Writers chase their authorial dreams online

Updated: 2013-10-10 07:41

By Yang Yang (China Daily)

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Sensational ingredients

The often market-oriented mode of operation drives writers to create works about the hottest subjects and employ similar styles, usually blended with sensational ingredients. With timely feedback from readers, writing is no longer lonely work, rather it has become passive and restricted, and imposes a huge strain on writers to update 5,000 to 10,000 characters a day.

"The most popular subjects are fantasy and romance, so novels about these subjects form the largest category," said Yang Chen, an editor at Tencent's online literature platform.

Yang Hao is famous for his historical novels, but admitted he didn't care for the subject matter at the beginning.

"When I first entered the industry, there was an extremely popular historical novel, so I followed it as a model for my debut book," he said.

"As a beginner, you have to follow the editors' instructions and create stories exactly according to the readers' demands. Gradually, as you accumulate enough followers, you can express more about yourself.

"As a starter, I occasionally updated more than 10,000 characters a day. Now I focus on quality, but obscure beginners still have to rely on quantity."

Yang Hao maintains a writing speed of 3,000 to 6,000 characters a day. "One of the demerits of online writing is that you have to update every day, irrespective of whether you have any inspiration," he said.

Although there are writers making six-digit earnings a year, most online writers are on the breadline, so most of them are part-timers.

"Only 10 percent of online writers can make a living by writing," said Tan.

Contact the writer at yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn