I would say there are more differences than similarities between writing for the internet and writing fiction, but I’m going to cover one of each for the sake of balance.
One similarity between writing for the internet and writing fiction is that they both require incredible consistency. Internet writing, like this blog post here, is often about quantity and diversity, and internet writers must come up with new material week in and week out or their audience might take their attention and loyalty elsewhere.
Writing fiction requires great consistency, too, but for a different reason: no good novel was ever completed by beginning the writing process, then stopping for a while, dropping the project, and moving onto something different over and over again. Writing fiction takes immense time, effort, and commitment, and without consistency the project is sure to fail.
One difference between writing for the internet and writing fiction, and probably the most obvious, is the magnitude of each. When was the last time you read a 350 page article on the internet? That’s what I thought–never. The internet is used in such a way that the economy of information is paramount, and it would be wasteful to post or read anything even remotely near the length of a novel on the internet, and there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s great for the purposes of the internet.
However, I love the amount of detail and vivid information in books, and I especially enjoy the way a great story takes time and prolonged attention to unfold. We buy books and novels with the expectation that it will take more time and attention to finish and enjoy than most other activities we do on a daily basis, and we accept this because the payoff is worth it, just like the payoff from reading on the internet is often worth the time we spend as well.
What have you noticed about the kinds of things you read on the internet versus what you read in books? Do you have a preference? I want to hear your thoughts!