Lazy Chat with Brandon Wong
Written by: Denise Nguyen
Photographed by: Dylan Wee
As seen in the April 2019 issue of Lazy Faire magazine
Brandon Wong — fourth year student, HR major, Marketing minor, AIBC exec, and a Wattpad superstar. Since making it big on Wattpad, Brandon has traveled to conferences and earned many writing opportunities. Brandon has also recently been featured on UofA’s Folio website and media outlet, CityTV.
Lazy Faire and Brandon talk about the beginnings of his hit, Playing By The Rules, what he’s working on now, and what he’s looking forward to.
How did this all start?
I started writing [in] August 2015. I didn’t find a job that summer, so I stayed at home for the most part. I wanted to read, and stumbled upon Wattpad. The thing about Wattpad is that it’s all user-generated content. I was reading something I quite enjoyed, and I looked at the author’s profile, and went, ‘oh!’ The author was a seventeen-year old. I was eighteen at the time, and figured, ‘if she can write something like this, I may not be too bad either.’
The first draft was forty-four chapters, and that took about eight months. I finished it when I was done Year One [of university]. I just kept going, and by that time it had gained more traction. By August, I hit about a million. I thought, ‘I could really do something with this.’ So I went back, and I started revising it, and making it better. That process took over two years. I just finished the second draft around the end of 2018.
You’ve said before that you write every day. Are these personal projects, or do you have something coming up?
I’m always writing something. I have a short story that I just finished, and I have two other projects. One’s been ongoing since 2016, and the other one, I just started January of this year. I’m very excited to continue that one.
After graduation, are you going to stay on Wattpad, or are you going to dabble in other platforms?
I’m probably going to work towards something related to my degree, but I’m definitely going to keep honing what I do. I don’t see myself entering other platforms; Wattpad’s been great to me. They’ve given me a lot of resources and support. There’s a lot of growth, so I’m probably going to stay there and see how it pans out.
Do you hear from readers a lot? You said you take feedback from readers often.
It’s really interesting to see where readers leave comments, like when they get worked up over a plot twist. Those numbers really help me see where readers are more engaged. Analytics play a big part in how I structure my story. I do read all the comments, and if I’m busy, I’ll save them up for a week before I go through them. I’ve been called out a few times. The readers get mad at you for doing it — they’re not really mad, but they’re mad because they’re into the story, which is exactly what I want. I will take feedback positively.
About the online community — you have a group of fans, and I’m guessing you have a group of writers you get in touch with often?
Let me tell you all about my friends on Wattpad, and show some love for them on the feature. Definitely a great group of writers. I’ve met a lot of people since starting. From my initial reader group, those people have been good to me. They’ve shaped the story into what it is today. Without their support, it definitely would have been harder to find success. The initial version was not that great. Along the way, I’ve met with a bunch of great writers. We’ve had the opportunity to meet at WattCon, so I got to meet them in Toronto and then New York.