marlowe1: (Spinning Tardis)
Youtube's automatic next video feature combined with the fact that I can play youtube on my television (whether or not it is on) means that I can play Youtube Telephone where I just let the site lead me through dozens of videos just to see where they lead. I will play a Lorde video and it will end up on a Korean pop group in 24 hours. I will play an episode of Boogiepop Phantom and end up at a douchebag judging the videos by how many upskirt illustrations are in them (it's not always a winner). So when I started with a Bad Writing Advice video (videos that mock crappy books with advice like "make sure that your dystopia has a love triangle") I ended up on other videos with serious writing advice. Like the person who made the videos went through a lot of thought to come up with a weekly "vlog" about writing and how to create compelling characters or ramp up tension. She was actually better in the early ones I saw where she talked about bad female characters, etc. The writing advice was either very basic or very specific to her writing style.

The only thing I learned about writing advice is that it's good for some things but you cannot take it as a gospel because writing advice can be contradictory for a major reason. Everyone writes differently. And often their writing advice reveals their weaknesses. Stephen King says to just write without an outline and you can see how this plays out in his books. On one hand the plot does feel like it comes organically from the characters instead of a need to pigeonhole them into a plot and yet he rarely ends a book in a satisfactory manner. The longer the book, the more likely there will be an explosion that kills off most of the secondary characters.

Also amateur writers are the ones more likely to give writing advice. It's like how people who can't stay with their boyfriends or girlfriends more than a month are just full of relationship advice. In the case of this youtube channel, the woman has a self-published book with mixed reviews. It's like she thought of the success of being asked about her process without fine tuning her process.

But then this leads to the youtube debate over whether youtubers should write books. There are two themes that I noticed in the youtube videos entitled "Should Youtubers write books?" (go on google it). First, there was some woman who got a publishing contract and then a ghost writer for her book. Second, the videos are fucking painful. Like the people who are doing them can't be bothered to write down a script or even rehearse. So they just go around the subject and never get to the fucking point. They also think of exceptions to their statements as soon as they make them. Probably when they are making them. Sometimes they mention John Green but then kind of say that he doesn't count because he was already writing books or something. Anyhow, they probably aspire to be John Green who writes pretty good YA books and has a well produced set of videos.

The part that fascinates me is the fact that it's obvious that almost every single one of these youtube "personalities" (I'm sure they have fans) would love to make money in the book writing business. After all, book writing actually pays better than patreons if the books are bestsellers (big if) but they are probably just as bad as writing books as they are at speaking clearly with purpose when the camera is on. Only they can't write one and they are jealous of those youtube "personalities" who do get book contracts, citing the anonymous youtube personality (why the fuck doesn't anyone name her) who got a ghost writer. So they try to say that writing a book when you have a youtube channel is unfair, like you are jumping in front of the line or you are taking focus away from legitimate book writers. Of course, there are plenty of celebrities who write books so the "it's unfair" debate is pretty moot.

THere are also youtube channels where teenagers review books. It's actually kind of weird to see them want to talk about a book but take forever to get to it. It's even worse in the 10 Most Hated Books when you find out that the first book is a Twilight book.

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Tim Lieder

July 2017

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