Story and Photo by Miranda Bowen
In her free time away from school and school-related activities, sophomore Diana Riegel gets settled in the comfort of her own bedroom, grabs her trusty laptop, and logs into Wattpad where her 4.8k followers await her. Riegel leads a busy life while being involved in her writing and many other activities such as Gamers Guild, Creative Writing Club, Cosplay Club and Aquatics Team at school.
Wattpad is an online storytelling community where users post written works such as articles, stories, fan fiction and poems, either through the website or the mobile app. This is the online format Riegel has used for three years so far to write and publish about 32 completed stories, consisting of short stories, fan fiction and novels that are all rated positively by her rapidly growing followers from 55 different countries. Her fame is rising fast as she gains 50-60 active followers daily.
“It takes a lot of time and effort mentally because you have to make up original content and sacrifice time with friends and family, but it’s also one way of releasing my stress so it makes me happy,” Riegel said.
Her books have accumulated a total of about 603,579 reads and counting every day. With Wattpad’s feature that allows readers to comment on chapters and paragraphs, Riegel has been able to help the thousands of people who struggle with problems they relate to in the stories Riegel writes about. Fans swarm to request story ideas and even beg Riegel to update her online books every day and her phone becomes overloaded with notifications.
“Whenever I open up the app and see 99+ notifications, it makes me feel inspired to write more. I absolutely love to see comments like “I can’t wait to see what happens!” and “This story is amazing!”. Comments like that make me want to write the best I can. What I find annoying is when people comment “Update!” and nothing else. It makes me feel like they think I’m some sort of robot that can write 24/7. But overall, I just love to see that people enjoy what I create.” Riegel states.
Fans crave more of her work to the point where they even ask her to sell her books so that her followers can enjoy their favorite stories from her whenever they want as well as financially support Riegel so that she can make professional advancements to the books. From fan fiction to adventure and romance, Riegel gives her followers what they want and sometimes advice that they need through the stories.
“I bring all aspects of the character’s personality so that the reader gets attached to them,” Riegel said. “I’ve helped people with depression and anxiety because I have the ability to keep in touch with my readers and make them happy with the books I write. I hope my writing can make an impact on the readers in a positive way and reaches out to them.”.
Before Riegel discovered the app, Wattpad, it was pen and paper and an idea that started her writing career. The ability for her to share her writing with millions worldwide as well as befriend and follow other writers like her is one thing she loves about Wattpad.
“My favorite feature is that Wattpad sends notifications to my readers when I update my stories and that Wattpad has easy access and customization options for my book covers,” Riegel admits.
From time to time, writers struggle with writer’s block and need some idea or inspiration to create again. When Riegel gets this way, she listens to classical music and looks at pictures of beautiful forests and other landscapes for imagery and character ideas.
“It’s tedious when you don’t have any inspiration. It gets in the way of my uploading schedule.” She complains.
Riegel, Although she’s among some of the most popular content creators on Wattpad, sometimes makes grammar mistakes in her writing that she claims to be one of her insecurities in her writing as well as having an unoriginal idea in her story.
“My goal is to improve on everything from wording and repetition to creating more works for everyone to enjoy,” she said. “It pays off to keep writing this way because I get more experience as an author, become more social with people from all over the world, get feedback and advice from my readers, and get to help them as well because my works are what distract my readers from anything in their life that might be troubling them.”.
Riegel is currently considering a career as an author when she graduates high school and is working on two more novels and a short story that will be published and will be sold digitally for the public to read coming out in spring of 2017.Ri