Thursday, September 5, 2013

YouTube for Writers

There are many tools available to writers out there. One that you may not have thought of (but I hope you have) is YouTube. When you stop and say "what would it be like to do. . ." there is an excellent chance that someone did and filmed it. You don't want to use exactly what you are seeing, but use it as a seed you plant in your imagination and let it grow. Chances are that you will come up with something even better.

You can learn what it is like for people who own an exotic pet, how to build a variety of different things, cook, clean, be a jackass, and innumerable other things. Having these things as a visual reference can be much quicker than reading through pages and pages of text. Now is you need to do in-depth research and lots of precise facts you are better off with reading all those pages, but for a quick burst of knowledge a video is just the thing.

I am always hearing writers saying that they are at a loss for an idea for their next project. Another thing you can make use of YouTube videos for is story ideas. While I get the occasional idea for articles I write, it can also make great fodder for coming up with ideas for fictional stories. There is no guarantee that you will come up with a story idea, but think of all the fun you will have doing the research.

You can also scout locations this way. View a variety of world locations to prepare believable descriptions of where you characters live, work, or travel. You can research what people in China say when making a dog barking sound. Find out what it looks like to drive into a telephone pole, jump from an airplane, or descend into deep cave. 

A word of caution here, you can get mired down in looking through videos. Unless you are just browsing randomly for ideas, knowing precisely the sort of thing you are looking for can shorten you searching. Also knowing that you have been looking for too long means that you are on the wrong track can help. Bail on your search and try a different angle. Be sure to use plenty of key words to help narrow your search. It may take some time, but you will learn to tell when your search is going nowhere and stop yourself from wasting more time in fruitless pursuit.

Sometimes the best way is to do an overall Internet search for your topic and then zero in on videos that come up in that search. Along the way you might find other pertinent ideas and information that you may not have realized that you need.

At any rate -- happy watching!

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