What qualifies as web fiction?

3 years ago | Thedude3445 (Member)

I would like to contest the rejection of my submission of the web comic Homestuck--well, not really contest it, since the submission was just for fun and there is no impact to it being added or not, but I would like more discussion on what qualifies as web fiction for the medium as a whole.

Homestuck has about one million words of text throughout its story (counting some words transcribed from the panels themselves), including about 200,000 words of pure prose for its epilogue. The story constantly shifts mediums between comic, chatlog, game, animation, CYOA, etc., but I thought it may qualify for the sheer amount of prose it contains, and that its hypertext media aspect may actually be a plus. I guess it doesn't, but I personally believe that a wider net should be cast for what can be considered web fiction. And Web Fiction Guide actually does have several listings that make use of alternate mediums or contain interactive elements:
http://webfictionguide.com/podcast-only/ravens-gift/ - a podcast-only web serial
http://webfictionguide.com/graphic-novel/elan-meets-rafa/ - a webcomic (something I generally wouldn't count as web fiction myself, but it did make its way onto the site!)
http://webfictionguide.com/webcomic/the-men-in-the-black-coats/ - this one is tagged as webcomic; not sure if it had prose as well because the listing is dead.
http://webfictionguide.com/javascript-required/advent/ - one of my favorite web stories, and a hypertext fiction that makes use of nonlinear HTML interactivity.
http://webfictionguide.com/cyoa/theatre-of-horrors/ - a CYOA game/story
http://webfictionguide.com/cyoa/demons-and-deadlines/ - another CYOA.

I don't know what other people think about broadening or tightening the qualifiers for web fiction. And I think it's not that big a deal, especially for the story in question that needs no extra publicity, but I think clarification and/or discussion would be fun to have.

Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.

Read responses...


  1. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    Should totally put my script on here.

  2. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I personally like the idea of a community focused only on straight up prose fiction. Having some supplemental art or bonus comics to go with it, sure, but the medium this and other writing sites focus overwhelmingly on is specifically writing, and that should be the primary medium of a submission's content, in my view.

    While "web fiction" is obviously a very broad term, web comics and games and videos already have pretty dedicated communities of their own for sharing and tracking that kind of content. I'd say a web serial presented in audiobook format and more narrative-driven CYOAs is as far as you should really stretch it from the prose style.

    Obviously, it's already been done, but I kind of feel like opening the door for web comics and more would flood out the prose fics in terms of exposure and focus.

  3. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I'm something of a purist. I personally think WFG should focus only on prose fiction, and there are some listings -- not many, but some -- appear to stretch the definition of 'web fiction.'

  4. AdamBolander (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I agree with Sharkerbob. Webcomics and the like already have plenty of websites that advertise webcomics and exclusively webcomics. I even tried to advertise my webnovels on one of those sites once, and it got booted because it wasn't a comic. WFG needs to stay exclusive to fiction in prose because this is one of the only places we can go to for that.

    Author of The Gray Ranger, The Slayer and The Sphinx, Juryokine, Amber Silverblood, and more! Read for free on http://www.bolanderbooks.com
  5. ElliottThomasStaude (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    So, by the definitions of the words known to the dictionaries with which I'm familiar, webcomics (many at least), the plotlines of most web games (and sometimes even the games themselves - see Fallen London), and pretty much any sort of nonhistorical/nonfactual storytelling you can put on your 'puter is officially web fiction. Now, as several persons above have stated, there's obviously a market for fiction of the less purely wordy kind. In that vein, it may also be worth noting that commercial connectedness is far more pronounced for webcomics and the like - I have a list of close to a thousand webcomics that have been sampled or read, the vast majority of which were simply found by hopping between each others' advertisements. If there were a significantly greater market presence for this kind of community that opinion would probably broaden, but you can get your webcomic kicks elsewhere, and we need people like the people here to have a greater impact and get more publicity. After all, some of us can't (shouldn't) draw. If anyone ever purports to have any of my artwork online, destroy it immediately for the love of all that's good and holy.

    Also, and this is the ash-caked lampblack-coated tar-soaked pot calling the kettle black, but despite its outstanding quality Homestuck in particular is a little bit difficult to follow at times. I went over the whole "billiard ball themed criminal quasi-main-storyline" thing thrice before it really gelled how it fit into anything else.

    If you've a head for holistic science fantasy, the Library may oblige: https://www.thomas-generalized-recountings-library.com
    If you've a dislike for lengthy names, I'm so sorry.
  6. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    (Nippoten put your script on here)

    I don't know if the argument that web fiction should be pure prose only because other mediums get exposure elsewhere holds up by itself. And I kind of agree with it, too, because web novels are still very niche (we didn't even get a listing for The Martian before it left the web). But I think that it may be better to have a continuum rather than a firm cutoff.

    For example, take the CYOA or Interactive Story medium.
    ---LitRPG: At its core, this is a non-interactive game engine put into prose. 100% acceptable on WFG.
    ---Reader-Driven Story: Prose fiction where the plot and its direction are directly decided by reader suggestions or votes. Only interactive during its serialization, though, and almost universally acceptable on WFG.
    ---Online CYOA: it's a prose story, but you can click to make choices on story paths, and there may be some variables involved. Generally accepted on WFG, it appears.
    ---Browser Visual Novel: A prose story that can be read on a computer with no special software or downloads, but with images, sound, and interactive story branches. Some "kinetic novels" also do away with the interactivity and simply deliver a prose story with accompanying art and sound. None have ever appeared on WFG as far as I'm aware.
    ---Online text adventure: All text and prose, but with a more open story path and often specific game objectives or stats. Pretty iffy and I don't think any have ever made it on here.
    ---Download-only CYOA: Think something like Depression Quest, where you download it on Steam to play, but it's just a Twine game wrapped in an .exe file. No different than a browser version, but requires extra steps, and can be read offline. Considering this is WEB fiction, this shouldn't apply, but there are some download-only stories on here, including ones distributed exclusively on PDF (ew).
    ---Download-only Visual Novel: A visual novel, but must be downloaded from a website or through a game client. Almost certainly not acceptable.
    ---Story-based video game (e.g. Elder Scrolls): 100% not web fiction at all, whether or not it's browser or download.

    Where do you cut it off?

    I guess y'all say, cut it off after reader-driven stories. Web Fiction Guide itself has accepted up to Online CYOA, and I personally would accept a browser Visual Novel (there is a VNDB website but that medium is just as niche as us, maybe moreso).

    With Homestuck in particular, there is no reason for it to be on here except as a marketing stunt to boost WFG lol. But are there other hybrid mixed-medium stories that are worth our time? I dunno. Maybe not considering the responses.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  7. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    I'd cut that list off after LitRPG.

  8. nippoten (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    TBH i'd keep at just proseworks, otherwise everything is gonna be one here and i'm pretty everything isn't supposed to be on here

  9. Alexander.Hollins (Member)

    Posted 3 years ago

    A. cyoa in any form seems cool to me. A browser interactive novel also fits, imo.

    The cutoff, where it comes to graphics, is, is it sequential art that has words on it, or, is it words, that has images to go along with the text? In a comic, the art contains most of the story, the action. In prose with pictures, the words tell the story, describe the people, places, and things, but images, even if they are constant and on nearly every page (wimpy kid, captain underpants, the last kids on earth) supplement the words in telling the story, they don't replace them.

    Chat logs, cool. Images of people talking, with the words underneath them , not over the images, cool.


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