Webnovel / Webserials Discussion Thread

Notsteve

The work of an enemy stand
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This is the thread to discuss webnovels and webserials. Japanese webnovels are also being discussed in the manga thread, but we didn't have one for non-Japanese ones.

I've just recently devoured all of Mother of Learning, which I've really enjoyed. The only problem is that now I have to start waiting for the next chapter.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, Mother of Learning is a story about a mage trainee who gets trapped in a Groundhog-day style one-month time loop. And the events of that month give him a lot of incentive to pick up skills very quickly.

One of the things I'm enjoying about it is that Zorian, the main character, is relatively believably powered. He's a talented and motivated student given unexpected years of training time, and actually seems about as powerful as you'd expect that to be. He's picked up a lot of useful tricks, and is getting pretty good at the things he's chosen to specialize in. And his unique situation has meant he has a few additional strategies for picking up information and training. But the story has taken pains to show that he's a talented student with tricks and specialties, not world-best at anything. We regularly see mature mages do things that Zorian can't even begin to replicate, just like you'd expect from specialists with decades more experience.

This is nice because it's avoiding what I feel like is one of the more common mistakes this type of story makes, which is to make the main character too powerful too soon. Once you explicitly declare a ceiling, it gets a lot harder to write challenges for the character. No one else can be stronger than them at their chosen field, which eliminates a lot of stories about eking out a clever victory against a stronger opponent. And you often want to still let the character power up, but they've got nowhere else to go in their field. So now you start having to have them branch out if they want to get better, which can give them access to too many abilities that can solve any problem too easily. Mother of Learning seems committed to avoid this.

(I'm not quite sure what to call this genre of story. Unexpected empowerment fantasies? I feel like this time loop is conceptually very similar to reincarnation fantasies, where the main character gets access to skills and knowledge that they shouldn't have at their age or level of training. But a good umbrella term isn't occurring to me.)

I'm also really enjoying seeing Zorian slowly build up relationships with others. He's kind of prickly and reclusive, but the time loop is giving him a chance to see the same action by a single person from a lot of different perspectives, which means he's slowly starting to figure out how to connect to others. It's a rare character type, and it's a really interesting process to see someone go through.

And now I've gotten to the end and chapters only come out once every three weeks, looks like. And the last chapter was a cliffhanger. Waiting is going to be a pain.

Spoiler: Show
I wonder if we're getting close to the end of arc 2. Arc 1 ended with a massive bang; Act 2 might be bigger.


What is everyone else reading?
 

acksed

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Mother of Learning here as well. I did like the shared moment of mischief between Zorian and Kirielle. :D

Worm is a famous one, with scads of fanfic around it that I'm still reading. It's a pretty grim superhero serial, with a traumatised teenage girl gaining the power to control invertebrates. Since it's from her viewpoint, she's something of an unreliable narrator.

The Zombie Knight features a depressed boy brought back to fight a proxy war by Death. I bounced off its accurate depiction of depression, and the unusual habit of updating in small snippets didn't help either, but someone else might like it.
 
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Notsteve

The work of an enemy stand
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Mother of Learning here as well. I did like the shared moment of mischief between Zorian and Kirielle. :D
I'm really hoping to see an epilogue of Zorian basically taking over raising Kirielle, now that he understands her situation. He's already figured out how to teach her and keep her engaged, and money won't be a problem. And he now realizes how bad their parents are treating her and can get her away from all that.

Worm is a famous one, with scads of fanfic around it that I'm still reading. It's a pretty grim superhero serial, with a traumatised teenage girl gaining the power to control invertebrates. Since it's from her viewpoint, she's something of an unreliable narrator.
Pact, the next story by the same author, is also pretty good, though a little dark. I haven't really gotten into Twig, the one they started working on after finishing Pact. Anyone reading it?
 

Notsteve

The work of an enemy stand
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Spoiler: Show
I spent all of Act 1 figuring that we were seeing the big contrast between Zach and Zorian. Zach tried to do everything himself with brute force, while Zorian went out and got allies. And that was what was going to finally stop the invasion, because allies were a massive force multiplier.

And then those allies went away. That was a well-done wham episode.


Another thing I've been having fun reading is Dungeon Life Quest. It's a quest about a ethical necromancer* exploring a massive underground dungeon. It's really well done and the author is amazingly prolific, updating pretty much daily. Downside is it's 4chan, but you can just skip all the comments voting on actions and read only the author's posts.

*"Life is for the living, death is for the dead." Death is a thing to be respected, but sometimes it goes wrong and has to be fixed. "Don't do that, it leads to skeleton armies" has basically become a mantra. It's a really interesting treatment of necromancy as a legitimate thing to be studying, though admittedly one with a lot of potential for misuse.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
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What exactly constitutes a web novel? I'm not sure if I wrote one or not.
I assumed it meant novels published in serial form on websites. I assume for free. So I guess not unlike fanfiction on the web, just that its original content.
 

Notsteve

The work of an enemy stand
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I'm reading the following: I Am Reincarnated as a Magical Academy!. I can't really say it's _good_, per se, but there are some interesting ideas there. :)
Is that a typo or were they literally reincarnated as the academy? Like, they're a bodiless intelligence inhabiting all the facilities, or all the teachers are controllable copies of the main character, or something similiar?
 

Gorgoo

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Are there good places to find and/or discuss web novels? I mean, besides this thread, obviously. :)

I see people bring them up occasionally, and some seem to have gotten pretty popular, but I'm usually out of the loop until people start referencing them in forums or web communities I visit.

Are there good web novel-centric communities I'm missing out on, or did you all find these by word of mouth?
 

yalborap

Well, that’s just Prime.
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Are there good places to find and/or discuss web novels? I mean, besides this thread, obviously. :)

I see people bring them up occasionally, and some seem to have gotten pretty popular, but I'm usually out of the loop until people start referencing them in forums or web communities I visit.

Are there good web novel-centric communities I'm missing out on, or did you all find these by word of mouth?
Yeah, that's a question I've got to ask as well, and I write some of the bloody things. :p

Which reminds me, if everyone's cool with me shilling my own work, I'll quote my pitch post from the manga thread.
 
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