Discussion Anyone having the same problem as me? Trouble reading web serials.

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by LysUltima, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. Westeller

    Westeller mochi mochi Staff Member

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    That’s only sort of true, now, and less so each year. The issue is the latter group you mentioned: readers. Even if certain genres, tropes, idioms and idiosyncrasies were unique to the culture, the novels themselves share that culture with the rest of the world, and readers who experience it go on to write their own stories heavily influenced by what they’ve read. We’ve started to see originals crop up from western authors that look remarkably similar to those of eastern origin.

    As time passes, it matters less and less where you were born, and more and more simply what you’ve been exposed to.
     
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  2. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Books about being bakers might stem from a different cultural difference. This is just speculation on my part, but the idea of running a small bakery can be seen as unambitious. In the West, not trying to be a successful business owner and instead running a small business might be a cultural, “no”.

    In the East where novels show people dying from literally overworking themselves or where in the news people commit sucide due to the high stress of their lives. While this is also pushed by a mindset of sacrifice the now for future success, it’s also leading to burn out. Said burn out then leads to a longing for a “slow” life of being a baker.

    Romance is a positive in both cultures. In the West, if someone is a baker, then said someone will probably be seen as a homemaker. Homelife is probably seen as wanting/needed a romantic partner cause of a mindset of that’s what’s needed to make a satisfying home-life. (Again, this is all just speculation on my part.)

    @Westeller Yes, I never intended to imply the opposite of that. Culture is influenced by what you are exposed to. By reading manga, LN/WN/, etc, watching anime, and playing games, different cultural aspects will be transmitted to the consumers. It will remain a niche for a while, mainly to those who are interested in it, but will slowly grow to be introduced/consumed by people outside the subculture that has an interest in it
     
  3. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    Well, I know that I read historical Chinese novels because they're outright better than their English-language equivalents. So that's a pretty incentive right there.
     
  4. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Aspect of Destruction』

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    ... The term Light Novel technically only means that the novel doesn't use many complex kanji, so it's easier for children and teenager to read them.

    It has nothing to do with grammar or hard to understand description, it's just an overall lower number of kanjis than what you'd expect from Japanese novels.
     
  5. LysUltima

    LysUltima Riichi! Tsumo! Toitoi! Suuankou!?

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    I think you guys are forgetting that LNs are also published novels.
     
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  6. canaria23

    canaria23 『  』

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    That what I said
     
  7. pass1478

    pass1478 A girl in a bear suit pajama

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    "Regular" books and novels as compared to light novels and web novels?

    The biggest difference to me, solely based on the content and not the audience, is that WNs and LNs try to catch your attention all the time while having an easy to understand dialogue and exposition, fit for lighthearted or easy reading; "regular" books and novels don't usually try to catch your attention all the time, and they use more long winded and lengthy paragraphs and sentences, they're also more descriptive and subtle, fit for long and heavy reading sessions or something, at least to me.

    I used to be an avid paperback reader, but after reading WNs and LNs, I easily got bored of reading them. I recently bought Alexandra Bracken's "The Darkest minds", the first book of a series, and its second book "Never fade". I quickly got bored of it it, then I just stopped after finishing the second book. It was a good book though, it had nice characters, a very interesting plot, and its own soft magic system; it's just that I got bored of it. WNs and LNs have spoiled me rotten with quick, easy, and interesting reads, now I can't easily go back to paperbacks and all that lol. Though, I still ocassionally read paperbacks, like the one I most recently finished and enjoyed: Strugatskys' "Roadside Picnic", a post apocalyptic novel about people diving through alien ruins in search of artifacts, trying to make a profit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
  8. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    Nah, web novels can be just as good as "regular" books. They can be just as literate and has just as much gravity. There's nothing intrinsically problematic about serialized fiction and indeed some of the best books ever written were serialized to begin with. They only get a bad reputation because readers insist on sticking to weaker books rather than trying out the good stuff.
     
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  9. pass1478

    pass1478 A girl in a bear suit pajama

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    I don't know. I've always been wondering where and what the boundary of what makes a novel a LN or a "real" novel, outside of audience, country, language, and other aspects that aren't pure writing.
     
  10. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    The demarcation seems to be a lot more clear when it comes to Japanese publishing. Most Japanese web novels are written by strict amateurs with no creative writing experience (or talent). So why these books get turned into light novels they get the benefit of professional editors so things like properly constructed sentences and paragraphs start showing up. The difference between these light novels and regular adult fiction is that there's more kanji and more advanced vocabulary in general. Think of it like the difference between YA fiction and regular English-language literature.

    When it comes to Chinese web novels, the difference can be a lot more minute and you'll see webnovels published as regular books all the time. Often there would be little difference between the two other than the published novel getting a bit of extra polish.
     
  11. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

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    One thing to remember too is that terms such as YA or LN are ultimately just marketing labels, there can still be outliers that don't conform to what one would expect from those labels, but still published under them.
     
