Novelr is a blog about writing and presenting fiction on the Internet. In particular, it deals with a subset of digital publishing called ‘web fiction’. Web fiction is a relatively new method of writing fiction, usually on a blog or blog-like website. Web fiction is communal, social, and free (though the author may choose to sell eBooks and other related merchandise).

Web fiction is part of a larger trend in publishing, where the Internet is making it possible for writers to create stronger, more immediate relationships with their readers. We think this trend has implications that reach far beyond both reader and writer.

Novelr is interested in exploring these implications. It’s been doing that since 2006.

A few things define my work at Novelr. I believe the Internet is a medium with its own set of constraints (like the book before it, and the scroll before the book), and so I spend a lot of my time figuring out what works in it, and what doesn’t. I do my best to help new writers get up to speed with writing for the web. I also do occasional work to make it easier for writers who want to start out in web fiction.

A few ideas in Novelr have led to projects in the web publishing sphere. Web Fiction Guide started from an old Novelr post. The Dispatch is a Novelr community project. What Is Web Fiction is a concise definition of what we do. Pandamian is a digital publishing startup, founded on some of Novelr’s best ideas.

For a good introduction to Novelr, or advice on how to start writing web fiction, head to The Primer Page.

Focus and Community

Novelr deals primarily with the following topics:

  • It explores techniques for writing and presenting fiction on the Internet
  • It explores methods of promoting online fiction to the Internet mainstream
  • It touches on converting your work from blog to book format
  • It discusses the effects the Internet has on traditional print media, and
  • It serves as a rally point for Internet writers. Novelr is actively involved in community building.

Novelr encourages community participation through comments and guest posts. If you are a writer and you have something interesting to say on the topics Novelr deals with feel free to contact Eli James here.

Another introduction on what Novelr plans to be about can be found in the very first post.

Praise For Novelr

… landed up at Novelr a few times after googling stuff about blooks … much informed by the posts … an excellent litblog
Bibliobibuli (Sharon Bakar)

Easily one of the most thought-provoking blogs on writing that I’ve read. I only wish he’d post more often because what he says invariably helps my writing!
Undead Flowers (Richard)

… superb, and really good for keeping up with these things (blooks)
Progression (James Smythe)

… online fiction could become very big … Eli has used his insightful blog to create a great community for online writers and readers.
Ideas for Business

… the whole site is a gem.
Collected Voices (KSB)

… an excellent source for information on sites, articles, and other things that I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise, and its synopses and analyses are first-rate, telling me everything that I need to know about and suggesting everything that I should think about a variety of posts and articles elsewhere that I don’t have the time or inclination to find and read for myself.
M. Alan Thomas II, in a guest post

About The Blogger (Eli James)

People like Eli James […] continue to lead a [publishing] vanguard that increasingly has less and less to do with what’s happening in Manhattan. – The Millions

Eli James is a nom de plume. I am a Computer Science major at the National University of Singapore. I was the youngest speaker at the invitation-only Books in Browsers conference in 2010, where I spoke on the importance of making digital publishing accessible to all. I am making that vision happen at Pandamian, a company I co-founded in late 2010. I write and code to relax (though not at the same time); I prefer good literary fiction to good genre fiction; Python to Java; vanilla ice cream to chocolate sundaes. I have been working on the form and function of web-based books for the good part of four years now. A quick FAQ:

Why did you start Novelr?
Novelr began while I was writing the last few episodes of Janus, a web fiction serial I started in 2006. I had written other manuscripts before, but all of them were offline and I wanted inspiration on how to write, where to write and who to look to for ideas – you know, that kind of thing. I found nothing. There were a few forums here and there, mostly through Wikipedia’s Blook page, but these weren’t enough. I started listing out blooks I was reading and started subscribing to PR releases by Lulu for the annual Blooker award.

About Janus, why did you consider writing it in blook form?
Janus was an experiment on characterization. I wanted to see how far I could push the cliches of the YA genre while building believable characters: you know, boy in ‘magic’ school, boy and friends get entangled in things way out of their league, yada yada yada. I don’t think I succeeded.

What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
Vanilla. Nothing ever beats Vanilla. Booyah.

PS: Still not inspired? Read this.