Online literature appeared in Viet Nam about 10 years ago and has become an integral part of the nation's literature. Apart from online books topping local best-seller lists, readers also see some cheap trash. Han Nhu, whose real name is Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, is one of the most popular online writers. She has had two books printed and one adapted for film. She talks with Culture Vulture about the opportunities for young writers as well as their responsibility to create serious online literature.
Why did you choose online forums and social networks to set up your career of a writer?
Nowadays, writers can actively promote their works on social networks, forums and personal blogs. They can upload the whole or a part of their stories and receive readers' response and comments promptly. With a printed book, an author has to wait a long time for feedback.
I think I'm a part of the virtual world. In that society, I have friends and a place to share my photos, stories and feelings.That's the reasons I chose the internet as a foundation for my career. I share my stories on the internet with the aim of introducing myself and my works to friends and readers who have little opportunity to buy or read printed books. I also want to pay tribute to my friends, some of them whom I have never met. They always follow and encourage me to write.
What do you think about online literature if anyone holding an account can write a story and share it with others? Is it easy to be called a writer?
The online world is much bigger than the world of orthodox printed literature. The number of its members is uncountable, but not all of them are professional or can be considered writers.
Readers are strict and intelligent enough to filter out the trash from true literary works. Online writers are always faced with the elimination. They have to maintain creativity and renewal. If they don't improve themselves, they will be ignored.
Most young writers now choose online forums as their starting position and target printed literature as their eventual goal.
As I said before, online literature not only helps promote stories effectively, it also builds a bridge for authors and readers to exchange and discuss.
What are the disadvantages of online literature?
When I upload my story to the social networks, I have to accept the risk that my copyright may be violated. When online literature was born, a revolution in information technology took place to prevent unauthorised reproduction. However, it doesn't help authors protect their works absolutely.
You said that all serious writers target printed literature. Do you think many readers won't buy your books because they have read them online?
That's true. Many authors worry that their books are not attractive to many readers because they were published online before. For me, it's a challenge and advantage at the same time.
When readers really like my stories, they wait to hold a printed book in their hands. For book lovers, books are considered as friends who go with them anytime, anywhere. True readers always love the feeling of opening a book, turning pages, touching the letters and smelling the ink.
I, myself think each book is a small world I want to discover. Each time I enter that world I have a different experiences.
I believe readers who really love literature would never turn their back on traditional printed literature although they have read the stories online many times.
Would you share something about your plans for the future?
I started writing love stories and gained some success. Two printed novels Chi Co The La Yeu (It Must Be Love) and Dieu Bi Mat (The Secret) have been translated into English. Quang Van Books Company plans to release them abroad.
I have also gathered experience and knowledge to try out detective and adventure novels. — VNS