What is a Web Novel? |SOE 017 5-05-2023

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What is a Web Novel? |SOE 017 5-05-2023 Story Over Everything

Join MJ for a casual look at Web Novels. He puts some important questions to them, such as “Who is your daddy and what does he do?”

What is the definition of a Web Novel?

What was the first Web Novel?

Are Web Novels genre-specific?

What are the criteria for a Web Novel?

Are Web Novels the new magazine serials? Could they be for me?

MJ Says

1. What is the definition of a Web Novel?

1A. Also known as Web fiction, it is writing of a novel serialized over a website.


1B. For some reason, Light Novel was the first search result I found. The Web fiction wiki cited above mentions near the end that Web fiction is big and profitable in China. I know of Light Novels as “anime book series” featuring anime illustrations in them. As near as I can tell Light Novels are all published physically first, so I reject this claim. 


2. What was the first Web Novel?

2A. The PowerBook by Jeanette Winterson October 09, 2001

2B. Don’t forget about all that 90s fan fiction, there were certainly book length fans stories being posted online then.

A big list of web fiction 

3. Are Web Novels genre-specific?


4. What are the criteria for a Web Novel?

I think it’s just a novel serialized on a website.

The more I look around, the more it seems like Web Novel has taken on the character of a technical term seemingly connected to the Chinese market and aftermarket, meaning non-Chinese who enjoy the material as well. It almost seems like the Light Novel is Japanese and the Web Novel is Chinese. This makes sense as “Web Novel” is what the Japanese company Toei is calling their DIGIMON SEEKERS project which is being released in Japanese, English and Chinese simultaneously.

5. Are Web Novels the new magazine serials?

Yes in that they are a way to serialized a novel, but no in that the scale of distribution is vastly different. Maybe I can cross-publish to Tapas or one of the current text/book focused web fiction sights. I won’t be drawing a comic, so I would not think Webtoons is a good place for my stories to go, but I can explore that further.

6. Could they be for me?

Yes. At minimum I can publish my stories here on MJMunoz com chapter by shapter. I have dabbled in this before and called it WIP, that is Writing in Public. I haven’t thought of that recently as I have been so focused on writing the Grobug Series with the goal of crowdfunding the money for artwork for the 5 picture books. Why can’t I do it all though? I can publish my web fiction here, distribute it more widely and then seek an audience who is interested in seeing the world of Grobugs come to life with images.

ChatGPT 3 Says

MJ NOTE: I fact-checked ChatGPT 3’s response and it incorrectly reported on the first web novel. I don’t see anything in Cory Doctorow’s bibliography called “The Golden Age of Science Fiction.” The rest of the response is fairly solid. I could have just put my questions to ChatPGT and fact checked the Doctorow claim. It would have saved me a lot of time and energy.

A web novel is a novel or long-form written work that is primarily published on the internet, usually on a dedicated website or platform. Unlike traditional novels, which are published in physical form or through established publishing houses, web novels are often self-published or published through online platforms.

The first web novel is difficult to pinpoint, as the concept of publishing written works on the internet has been around for decades. However, one of the earliest and most well-known web novels is “The Golden Age of Science Fiction,” which was published online by author Cory Doctorow in 1993.

Web novels can cover a wide range of genres, from fantasy and science fiction to romance, mystery, and more. There are no genre-specific requirements for web novels, and writers are free to explore any type of story they wish.

The criteria for a web novel are generally the same as those for traditional novels: a complete and cohesive story that engages readers and delivers a satisfying narrative arc. However, because web novels are often published serially, they may have different pacing and structure than traditional novels.

Web novels have become a popular alternative to magazine serials in recent years, as more and more readers turn to the internet for their reading material. If you enjoy reading serialized stories, web novels may be a great option for you. Many web novels are available for free, making them a low-risk way to try out new authors and genres.


Digimon Seekers

Grobug Series


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