In another effort to update the conventional serial work, Wattpad, the online writing community, is publishing The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home, a collaborative work of fiction produced by acclaimed Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood and emerging U.K.-based author Naomi Alderman, who wrote alternating chapters of the comic zombie novel. The story can be read for free on Wattpad, which will post the first three chapters of the 13-chapter story today and will post new chapters each Wednesday until the story is finished in January.
The writers were brought together under the auspices of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts initiative, which pairs a young artist and an established artist together to work on a collaborative project over the course of the year. Wattpad was chosen to be the publishing platform for the writing project. The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home is dark and comic novel about a New York teenager who must deal with the zombie apocalypse after her mom turns into a zombie and eats her dad.
The two writers wrote alternating chapters, both making sure to leave the other a mess of complex and comically overwrought narrative problems to resolve in the next chapter. “The whole process kept me on my toes; it was a lot of fun,” said Atwood, acclaimed Canadian novelist, essayist, critic and a commanding international literary figure. “For me it was pretty daunting to know that my words would be sitting next to those of my personal writing hero! But once I managed to swallow that--like a zombie chewing on delicious brains--it became gleefully joyful to think of some interesting challenges,” said Alderman, a novelist who won the 2006 Orange Award for New Writers and was namedThe Sunday TimesYoung Writer of the Year in 2007.
An online writing community with millions of members, Wattpad attracts writers looking for a community to provide feedback and support. The site is focused on people reading on mobile devices. Material posted on Wattpad is available to be read for free and the site has served as platform that helps writers develop their work and, in some cases, find publishers.
Wattpad founder Alan Lau said the project shows how online serialization can work in the mobile reading community. “The majority of people on Wattpad are reading on their mobile phones so we believe there is a great fit between serialization and today’s mobile-first, social networked culture. The chapter-by-chapter model is something that is helping many writers connect with readers to find success,” Lau said.