Tag Archives: soundtrack

What Novelists Can Learn from Webtoons

1 Aug

I won’t lie, 2020 has been the year of the Webtoon for my reading list. There are a couple reasons for this, the main one being access. When COVID first hit and Kansas City closed down, the library shut its doors completely, and that’s where I get 99% of my books. Granted, I managed to smuggle a pretty big TBR pile home beforehand and they have since opened up curbside service. But I also found myself consistently drained of energy by the end of my workday. A whole novel often felt like too much commitment. I just wanted to read something quick and fun, and be able to put it down at the end of the evening without more pending pages or due dates.

And so, Webtoons entered my life. 

A little background: I’ve always loved graphic novels. I grew up on manga, and I had heard of Webtoons from my reader friends who were enjoying them. The selling point for me was the free app. I downloaded it to my phone and started reading immediately. Which brings me to my first, and perhaps biggest, point: 

Episode Release/Payment Model/Community

This is more relevant to indie authors who have more control over their release dates and payment systems, but I find the Webtoon model really fascinating. Basically, you can read 100% for free—if you are patient. On average, a Webtoon releases one episode a week for free. If you want to read ahead of the free release, you’ll have to pay with coins, which you can purchase in the coin store. Sometimes, you get to spin a wheel and earn free coins. I love this setup a lot more than I thought I would. 

I don’t mind getting cut off and having to wait. It not only gives me something to look forward to throughout my week, but it also frees up some space, where I can read 3-4 Webtoons at the same time without feeling like I have to read the whole thing before my library due date comes up. In many ways, it actually keeps me reading, because my phone sends me a notification every week with updates, whereas an eBook or novel just sits on my device or nightstand, and am in charge of remembering it. (I know how that sounds, trust me, but speaking honestly, there’s something inherently satisfying about getting notifications from something you are looking forward to but don’t have to remind yourself of.) It changes the tone of your day. Even better? If I absolutely can’t stand that cliffhanger and I need to keep reading, I have that option. (Which, if you want a lesson in writing cliffhangers, these Webtoon artists are talented.) This sets it apart from platforms like Wattpad, where you either are paying to read or not. 

A last payment feature I loved? Many of the artists provide their Patreon, where you can further support them. With a few clicks, I was able to follow one of my favorite illustrators, look at their other works, support their Patreon, and check out their Instragram, where they post behind-the-scenes pics. EBooks, by in large, haven’t been as user friendly, let alone physical novels. I think we could be better about analyzing our platforms and asking ourselves how they can be more accessible, fun, and energizing. I mean, did I mention that comments are open to the public on every episode? Not only can you read each episode, but you can interact with the community right then and there, rather than having to finish the whole piece to write a review. (It’s similar to Wattpad in that way, but I definitely see more celebrating and fan theories on Webtoon.) In many ways, you feel like you’re sitting around in a big circle of friends while reading the same scene at the same time. And that’s not the only fun aspect that happens on the platform.

Music & Other Extras

Not only are Webtoons often colorful (Hello, Lore Olympus), but they are also filled with unique extras. Imagine reading a fight scene and hearing gunshots as they go off? Well, guess what. Webtoons do this! At least some of them do, and I love, love, love it. Why? Because it made the text so immersive to me. Plus, if I’m not in the mood to hear the sound effects, I can just turn them off. A great Webtoon that does this is the Purple HyacinthOther Webtoons lean more toward mood music, such as SubZero. I won’t lie, I’ve found some awesome writing music through Webtoons. Authors should consider how they can add such elements to their books. Though it would be harder to add many of these elements to a novel, why not provide a playlist on your website? I still remember reading Twilight back in the day and Stephenie Meyer releasing her music inspiration, and I jammed out to Muse for weeks. I wish more authors did this and/or artists from different mediums were open to collaborating. Maybe one day! 

The other part I loved is the fanfic-style mini episodes. When I was a teen, you went to fanfic websites to get fanfic. Or, if you followed the author, sometimes the author would share posts from artists who had drawn fanart. What I find really interesting about Webtoon is that the artist themselves often create fanart for their own work, like drawing their characters in chibi form and showing everyday scenes that wouldn’t fit into the story. It’s super fun! I also love seeing the behind-the-scenes sketches often included during breaks. Siren’s Lament is a great example of chibi artwork mini-sodes. Basically, as the author, ask yourself what behind-the-scenes sneak peeks can you give? Can you create new material that fits in with your overall material? How is it fresh and fun and unique to you? Where can you offer this to your readers? Newsletters is often a go-to for many, which I think is great, but I think we can take it a step further. Why not provide character sketches in the back of books? I always loved how mangas had character breakdowns in the beginning or fun facts at the end. Or—gasp—a book that starts off in graphic novel format, then converts to prose. W.I.T.C.H. did this when I was a kid and I still miss it! I always thought it was so fun, like slipping into a story.  

In the end, when I started analyzing why I was getting so much joy from Webtoons and not the same from novels, I feel like the modern novel—and what it offers as a product—has become really static. It has its classic appeal, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading novels, and I read over 100 novels a year. Nothing will replace the traditional paperback for me. It’s still my #1. But I also believe we have room for improvement, for innovation, for fun. And that includes the novel community as a whole. In many ways, I feel like authors have been shamed when they speak about or celebrate their own work, whereas Webtoons definitely has an air where the creators are their own biggest fan. I mean, how many times have you seen an author tweet about their book release, then apologize for spamming the feeds? Meanwhile, in Webtoon land, artists are drawing fanart for their own work and having a blast. Publishing could use some of that energy. It’s so addictive, because it is welcoming and fun and exciting. Every download is a new experience. Every novel should be, too. 

