Time travel, a witch, and a descendant of Joan of Arc spring from the imagination onto the page — virtual page in this instance. River Forest resident Amelia Dellos has captivated readers with her online novel and snagged the 2017 Watty Award from Wattpad, a web and app-based writing platform for original stories. It boasts a community of 60 million users worldwide.

Dellos’ novel, Delilah: Recovered, the first in a trilogy and a few years in the creating, had already been completed before she discovered Wattpad. She had sent it out and attended writing conferences to have agents look at it, but they weren’t passionate about it. Then she heard about online writing platforms, Wattpad being the “most prominent.”

“It’s a You Tube for writers,” Dellos said. “You instantly receive feedback, stars and the number of page views and reads. I wanted to see how people who don’t know me would react.”

She began putting her story up in January and got plenty of positive feedback. When the chance to enter into the Watty Awards came up, she seized the opportunity by simply adding #Wattys2017 to her novel. She was not alone; more than 284,000 other stories were entered by 194,500 writers.

The readers cast their votes and Dellos received an email telling her she was a finalist. Then she received the email naming her among the winners, one of 30 for 2017 in six different categories. Delilah: Recovered won in “The Breakthroughs,” which, according to the Wattpad website, is for writers who “deserve to be discovered and … up-and-comers in storytelling who delighted readers and caused a stir on Wattpad.”

“I was on a cloud,” Dellos said. “I’ve been working on this project for a couple of years. My goal is a path to publishing. Now I can say I have X views on Wattpad.”

As of this week, Dellos’ 70-part story has 47,800 reads and received 3,300 votes to earn her the award.

She is still working on “one more pass” of her novel to get it where she wants it for publishing and has started part two of the trilogy, Delilah: Forsaken, which is also being put on Wattpad in response to reader demand.

But that is not all Dellos is busy with. She’s a public relations professional by day and also a screenwriter, working with her husband and partner, Eric Anderson, at their production company Corn Bred Films. In the works is Oriole Park, which explores the impact on a neighborhood when a serial killer lives among them.

“It is based on John Wayne Gacy,” she said. “I grew up five blocks away.”

While she feels screenwriting and creative writing of novels complement each other, Dellos, 45, is always trying to hone her craft. She is currently taking Advanced Writing at StoryStudio Chicago where she is discovering how to add her voice and more texture to her work.

“Writing is a craft and you just have to keep at it,” she said. “It can be a long, long journey.”

To read “Delilah: Recovered,” go to wattpad.com or get the Wattpad app on Google play, Microsoft, or the App Store.

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