Comic Non-Sans: Webfiction and Web Serials

Earlier this summer I was a last-minute addition to the live Sunday morning Webcomic Beacon podcast.  Ignoring the fact that I felt woefully ignorant as compared to the rest of the panel (despite having time to prepare and all), it was an overall fun experience, and the podcast is both informative and entertaining.  I recommend everyone check it out.  That’s not the point of this piece, though.

After a little while, I was contacted re: doing some reading for the new Webfiction World podcast.  I’ve done some voice-over work (including one or two audiobooks) in my time, and the WB people are good to me, and the selections were good.  So I did one — Black Mask and Pale Rider for their fantasy webfiction episode — and had rather a lot of fun doing it.  To the point that yes, I will be doing more.

What really intrigued me about doing the reading, though, was reading through the possible stories up for grabs.  (As there are multiple readers, it’s first-come first-served, with certain stories being “priority” projects.)  There were a few stand-alone short pieces, but it was when I started wandering into full-length serials that I became intrigued.  The ones I’ve run into are, in a large part, distributed via blog or LiveJournal format, and they are not short.  I found myself a bit overwhelmed when I decided to verse myself in the characters for one of my upcoming reads and discovered upwards of fifty rather long chapters ahead of me.  Fifty rather long good chapters, but the fact remains.  There was a lot going on.

In becoming a regular reader for Webfiction World, I’m discovering that there’s this whole other layer of storytelling on the web that I just sort of passed blithely by.  The unfortunate fact of the matter is, large blocks of texts tend to get passed over, and not everyone will stop for a lengthy bit of prose.  I myself have taken to presenting prose in an illustrated format when I do go about it, for fear of alienating people otherwise.  So I suppose in their own way, these people are ballsy — ballsy, and appealing to people who haven’t succumbed to that unfortunate seven-second attention span that the Internet has bred in its denizens (a behavior I am occasionally guilty of despite being rather long-winded myself).

With all that in mind, I find that the ones getting the most hits, the most comments, and overall the most attention are the ones who keep their chapters not necessarily short and sweet, but still digestible over downtime at work.  There’s a skill to the short-form within a serial, and with my readings, I always choose things to read that make me feel good in particular.  I find that the ones I’ve chosen come from writers who are able to use their word count wisely, to the point that even though I feel like I’ve taken in half an hour’s worth of reading content, the timer on my recording program says eight minutes.

Given how long these stories are, the spread of webfiction has to be old news, and I’m sure I’m ridiculously late to the game.  All that said, I think the presence of the Webfiction World podcast is doing for its listeners what it’s done for me as a participant — giving a quick look not into just individual authors to follow, but into the medium as a whole.  It’s an entertaining corner of the ‘net that I’ve never seen before.  And I plan to stick around.

I’m pretty sure you’ll wanna check out everything the Webcast Beacon has to offer, because these cats keep busy.  And keep your ears open for all the different readers and readings of Webfiction World while you’re there.

Posted on September 13, 2011 at 01:00 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics, Webcomics · Tagged with: , , , , , ,