Big News: Saying Hello to the Wattpad Stars Program

What is the Wattpad Stars program

Wattpad is the train you want to be on.

Note: I’ve veered from the focus of this blog lately, but this is still my primary online home for my writing, and the news lately is too good not to share. Your regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly.

The 100 MPH Wattpad ride continues. Today, I was accepted into the Wattpad Stars program, which is like winning American Idol and the Super Bowl and finding 20 bucks in the laundry on a social reading site with 45 million readers. There is no level above this, and it even comes with a free T-shirt and a morality clause (really) and high-buck sushi served with white gloves (not really).

The Stars program is where Anna Todd, a fanfic writer, inked a six-figure book deal and scored a contract with Paramount for the adaptation. Other writers moved 240,000 books through deals like this one. It’s also where there are more opportunities like the writing I did for The Exorcist and FOX Television. It’s the real deal.

To be frank, I was skeptical of Wattpad when I originally joined. Why post content for free? How does that get me anywhere? But in a little over a year since joining, back when I was certain the amount of damns to give for my fiction fell somewhere between “meh” and “maybe,” I’ve learned that my approach needed to change instead of my writing. In fact, the entire online publishing model is changing. And it’s changing into what Wattpad is proving out day after day.

I always tell writers who ask about Wattpad that it’s a long game, a slow burn, something that demands patience. But some things are worth waiting for. I’m excited to see where this new path leads, and not for a minute wondering if I made the wrong choice by publishing there.

You can check out my profile on Wattpad here. If you’re a writer, join for free here. Readers, there are millions of stories to check out, and it won’t cost you a dime to jump in here.

So “The Exorcist” TV Show Sponsored My Wattpad Horror Story

Exorcist TV Show Wattpad

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by FOX Television via Wattpad Studios to do some writing related to the new The Exorcist TV show debuting Sept. 23 on FOX. Specifically, they wanted me to write an alternate ending that played along similar themes in my short horror story on Wattpad, When the Black-Eyed Children Knock.

You can read the alternate ending (for free!) here on Wattpad.

You can also read the entire story from start to finish here. It’s free to check out on Wattpad.

This was an incredible opportunity to have my writing reviewed (and approved!) by FOX, and that this came together in the way that it did is still shocking. It happened so fast. You can bet I got this in ahead of deadline.

Wattpad: Opening New Opportunities for Writers

That little 10,000-word short story took on a life of its own on Wattpad, with more than 350,000 reads. The opportunities it pulled into its orbit, facilitated by the Wattpad staff, are incredible. This is the third major movie/TV studio I’ve had some sort of involvement with via Wattpad. (The others I can’t say too much about for now.)

Cool factor aside, writer-wise Wattpad’s model is one I think will eventually disrupt the current publishing market as much as the Kindle did not long ago. Tying sponsored content to well-read stories on social reading apps like Wattpad satisfies the younger generations of readers’ appetites for free content inside of a social experience while simultaneously paying writers to write. When I compare this Wattpad experience to some of my others in publishing, it’s clear to me where the puck is headed in the next three to five years.

Also: The People Behind the Scenes at Wattpad are Terrific

Seriously. Count yourself lucky if you ever get the chance to work with them. What a great group of people.

Don’t Forget to Watch the Show

The Exorcist debuts on Friday, Sept. 23, on FOX. I’ll be watching. Will you?


One Fantasy Writer’s Secret Weapon: Archery Lessons

bow and arrow lessons for writers of fiction

The best way to write about weapons in fiction is to get your hands on some. If you can swing it, one-on-one instruction in a controlled environment is best. (Jamie Woods image via

Today’s guest post comes from fantasy writer Sara Letourneau, someone I came in touch with via the 2016 Writer’s Digest Conference. When she mentioned she took a 10-week archery lesson to better understand the weapons in her stories, I couldn’t help but ask for a post for this site. Be sure to check out her website here for more of her terrific work. Enjoy!

-Ben Continue reading

Reader Question: What are the Advantages of Compact Handguns Versus Full-Sized Models?

Writing Fiction: Beretta Pistol Sizes

jennifer chase crime writerThis question comes from crime writer and criminologist Jennifer Chase. If the name sounds familiar to you, you’ve either discovered her terrific Emily Stone series of crime novels or been paying attention to her excellent criminology posts in service of the writing community.

She recently wrote in with this question: Continue reading

Fightin’ Fiction: 5 Melee Myths

A terrific post from Aeryn Rudel about melee weapons.


One of my many hobbies is HEMA, or historical European martial arts, wherein folks study various fighting manuals from the medieval and renaissance periods and attempt to recreate these martial disciplines as accurately as possible. Once you swing a sword the way it’s meant to be swung and then do a little historical research, you quickly find popular media presents combat with swords, axes, maces, and other crushy, stabby, pointy things . . . well, uh, incorrectly would the nicest way to put it.

So, from the author’s perspective, if you wanted to portray your melee combat more realistically, how would you go about doing it? Well, research is always the best answer, and it couldn’t hurt to at least watch some HEMA sparring to get an idea of what certain types of sword fighting probably looked like (or even take a few classes yourself). That said, I think the five “myths”…

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