A COMMON girl began to write a fiction on her Internet cafe.
Everyday many people access her Internet cafe, and the members of her cafe
are close to eight hundred thousand. Her fictions were published, and
cinematized. More than 1 million people bought the book, and the audience
of the film exceeded 2 million. A common girl become famous at an eye
blink. She is recognized as one of important contributor to make online
Nowadays, online novel gains a great
popularity. However, some people question the online novel on the matter
of language use and whether or not it is literature. Regardless those
controversies, it is true that online novel has become a key code of
cultural trend in this society.
This month's "Cover
Story" is about online novel; present state, effect and possibility as a
cultural content. Let's jump into the trend of a new online culture.
By Yoon Hyoung-jung,
"YOU ARE responsible for me! -_-♨"
"You are the first
one who kissed my lips!-_-^ Be responsible for me you freak!!"
">_<lol, holy cow man, how the heck can I believe that? Ha ha ha
This is a piece of
writing on the Internet. Most sentences are relatively short, and made up of
simple words. In addition, they consist of lots of emoticons(smileys) and slang.
The writers often break the rules of grammar and express emotions with signs.
These days, people call these articles "online novel". Online novel is a hot
issue not only online but also offline.
From a piece of writing to a syndrome
The start of writing novels on Internet sites began at the end
of the 1990's. "Fanfic", a compound word of fan and fiction, was the beginning,
and it meant fiction written by fans of popular celebrities or works. In Korea,
the fans of H.O.T., a famous male band, began to spread fanfics. After that, the
formation and development of "online novel" can be said to have been much
indebted to fanfic. The online novel gradually won popularity over the Internet
users, increasing in number of specialized writers, fan-sites and homepages.
Along with the increase in popularity, anti-online novel sites also came into
Online novel is not limited to the cyberspace: it advances into the off-line
market as well through books, movies, and television dramas. "My Sassy Girl
(2001)", "My Tutor Friend (2003)", "Cat of Penthouse" and " Temptation of Wolves
(2004)" are examples. Online novel has also become an important axis of the pop
culture. Especially, "The Guy Was Dandy", a famous online novel by a writer,
Guiyeoni, having a fan base of over 1 million, sold over one million and 2
hundred thousands copies. Moreover, she became a hero of a movement called,
Development through the Internet
The boom of online novel has prospered with the growth of
Internet culture. The formation of personal places that people can use freely
together, combined with the fact that people have a calling for writing out
their thoughts and replying to others' writing were able to bring about the
advance of online novels.
Furthermore, the development of online novel is
affected by people using the economical merit of the Internet. The Internet is a
very useful tool for people who have studied since they were young, but do not
have enough money to spare for literature. That is to say, the birth and
development of literature on the Internet means availability of literature
without economic difficulty, which facilitates the spread of literature to the
Sharply divided Opinions
The interest in online novels is very high, and the opinions related to the
online novel boom are also really various. The teens are the main users of
online novels, so people treat them as matters connected with teenagers. Some
say that because almost all novels follow the cultural codes of teens, it can
satisfy their own desire and help the formation of youth culture, especially for
teenagers. Though the stories act as an emotional escape for teenagers afflicted
with an entrance examination, they also cause worry about having a bad effect
over susceptibility of the teens because the contents of most fictional works
are false and unreal, such as "Cinderella Complex". A great portion of the other
works also beautify things yearned for by the teens obscurely, like violence,
drinking, and sex.
People also discuss the effect online novels have on the use of
language. There are many smileys disjointed Internet language and slang. In case
of smileys, it is convenient and easy to use when delivering emotions, but on
the other hand, it may cause a generation gap between the young and the old, because
they have a different understanding of the use of smileys. The characters use
expressions such as, "ㅠㅠ ㅠㅠ ㅠㅠ ㅠㅠ... Oh my god! ㅜ.ㅜ" Although people who
do not know smileys cannot understand that sentence, those who know smileys can comprehend
the character's feeling without long word. In addition, people are anxious about
the destruction of Korean language and literature due to the disjointed Internet
language, and slang.
Taking a step forward, there are also contrasting
opinions about the influence on the literary and publishing field. This is a
problem with the literature's popularization. Online novels are referred to as
the public literature, because most online novels are written by the public at
their own accord. The contrasting opinions exist with some saying that the boom
comes from pure public power, while others insist that the online novel boom is
only a condition begun by a commercial stratagem of the publishing
Effort for the better future
>_< Screaming or
As the interest in online novel boom almost reaches the climax, there are
also various opinions being aroused. While some think that this boom is only a
temporary trend, others say that it will come to stay as a part of cultural and
literary genre. Although the judgment is uncertain and the boom may remain only
as a trend, people in various positions should strive to develop the writing as
a recognized culture.
In order to make online novel a culture with quality,
the writers should try to improve words and contents, considering its effect on
the readers and society. Online novel is often rated high for its freshness and
vividness in the contents of a story. However, it needs more than these to be
valued as great pieces of work. The novel having good quality may be guaranteed
not only with popularity, but also recognition from the public. "My Sassy Girl"
is an example valued as a cultural content for as long as five years. The
fiction was cinematized and became a famous movie in Korea, and also succeeded
in New York as well as in Asia.
