I continued to experiment with WattPad's Tap, a creative writing app for Android and iOS devices, this time with a story based on characters I created in my book series. As in My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain, The Prank finds Alexander cautious about non-existent dangers at his school. In the chat-based world of Tap, Alexander texts his friend Anthony and explains why he's waiting for just the right moment to enter the school gate. Anthony tries to convince him that he's being unreasonable, but Alexander isn't convinced.
In this Tap-only story, Anthony conspires with Darrell and cooks up the perfect prank to teach Alexander a lesson. Alexander, though, sees the world in his own way, and things don't turn out like Anthony thinks it will.
This time, the story takes place in six separate scenes, with a total of 306 "texts" between Anthony, Darrell and their friends. I posted it a few days ago on Tap, but my little comedy is somewhat lost in the Tap world of horror, romance and fan stories. I'm happy to say, though, that both this and my previous story, Played, will turn up if you search under my Rickflix name.
I enjoyed the on-the-go ease of creating in this format, allowing me to create at any random moment during the day.
Unfortunately, as I've discovered the pay-as-you-go scheme that Tap is using, I'm not certain if I'll continue with this platform. In the app, Tap will allow you to read my story for a couple of minutes, and then present you with a message, Are you addicted yet? and prompt you to either wait 25 minutes to continue reading any story, or "Upgrade to Tap Premium," which can cost $2.99 a week, $7.99 a month, or $39.99 for 12 months of unlimited access to all content. I wonder why I would contribute content to a site that charges readers, but doesn't offer authors compensation for creating readable content.
If you wait the full time to read for free, you can continue reading for a short time, perhaps enough to finish reading the story and start another one, but soon a new prompt will require that you wait another 25 minutes.
To read my story, you could start at the above desktop link, but it will prompt you to download the app on your Android or iPhone, and then the Are you addicted yet? cycle will begin. Suddenly, just reading my little story becomes a chore.
Considering the wide range of free content available elsewhere, I also have to wonder if this concept will work at all. Would you pay for access to uncurated fiction?
Tap is a promising concept, but in the current version, I wonder how much support it will find. Perhaps offering exclusive content by pro authors might encourage subscriptions, but there doesn't seem to be any compensation or reward for those who might develop popular content on the site. That will invariably turn people off.
I'd rather see an ad-based version, which seems to work well for so many other apps. Many readers and writers would support the option of purchasing an ad-free edition. I did that for Words With Friends. I wouldn't mind doing it for a creative app.
Let me know what you think.