Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#1
Hi All!

My name is Rob Paterson, and I'm the author of the book How to Write Light Novels and Webnovels. In my day job, I'm a college instructor who teaches Communications, Media Studies and Script-writing, and since I love Asian fiction I decided to spend a couple years writing a book about it. (At least, that's why I told the wife I was spending all my time reading through more Chinese, Korean, and Japanese novels than I can count...  Wink ) Since the book is out, I thought I'd make a thread here in case anyone has any questions about writing these kinds of stories that I can help with or wants advice.

Ask away!

Rob

P.S. It might take me a bit to get back to everyone, but I will!

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#2
I really liked what I saw of this book. The table of contents is very thorough and you've done a good job with it.

In particular I enjoyed your discussion of how successful web serials are action-focused, and the sample text you gave showing a traditional scene versus a beefed up action-oriented version of events. 

Very well done, and I'm adding this one to my list of resources and recommended titles. 

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#4
What’s the standard for numbers of words/sentences for a paragraph in LN? (I know they write it from top to bottom for each line, so the number of words are fairly low. But is there any standard to which they consider a line become too long?)

What are your thought about removing su-fix (-san/mister, -nim) or completely translating the words to English (gege/big brother in Mandarin) while writing a story about Asian character?

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#5
jaxonreed Wrote: I really liked what I saw of this book. The table of contents is very thorough and you've done a good job with it.


Thanks for the kind words, Jaxon! 

Quote:
In particular I enjoyed your discussion of how successful web serials are action-focused, and the sample text you gave showing a traditional scene versus a beefed up action-oriented version of events.


I think that's one of the key things in writing web fiction. The audience wants fast, dynamic writing that keeps their attention and makes them want more. Stories with long descriptions don't seem to be as popular in the English market. Readers want something casual they can jump right into and have fun with.  

Quote:Very well done, and I'm adding this one to my list of resources and recommended titles. 


Much appreciated! Thanks for your help in spreading the word! :-)

Rob

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#7
Koean Wrote: What’s the standard for numbers of words/sentences for a paragraph in LN? (I know they write it from top to bottom for each line, so the number of words are fairly low. But is there any standard to which they consider a line become too long?)


I don't really think there is a standard. You see everything from crazy long paragraphs in stories like Overlord (all hail Ains-sama!) and Tanya the Evil to minimalist short 1-2 sentence paragraphs in How Not to Summon A Demon Lord and Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. It all depends on the style of the author and most of them fall somewhere in between like Shield Hero and Slime.  

If you want a rule of thumb, I'd say keep your paragraphs shorter than 3-4 sentences, which is where most LN writers seem to sit. 

Quote:What are your thought about removing su-fix (-san/mister, -nim) or completely translating the words to English (gege/big brother in Mandarin) while writing a story about Asian character?


I think if you're writing a story, it's all about what the target audience will understand. These days, thanks to anime and manga, most people understand Japanese suffixes, so they're not an issue. Korean suffixes are similar, and the audience can get used to them pretty fast. (Plus Korean culture is spreading across the world as well.) As for Chinese, I think it's up to to the context. If they're common words that are used to describe close friends like "gege," then I think it's fine to leave them for flavor and because sometimes it might confuse a new reader as to the relationship of the characters. (They might think the person really is the character's big brother in a family sense.) However, I think it's better to translate the terms when used with real family members to avoid confusion, and when possible. (Mandarin has many familial terms which don't exist in English, so sometimes translating them might be hard.) 

In the end, always remember that language is a tool for communication, and the first commandment of writing is "Thall shalt not confuse thy audience." (Because confused audiences go find another story to read/watch.) 

Rob

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#9

ActionWriter500 Wrote: Do the word count in each web novel chapter have to go up to 2,000 words, or it doesn't matter?


I don't think it matters. You can write chapters of whatever length you want. However, your chapters should be long enough to get the reader's attention, give them a taste of something they enjoy, and then leave them wanting more- all while moving your story forward. If you can do that with 500 words or 1000 words then just write that much for each chapter.

A good rule is that the more often you release, the shorter your chapters can be because the less time your reader will need to settle back into the story when they start reading it. While the longer your release time, the longer the chapters should be as well because you need them to get back into the story deep enough to remember why they liked it. I wouldn't go less than 2000 words for a weekly chapter, but a daily chapter of 200 words is reasonable if they're really good words.

Rob

Re: Advice thread on Writing LN and Webnovels

#11

ActionWriter500 Wrote: Can a story reach between 40,000 words to be consisted as a light novel?


Most light novels out of Japan are between 40,000 and 50,000 words in length. I think that 40,000 words should be considered probably the minimum for something to be considered a light novel. But, in the end, it's the audience who actually decides whether they're willing to accept that or not.