“Drake Swift has never lost a bet with his best friend–until now. His punishment? Make a girl in school fall for him and then break up with her just as she’s fallen for him. But who would be oblivious enough to fall for that? Her.
Enter Sophia Taylor–quiet, brainy, and unassuming–the perfect pawn for their game. And for Drake, that’s all it is–a game. But is it? Drake finds out that Sophia is quite more than he bargained for. Perhaps he has her figured out all wrong. The real question is, will Drake win the bet, or will Sophia win him over instead?”
Google the movie She’s All That and you’ll pretty much know where The Bet is going. And although the author tries to twist the story towards a different direction pretty early on, it really doesn’t change the trajectory of her story. This is She’s All That, except without solid development for our main characters.
In the spirit of fairness, the book does feature two fully-formed characters: the two protagonists are actual people–except closer to perfection. But what else would you expect from fiction, right?
Wrong. Because fiction doesn’t mean the characters have to be boring. There is no thrill in The Bet because you don’t see the characters reaching a point in their relationship where their deception at the start of the story would actually cause irrepairable damage. You know the two are going to end up together, regardless of the obstacles that appear out of nowhere.
But the book didn’t have to be a chore to read. Author Villanueva has the potential, she just needs to be reigned in. Her storytelling is all over the place, and names and events are pulled out of thin air to push the plot forward, or to cause conflict. Unfortunately, her story didn’t seem to have gone through an editor.
And that’s essentially my problem with the physically published Wattpad stories I’ve read so far. In the publisher’s (and I’m guessing the author’s as well) desire to keep the story in its original version, to please the fans, they forget that they’re also trying to sell these books to non-fans, to more discerning readers.
They’re forgetting that they’re not helping the local publishing industry by producing less than quality novels. And please, don’t use Twilight as an example of a novel that became a hit regardless of its content and writing. Do we really want to market a book as “something better than Twilight?” That’s not much of a compliment.
At the same time, since the target market of these books are the ones who have read the stories online already, wouldn’t it be better to give them a familiar story made better by editing? After all, that’s what separates published authors from self-published authors: good editors.
So I plead to Summit Books, its off-shoot Pop Fiction Books, and even Psicom and whoever else wants to publish Wattpad stories and the likes. Edit the stories. Make them cohesive. Make them readable.
Make them marketable internationally.
I mean, look at Mina Esguerra’s books. I’m not always a fan, but you can tell that there is thought behind the placement of events, that plot developments happen naturally and are almost never deus-ex-machinas. Use that as a template.