I must admit I feel quite ambivalent about list-posts of this sort. They read so cocky, so definitive as if the author has the answer to everything which, of course, they don’t.
On the other hand, I’m a sucker for the structure they provide, for the very readable form, and for the excitement created as I read along waiting to see what the author deemed worthy of a first place and why.
So I decided to share my list of the best Youtube channels I’ve found for writers. This is the channels that consistently jumped up from the murky sea of dubious, shallow, and unoriginal writing advice to provide some useful insights to fiction writers.
It’s, and this should go without saying, not a definitive list. And if you have any suggestions for additions or disagree with the list in any way, feel free to give your input in the comments.
7. Hello Future Me
I’ve only stumbled across this channel a few weeks ago, but I like what I’ve seen so far. A lot of the videos are just fandom stuff related to books, movies, and games, but there are a few which focus on storytelling. Those I’d seen were good. Though, the 10 to 15 minutes length was a bit much compared to the amount of information offered.
6. The closer look
For a list focusing on writing fiction, I sure did end up with a lot of channels about movies, and this one is no different. There are some good analysis of popular movies and TV shows here, but there are also some which I consider weaker or superficial, which is why The Closer Look only lands at number 6.
I would still recommend the channel to anyone who’s gone through the top channels though.
Video length ranges from 5 to 15 minutes.
5. Now you see it
Just like most of the channels on this list, Now You See It highlights good and bad storytelling through examples of popular films. Generally, I consider their advice solid, and the only reason it doesn’t get a higher spot, is because it focuses a lot on filming techniques and not just writing.
The videos are brief, usually below 5 minutes.
Yeah, another channel that focuses on storytelling in movies.
The uploader does a great job at analyzing one movie per video and showing what did and didn’t make it work. Aside from maybe the Avatar analysis, I think the uploader does a wonderful job at using these examples to highlight what constitute great storytelling.
Video length is usually just around 8 or 9 minutes, though some are twice as long and some of the movies/topics are split into multiple videos.
3. Ellen Brock – Freelance editor
I might not agree with all of her advice, but I’d learned a lot from watching Ellen Brock’s videos. Sure, it might be a commercial for her freelance editing business, but the stuff she shares is good quality.
And even if she isn’t working for an established publisher, it’s a unique opportunity to see the world of publishing from the editor’s perspective.
The videos are very varied in length, from about 5 minutes to over an hours, and they cover just about every topic related to writing fiction.
2. Lessons from the Screenplay
In case the name wasn’t a giveaway, this channel focuses on — drum-role… movies and screenplays as well. None the less, it can be a great source of information for novel and short fiction writers too. None of the videos, as of writing this post, focus solely on the film technical stuff. Instead, they aim to teach us about storrytelling.
Just like most of the other entries on the list, the uploader uses popular films as case studies, analyzing what did and didn’t make them work. He does this so well, that he shoots in at number two on the list, distancing the other movie analyzing channels.
The videos are usually about 15 minutes long.
1. Brandon Sanderson’s lectures from BYU (Brigham Young University).
Mr. Sanderson has taught a class there in writing science fiction and fantasy for a couple of years now. You can find the videos from the 2012 and 2016 lectures here. There are videos available from other years as well, but the content doesn’t change much from year to year.
The lectures focus writing speculative fiction, but most of the advice is usable within any genre. The video and sound quality is good (mostly) especially in the 2016 playlist, and there’s an abundance of information stuffed in the videos that every writer should know, making the hour long videos well worth the time.
There are videos on both the content of good stories and on the business side of writing as well as example of how not to write fiction. Besides, Mr. Sanderson takes a very practically approach to teaching writing, always offering advice but never setting things in stone. I can really recommend this playlist for any beginning writers out there. In my opinion it’s the best place for getting free writing advice online.
So how about it? Do you agree with my list? What channels have I forgotten?