From Fanfiction to Widbook: Bel Watson Enters a New Phase
Maybe you have never heard of Moniren Belen. This is the name she was given when she was born in Chile, 23 years ago. “I was raised in the countryside. My sister was younger and my brothers were teenagers, so I was kind of alone, playing with animals and coming up with stories for fun, and it boosted my imagination. I basically discovered books on my own.” she told us softly.
Moniren loved high school musicals and started writing about them in her own way. She built her reputation writing fan-fiction on the internet and gained a legion of thousands of followers, signing as Bel Watson! “My name is difficult to spell and people used to call me just ‘Bel’. Watson is a pen name I had used before,” she said, straight from her hometown in Santiago, Chile.
From changing her University major to shifting the platform where she publishes stories, Bel opened her heart in this exclusive interview and told us how she is trying to find her way in this new phase and how she is dealing with digital fame. “I was feeling upset, before I decided to change,” she pondered.
When we first interviewed Bel, she had just arrived on Widbook, in June 2013. She was a sweet but confident girl and was publishing Love Race: “It is a more mature book, about a woman racing cars and pretending she was a guy. The characters are strong and the plot is developed in a different way.”
Now, almost a year later, she had “Face Down” chosen as ebook of the week by the Widbook team, and we had another great conversation via Skype. More than ever, she knows what she wants. But let’s see how everything started…
“I wrote my first book, ‘Distance’, in one month. I write very fast, but I was not as into quality, but to deliver. In University, writing became my escape from stress. Then I cared more about quality.”
“I studied Geology but was not much into that. All I wanted to do was write and read many books all year long. So my mom, who used to be my teacher in grade school, said to me: ‘Bel, are you sure you want to study Geology? You spend all your time writing…”
“It was a difficult decision. The book market in Chile is complicated, but my parents encouraged me and I changed my major to English Literature and started to write in English.”
ONE DIRECTION SERIES
“I wrote a book for every member of the band, and it became a series with bonus stories, built on characters of people around them. It has received more than 17 million views!”
BACKFIRE AND A SHOT OF TEQUILA
“I took one month to write ‘Backfire’, a teen book which was the first of the series. It was easy to write, the plot is not so strong. I published it on May 2012. I actually had a lot of fun writing this. Alex’s personality, the main character, is very similar to mine, the way she faces life, her thoughts… She is tough and doesn’t like pop music; she has tattoos and piercing. She meets a sweet guy, completely different from her and the story is about learning to deal with differences. The outside is not so important.”
“At the same time I wrote ‘A Shot of Tequila’. It was simple but more mature, the main characters are two friends and it’s about reunion. I was trying to give the same style to a new audience.”
“I was writing fan-fiction because they are easier stories to develop, the characters are already made. Nobody was doing independent series, so people asked: ‘Bel, I love your series, can I do it too?’ I was like: ‘Sure! I didn’t invent it, you can do whatever you want.’ Maybe I became a reference for this kind of series and my fan base grew a lot because of this.”
BECOMING AN IDOL AND STRESSED
“It’s weird and hard to believe, but I became someone who inspires those people and I felt responsible for them in a way. I appreciate my fans, but they wanted more of the same. I felt I was writing only for them, pressured to update ebooks and I hadn’t time for other things I wanted. I didn’t want to disappoint them, but I wanted to try new genres, plots, complex stories.”
“I read 20 books in 2013 and that’s not me. I used to read 300 books in a year! I had more than 100 thousands readers on Wattpad, but I couldn’t stand the situation anymore. I found myself really stressed, writing about things I didn’t want to anymore, no time for reading. All I could think was ‘I am leaving… leaving…’ So I decided.”
“I decided to leave Wattpad because I didn’t like many things there and I felt many people weren’t reading my stories. They liked me because of ‘One Direction’, but I was crossing into a new stage of my writing.”
NEW HOME AND FREEDOM
“I saw on Widbook the opportunity to create a different setting for my writing and I feel peace on Widbook. I am much happier now. Things are better since I made the decision. I might have left thousands and thousands of readers behind, but now I have free time, to read as much as I want, to study, for my friends, to go to movies. Now I am writing for myself, for my friends.”
“It’s been so much easier for me. I used to update each book twice a week, now I update once a week. I can relax too. I study at night too, so I write on weekends. So ok, just one update every week and I feel great. I feel so much lighter. I feel free to do whatever I want.”
MORE STORIES ON WIDBOOK
Post It: “It’s a story I am writing for one of my best friends. She is the main character. I love to write for my friends. I use them as characters in many books.”
Call Me Ella: “It`s the Book #1 in the Aware Princess Series.”
Brave Bold Belle: “That’s another book I wrote for a best friend. She actually hates the end of Princess stories, especially the Beauty and the Beast. The character is based on her.”
Rewind: ” This is the story of how I got a chance to rewind and mend my life.”
“I like to read romance and comedies. The last book I read was “We Were Liars”. My favorite author is Julie Kagawa. I love all her stories. I like John Green as well and many others.”
THE BEST ADVICE
“All I can say to my readers and to everyone who wants to write great stories is: Keep reading. Read as much as you can. Reading is a source of inspiration; it helps me to come up with new ideas.”
“I love to eat Empanadas, of course, but I am a vegetarian, so my mom uses soy, cheese, mushrooms, which is delicious! I love Humitas as well”.
“I want to keep writing my books and trying new stories. I have new ideas and topics for upcoming projects. I`ll graduate in the end of this year. So next year, when I finish Uni, I don’t want to be here in Chile anymore. I want the English to be everywhere. I want to live new things. I want to go to Europe.”
WIDBOOK IS SUPPORTING A TWITCAM WITH BEL WATSON NEXT FRIDAY, MAY 30. TWITCAM IS A LIVE BROADCAST THOUGHT TWITTER. TO WATCH IT LIVE, SIMPLY GO TO HER TWITTER ACCOUNT ON MAY 30 AT 7 PM EST AND USE THE HASHTAG #ASKBELWATSON TO INTERACT.
TO PARTICIPATE WITH QUESTIONS, USE THIS FORM: http://goo.gl/O
qvf22 AND SEND THEM IN ADVANCE SO SHE CAN ANSWER IT LIVE.
Bel Watson and her daddy