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  12. Kiki0246

    Kiki0246 Top Notch Fujoshi, Owner of ISO TLs

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    I think it’s also worth noting that the webnovel industry is arguably a lot more developed and popular in eastern countries over western countries. While Wattpad is mostly teenagers writing stuff, there’s tons of web novelists in Asia who do it for a living and have their web novels adapted into manhuas, dramas, and other stuff. Top tier web novels are essentially published novels.
     
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  13. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    *Lys has re-entered the chat*
     
  14. TaffyGirl13

    TaffyGirl13 just a casual translator~

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    Just going to casually drop in and add that Taiwanese LNs are a thing too (ie. Legend of Sun Knight). Literally published books that only exist in physical form and definitely go through a pretty rigorous and tough publishing screening and processing. The definition of LN in this case I think is pretty similar to JP one: they’re novels meant for “lighter reads”, which usually means shorter in length and more dialogue than a standard novel. Also has ACG style art, whether it’s cover only or has insert artwork between as well. However, while Taiwanese LNs definitely have a clear influence from JP LNs, they still have a more formal tone/language usually geared more towards high school > young adult rather than middle school > high school, and a lot more poetic when it comes to descriptions. Usually less dialogue and more scene-setting than JP LNs as well. So while I personally cannot read JP/KR WNs or LNs, I love Taiwanese LNs. Though I’m sure some of the differences in tone are partially related to translations and language culture as well (I usually read Taiwanese LNs in its original language, while JP/KR I would have to read translations, and obviously a novel would tend to sound much more natural in its original language).

    As for Chinese WNs...I’ve phased out of those for the most part for a long time. I think the issue with WNs is not necessarily the lack of editing (though that’s definitely a factor), but the fact that the platform is designed so that authors earn more witj higher words counts. In other words, they purposely drag stories out for hundreds and thousands of chapters as their source of revenue (often daily), and it’s so easy for plots to worsen or gain more flaws the longer it is. Also usually results in worse endings because of the dragged-out story with too many loose ends.

    On the other hand, LN authors get paid by book sales and popularity of the series only, not length. This usually means the plot is a lot more condensed, with less unnecessary filler. Moreover, they have less qualms about ending a series when it is most appropriate. Plus, given the natural long lead time of a book getting published, they have more time to work and refine and plan out the following books, unlike WN authors who just have to pump out content as quickly as possible. In this way, LNs are much more similar to standard novels.

    One of the big advantages WNs have though, is the constant feedback from the readers and the flexibility to easily and immediately chnage the story to better match the readers’ will. On the other hand, LNs, like standard novels, usually cannot deviate much from its original intended plot by the author midway, which also means they are a lot more hit-or-miss with audience than the moldable WNs. Of course, this is also a double-edged sword, as following criticisms and trying to please everyone may result in losing sight of a structure or a goal.

    In any case, there will always be good and bad writers, regardless of what form their writing ends up being and what platform they use. However, the different platform systems do have various impacts and effects on the final content, which may lead to preference of one over the other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  15. LysUltima

    LysUltima Riichi! Tsumo! Toitoi! Suuankou!?

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    I disagree. Web serializations are definitely not "less developed" in the English-speaking world than any East Asian country. If you just take a quick comparison of the number of stories on Qidian, Syosetu, and Wattpad, you get: 1mil, 776k, and 5.3mil. Yes, Qidian and Syosetu don't represent the entire CN/JP online creative writing scene, but neither does Wattpad. Just the Harry Potter section of FanFiciton.net alone (828k) eclipses the entirety of Syosetu.
    Also, Wattpad advertises that it has 1000+ stories adapted into TV/film. Fifty Shades of Grey was famously a Twilight fanficiton before it was published.
     
  16. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    The numbers for Qidian are way understated. It generally has about 10x as many books as Syosetu. But the bigger difference is the level of respect. For the English language, webnovels have primarily been the home for fanfiction and fanfiction just isn't accorded much respect so they get very little attention from publishers. Contrast that to how Japanese publishers basically view Syosetu as a scouting ground for new writers or how Chinese TV shows are proud to say that they're adapted from webnovels.
     
  17. LysUltima

    LysUltima Riichi! Tsumo! Toitoi! Suuankou!?

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    Where do you get this? I got my numbers directly from the sites themselves.
     
  18. whitespade

    whitespade Well-Known Member

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    Because I don't want to think. The same way I only watch youtube videos on 2x speed and not movies that I can't speed up or skip around.
     
  19. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    I just did a spot check, and Qidian.com is sitting at about 3 million books right now. And two years ago that number was around 6 million. I imagine that a lot of books got chopped during the great purge.
     
  20. LysUltima

    LysUltima Riichi! Tsumo! Toitoi! Suuankou!?

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    Link? I linked my source, which still says 1 mil.