, pointless swearing
|Fandom||Passable by Wattpad Standards||Good Enough that I’d Keep Reading|
|My Hero Academia||2/5||0/5|
|Lord of the Rings||2/5||1/5|
|Game of Thrones||3/5||1/5|
By the time I realized I sorted by hot instead of new, I had already worked through most of the stories, so I kept the same sorting and didn’t worry about it. It would probably be better to sort by new next time (if there is a next time). I also noticed that, as I read more fanfiction, my standards for Wattpad stories changed for the worse. I decided to read all of the stories first, then decide if they were passable.
Sturgeon was an optimist. Two out of the fifty stories I read were something I’d continue reading, which isn’t a good look for general Wattpad quality. The other 11 passable stories were not good enough to keep reading and were “good” only compared to the really bad stories on Wattpad.