Next time you’re working on your novel, consider the modern reader. Do they only want your story delivered, or do they want an experience? How can you provide a broader experience to them? How can you push the definition of novel? Of story? 

I know I’ve been looking at writing in whole new ways as of late! I’ve definitely added “have my novel adapted into a Webtoon” to my author dream. 

Have you read any Webtoons? Which ones did you love?

If you are interested in Webtoons, here are some that I’ve read recently and loved:

~SAT

Publishing News: Two Weeks Away

17 Apr

Website Update: April 18: 10 a.m.: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), join an interactive interview on Twitter with me (directed by Sezoni Whitfield) by using the hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, and/or following ShanAshleeT23. I’ll also be reading my poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art in response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit, “An Errant Line,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT)

Since there’s only two weeks until Minutes Before Sunset is released, I thought I’d share more updates and extras! Below you’ll find a soundtrack, fan art, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and an upcoming interactive interview on Twitter this Thursday! But if you’re interested in an interview I recently did: click here to read my interview with Dan Thompson. There’s plenty of new information on my upcoming novel to go along with this post.

Soundtrack

I know I’ve mentioned how I don’t normally write with music, so I want to clarify that this list is more composed of music I’d imagine would be playing in certain scenes and/or if Minutes Before Sunset was ever a movie. These songs, as much as I don’t listen to them while I write, connected with the moments in such a way that I couldn’t deny their significance.

1. Crystalized by the xx: This one is close to my heart. I’ve reviewed this band before for a reason. Their intimate sound and haunting words linger within any darkness, and it only seemed fated to use it for this novel.

2. 24 by Jem. Again, I love the instrumentals, but the lyrics was why I locked onto this one so hard. It’s about having 24 hours left to live, and since Eric has one year left, it was appropriate.

3. Bloodstream by Stateless: This was the song I used the most. Seriously. I played it 77 times (compared to the next most played at 62.) I loved how mellow it was, but I also loved how…well…lovely it was. It reminded me of heartbreak, but in an understandable way–something that didn’t seem unnecessary but remained in this state of bliss and sadness all at once.

4. Ricochet by Shiny Toy Guns: This was the type of music I always pictured Eric listening to.

5. As Much as I ever Could by City and Colour: I had a really specific scene for this song, but I’d rather not ruin it. I’ll hint that it’s right before the climax :]

6. Destiny by Vanessa Mae was the main inspiration when I started writing Minutes Before Sunset. Generally, I listen to music without words, because lyrics can distract me, but her violinist ways were perfect for what I was needing. I also used Cursum Perficio by Enya for the same reasoning. [But I’d rather concentrate on music I’ve used recently, rather than the music I used in the past when I originally wrote it.] Inseguirsi by DeLord was also big one. Another instrumental one. Full of rhythm that changes from mellow to intense. It was perfect to use initially when I had to start writing and work my way into my own rhythm.

7. Youth – Daughter: The lyrics describe the youth in a particular light I really liked, particularly within the love lives of the serious towards the others around the protagonists.

8. Wait for Me by Moby: I really pictured this song working with the dynamics between the romantic relationships that happen in the beginning of their initial contact.

9. All That I’m Living For by Evanescence: Not only do I LOVE Evanescence, but I really feel as if her voice, sound, and intensity is perfect for the storyline of Eric’s Dark and Jessica’s struggles, especially this song which involves the night.

10. Within Temptation by The Howling: I think I have a thing for women belting it over the instruments.

11. No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine: Who can’t love Florence’s voice?? So inspiring.

12. Cut by Plump: Like Bloodstream, I loved the mellow sound and the chilling emotions.

13. As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle) by DJ Tiesto: This was one of the original songs I used when I was in high school and writing the book. I used to drive around town, just listening to this song while imaging what could possibly happen next.

Fan Art

I love fan art! It’s so much fun to see what readers see from the words I used, and I’ve already received a few pieces from a group of people chosen to read my novel before the release date. This one is one of my favorites of Jessica Taylor:

"Jessica Taylor" drawn by Atheil Barker.

“Jessica Taylor” drawn by Atheil Barker.

Facebook Page

If you love Facebook (and love “liking” pages even more) Minutes Before Sunset now has a page. This isn’t my Author Facebook Page. This is strictly for the novel, and there will be extras as there is on my Author Page. Click this link, and like this page for the latest.

You can "like" Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

You can “like” Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

Goodreads Page

If you’re on Goodreads, you can now add Minutes Before Sunset to one of your bookshelves. Once it’s published, you can add your reviews, favorite quotes, and rate it. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on this novel’s website as time moves forward (I’m kind of obsessed with Goodreads.)

Goodreads

Upcoming Interview

 This Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST), Sezoni Whitfield will be interviewing me on my Twitter Page (Use the hashtag #WritersKaboodle to join in and ask any questions you’d like towards Minutes Before Sunset and/or publishing in general! You could even ask for more writing tips. I’ll be responding to anyone who tweets, retweets, and/or favorites our conversations. The interview is all about writer-reader interaction, and I’d love for you all to join in.

In conclusion: I’m really looking forward to these different opportunities to continue to connect with the writer-reader community. And I cannot wait to experience this future with all of you 😀

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: