Youtube: Another Tool for Novelists?

July 13, 2010

Tonight marks the second time in recent days I’ve turned to Youtube to help with my writing. I’m not searching for videos of people mocking celebrities or doing covers of famous songs in their bedrooms, as much fun as that is. No, I’m finding Youtube is great for those moments when you need to see something in order to describe it properly.

For instance, I’m halfway through a scene with a big fire. I’ve never seen a house fire up close. Knock on wood, I never will. So how can I describe the flames shooting through windows, the billowing smoke that consumes the upper floors? Watch some examples on Youtube. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing, and far better than setting my own house on fire just to see what it really looks like.

It’s a visual thing. I love research, and I have read a whole whack of books for Project W. But there’s a difference between reading someone else’s description of, say, a particular landscape, and seeing that landscape for yourself, either in reality, video, or photos. Of course, it’s always best to actually experience it yourself, but in the realm of SF, that’s not always possible.

So, 1043 words, some cool stuff (well, hot stuff, really), and feeling a little better about things than yesterday. More sleep = less despair. Always a good thing.




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