I’ve been talking for a while about doing some writing videos, and now I’ve actually started shooting them, so I guess it’s happening. This post is the text article version of the intro video I plan to post on Friday.
I’m going to start doing a series of videos on writing, with practical advice based on my years of experience as a novelist. I’ve written a lot about writing craft in my blog, but I thought it might be fun to do some videos, as well. My degree is in broadcast news, so I may as well put it to use.
Why should you listen to me? I sold my first novel nearly thirty years ago. I’ve had nearly thirty books published, plus some short fiction, and I’ve written a few more books that may or may not remain hidden on my hard drive. I’ve made a living almost entirely from writing fiction since 2004. I’m a hybrid author. I’ve had books published by some of the major publishers and I’ve independently published books. I’ve had books picked up by foreign publishers and published in translation abroad. I’ve won some awards and even had a book optioned for film by a major studio (though the movie never got made). I’ve pretty much done just about everything in a publishing career other than be a big bestseller — and that means that I’ve had a career you could actually aspire to. My career hasn’t depended on any big stroke of luck like a celebrity book club pick, a movie or TV series that actually got made, or even just being chosen by the publisher to be a lead title and get the big print run and big promotional push.
I love reading books on writing craft, going to workshops and conferences. I’ll try just about everything to see how it works. Some things never make sense to me, some things click, and some things I have to figure out. I’ll share what I’ve learned and how I use it in my writing.
Here’s how this channel is going to work.
First, I’m an author, not a YouTuber. My priority will always be my writing, so I’m not going to devote a lot of effort to making things super splashy. I’m not going to buy a lot of equipment or spend a lot of time on special effects, graphics, or anything like that. I’m aiming at posting a new video every month, but it will depend on my writing schedule. I’m not aiming to get sponsorships, and I doubt I’ll get enough subscribers to earn ad revenue. I just want to help writers—and thinking these things through to make the videos helps me understand these concepts better for my own work. If someone wants to read my books because they like my videos, then that would be great, too.
Second, I know that different people have different ways of absorbing information. I’ll confess that I’m definitely a “this video or podcast could have been an article” person. Because of that, I’ll be posting articles with the same info that’s in these videos in my blog, and I’ll link to that with each video. They won’t be exact transcripts because written language is different from spoken language, but they will contain the same information.
I will probably be using the original Star Wars — the movie they’re now calling A New Hope — as an example a lot, so if you haven’t seen it, you might want to do so. This is an easy example to use for explaining things like story structure because it adheres so closely to a universal structure and it has a fairly basic plot. Plus, just about everyone is familiar with it, so I don’t have to set things up to use it as an example.
I have the first few videos already planned, but if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover or if you have a question, please let me know in the comments (in the blog or with the video). I may also do some reader-focused videos that are about my books, so if you have questions relating to that, you can also ask them.
And here’s the video version: