Friday, June 3, 2016

Wattpad Stars Invade the WP Headquarters

I didn't really quite know what I was signing up for when I received the invite to tour the Wattpad HQ in Toronto but I knew it was something I couldn't possibly miss.

Clockwise: 1) HQ rooftop with everyone still recovering from their travels; 2) 'Nuff said. 3) Toronto has some of the best graffiti I've seen; 4) Wind-blown but happy at the top of CN Tower. 

 In my mind, I was coming for two things: 1) Meet the amazing team I've been working with the past couple years and 2) Get to know other Wattpad writers who know what it's like.

Clockwise: 1) Farewell dinner at Hawker Bar; 2) CN Tower during lunch 3) Farewell dinner again; 4) Family picture; 5) Farewell dinner again

There were maybe about sixteen of us, mostly from US and Canada and a couple others from the UK. It was as diverse a group of genre writers as you could imagine—contemporary young adult, teen fiction, horror, fan fiction, romance, sci-fi, and fantasy, to name a few. And while many of us have never seen or talked to each other our entire lives before, the love for stories and the Wattpad experience brought us a bond we never expected. This might sound cheesy but for me, it was a precious opportunity because I don't know any other writer present in some immediate, relevant manner in my life right now. My husband is an awesome cheerleader (*except he can't dance and I'm not so sure about those short shorts) but it's different talking to other people who, like you, have stories, characters and dialogues swirling in their heads all the time. They had stories and experiences that some of us have learned immensely from, especially in being in a unique platform like Wattpad.

Clockwise: 1) At the Blue Jays vs Red Sox game; 2) Still enjoying the baseball game; 3) Oops, a double; 4) Amazing tour of the Trinity Bellwoods Park by none other than Aron Levitz; 5) The WP stars at HQ's kitchen/dining area

I was also pretty pumped about meeting Anna Todd. Took me the whole weekend to work up the courage to ask for a picture. But she was so sweet and we really learned a lot from her—from handling criticisms, appreciating the readers and fans, writing what you love and so much more. Despite her success, she was very down-to-earth and had a smile for everyone.

Clockwise: 1) The whole gang; 2) Finally, fan-girling over Anna Todd and snapping a pic with her; 3) Will never drink this Coke; 4) I need this clock in my life

We didn't just hang out at WP's HQ, which, by the way, is probably the coolest and funnest office I've ever been in. There was the book-signing for the writers who participated in the Imagines anthology. It was a weird experience for me, in a good way. I'm usually very shy when it comes to book-signings. I would never approach an author. I would hang back and creep around. But there, I was so excited for the other Wattpad Stars as it was their first book signing. There was a huge line-up of fans waiting and it was so sweet to see the interactions, the shy nudges here and there between friends, parents and kids, trying to encourage each other to muster the guts to ask for a picture. I never saw it from that perspective but I was glad I was able to. It cured me of my nerves, that's for sure.

Clockwise: 1) Fans excited to get those autographs; 2) The Imagines squad led by Kfan; 3)Fans of the Imagines anthology lining up for signatures with the Stars

There was also the Wattpad Stars AMA (Ask Me Anything). I honestly thought it would go on for much longer but that hour was still a lot of fun for us. Watch it here.

L-R: 1) CN Tower; 2) TMMM on one of the leaves running down the front staircase; 3) Cupcakes to celebrate the birthdays of a couple of Stars; 4) Best pierogies ever

We went out for a little sight-seeing around downtown Toronto, went to the obligatory Blue Jays game (and they won, yes! and apparently there was a streaker), and walked around Trinity Bellwoods Park. It was just plain good times with such a vibrant, creative group.

L-R: 1) Rogers Centre/SkyDome and CN Tower; 2) View from the CN Tower; 3) My knees were getting wobbly in the five seconds it took me to do this shot and I only had my foot out

We were all sad to say goodbye but it wasn't really farewell. For many of us, it's the start of new friendships and a march into the future that's bright and brimming with stories still to be told.

Team pic with Caitlin (our WP fairy godmother), the wonderful Ashleigh, the goofy Aron, and Allan Lau and Ivan Yuen who founded the company. 

The WP Stars gang who came to Toronto:


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