web fiction

literary work available primarily or solely on the Internet

Web fiction is written works of literature available primarily or solely on the Internet. A common type of web fiction is the web serial. The term comes from old serial stories that were once published regularly in newspapers and magazines. Unlike most modern books, a work of web fiction is often not published as a whole. Instead, it is released on the Internet in installments or chapters as they are finished, although published compilations and anthologies are not unknown. The web serial form dominates in the category of fan fiction, as writing a serial takes less specialized software and often less time than an ebook. Web-based fiction dates to the earliest days of the World Wide Web, including the extremely popular The Spot (1995–1997), a tale told through characters' journal entries and interactivity with its audience. The Spot spawned many similar sites, including Ferndale and East Village, though these were not as successful and did not last long. Most of these early ventures are no longer in existence. Since 2008, web fiction has proliferated in popularity. Possibly as a result of this, more fans of web serials have decided to create their own, propagating the form further, leading to the number of serious, original works growing quickly. Some serials utilize the formats of the media to include things not possible in ordinary books, such as clickable maps, pop-up character bios, sorting posts by tag, illustrations, and video. Supplementary information is often available on the serial's website, sometimes in the form of wikis that fans of the work help maintain. Web fiction has become hugely popular in China, with revenues topping US$2.5 billion.
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