Although the writer's endeavor is very
important, it is of no use without the effort of the public. "If the public is
not concerned about the online novel at all or accept it thoughtlessly, there is
no choice for the boom but to pass as only a passing phenomenon. Readers are
also responsible for settling this trend as a culture," said Jang Hyun-sook, the
system manager of Iyagibada, an online novel site.
The publishing world has
to work towards the growth of the online novel culture, too. It should not issue
works only for profit. Excessive commercial greed without consideration for
literature may disturb the successful establishment of the online novel culture.
It can be explained by the fact that there are over two hundred books issued,
but only a few are making profits.
To find and cultivate online novels of
good quality, an official system between the Internet and offline production is
necessary. Nowadays, most publishing companies invest in profitable fictions
rather than the works of excellent quality. Naturally, publishers should take
the quality of works into consideration, however, the absence of the official
system is also a problem. "To gain good novels through public subscription is
one of the solutions. It enables works to be selected carefully before
publishing and cinematizing. In addition, the system between the Internet and
offline production will allow people to experience whatever they want to select:
a fiction on the web, a published novel, or a cinematized work," said Jang.
Time to talk about online novels
The territory of online novels is already
being magnified out to society from the Internet, and the concern about the
novel is absurd. While parties consenting and opposing online novels are
confronting each other vigorously, online novels have already become a trend all
around the world. The translations of "The Guy Was Dandy" and "Temptation of
Wolves" have already been published in China, Thailand and Taiwan. Japan and
Germany are also planning to import these novels and movies. Of course,
became a celebrity in China this year,
and her works are bestsellers in the Chinese literary market. The word "online
novel" became a cultural code, and now it makes people enthusiastic both online
and offline. At the same time, there are apprehensions regarding the rapid
increase of scale before construction of a firm base. Now, for the development
of online novel trend toward a more expansive culture, first of all, people
should strive to know what the online novel is and build the foundation to be
recognized as one of the literary genre. Now is the time to acknowledge about
the online novel itself and the effect of the online novel syndrome.
Pres. of Hwangmae
Q: What made you publish online novels? I
found that readers have turned away from the existing publishing world,
and I wondered what the reasons were. Especially, I was worried about
teenagers who do not read. At that time, I came to know Guiyeoni,
and I decided to publish her novels because her works were interesting and
attractive compared to the other online novels. And that thought was
right, online novels gain in public favor along with a success of
Q: What comes to us the publishing and success of online
A: First of all, the boom of online novel signifies the
readers who are tired of the typical literary style. The prevalence of the
online novels shows that the readers' literary tendancies are amplified
and non-mainstram literature is possilbe to success. Above all, the
publishing means that anyone can become producers of literature, as well
Q: What do you think about the future of the
online novels in publishing circles?
A: Online novel genre will be surely set in
Korean publishing world some day. Of course, the quality and base will be
good. Not only in Korea, but also in many countries, people like the
novels of this genre. Therefore, the future prospect of publishing is very
bright even in other countries.
Q: What are
the reasons and meanings of cinematizing online novels? The
answer is simple. Many online novels are picturized because they are
profitable. Seeing the meaning under the situation, adults want to know
about the thoughts of the teens. Therefore, producers use online novels as
a means of learning the teenagers' thoughts. That is, movies having online
novel as an original are the specialized works for the
Q: What do you think about the movies made from online
A: In this summer, I saw two movies made from online
novels, "Temptation of Wolves (2004)" and "The Guy Was Dandy". Frankly
speaking, I was disappointed on movies. I expected that I could see the
cultural communication between teenagers and adults. However, adults could
not understand and give the young advices. The movies were merely used as
a way to gain financial profit rather than cultural
Q: Do you think the movies made from online novels
can develop into a form of culture?
do not think like that at all, and so do most people in the movie field. I
think the movement is only a passing trend. Like gangster movies, the
popularity will decrease within a year. Although the movies are exported
to many countries, it still not a part of the movie culture and would be
hard to be so in the future as well. What I only expect is that the adults
and the teens can have a better understanding of each other through these
ON AUG. 14, the newspapers reported that
spectators who saw a movie "Temptation of Wolves" exceeded two millions.
Together with popular favor of the movie, the interest on online novels is
also rising. The extent of concern about the novels is very surprising,
especially I was startled when I heard of her popularity in China. When I
met a translator who translates the works of Guiyeoni into
Chinese, she said that Guiyeoni
was very popular in China and had the fan meeting at no less
than seven cities. The translator seemed to be marveled at the boom of the
online novels in China. After hearing the news, the fact that online
novels are spread around the world, I thought that online novels will be
able to one of the Korean wave. I came to know more about online novel and
the boom, and I realized the importance of that. Now, I hope people who
were not interested in online novel can become intimate with the novels,
think and talk about the online novels through this