I've recently talked a bit about how you don't need to pay to get quality writing advice. There's plenty of excellent information out there to help you hone your craft. Something that has come up over and over from other writers is that they don't know where to find quality writing, publishing, and editing advice. So, to help combat that issue, I'm going to be doing a series of blog posts I'm creatively calling 'Writing Resources' to help people find those resources, free and otherwise.
In this series, I'm going to discuss writing, marketing, editing, and publishing advice, as well as other resources available to authors. I will be writing about a variety of mediums, including YouTube channels, podcasts, blogs, books, book coaches, short courses, writing programs, writing degrees, and websites. So if this topic in general is something you're interested in, stay tuned (and maybe subscribed to the Editing Advice mailing list here so you get an email next time a blog post comes out.)
Today I'm going to focus specifically on YouTube channels that provide writing advice. YouTube is a great resource for learning how to do just about anything. The only downside to using YouTube as a resource for improving your writing craft is that anyone with a phone, camera, or webcam can make a video and upload it.
So, without further ado, let's get into the recommendations.
Shaelin Writes is possibly my favourite recommendation for the YouTube portion of this list. Shaelin studied creative writing at university and brings a lot of those lessons to their YouTube channel. Unlike other YouTube channels that tend to focus exclusively on character, plot, and tropes, Shaelin talks about topics such as line editing, verb choice, and
Check out a video they made recently discussing when an idea is strong enough to sustain an entire story.
An absolute must for authors of fantasy and science-fiction. Hello Future Me, or Tim, specialises in video essays. He primarily makes two kinds of video. The first is videos in his series 'On Writing and Worldbuilding'. It's all in the title. The series explores various facets of writing and worldbuilding I don't often see covered on other YouTube channels. Videos in this series include a three-part series on Empires (how they work, rise, and fall,) a video on creating fictional histories, and an in-depth essay on exploring mental illness in fiction.
The other kind of video Tim commonly makes are story analysis videos giving deeply into the flaws and successes of popular media, especially Avatar: The Last Airbender. These videos are really valuable for writers as they can help you look at other stories critically and take the lessons of other stories and apply them to your work.
Check out the first video in his series on empires - How Empires Work.
If you know anyone on this list (aside from Brandon Sanderson) it is probably Jenna Moreci. For writing advice specifically, I most highly recommend Jenna's channel to newer writers. Most of her writing advice videos are in the format of top ten tips and trope talks and those new to discussions on craft will find those videos far more digestible than, for example, a video all about verbs. It's a great entry point into discussions about writing itself and she makes a lot of useful content.
If you've been consuming writing craft content for a while, I still really recommend Jenna's channel. I mostly watch the writing craft content for entertainment these days and if someone can entertain you while talking about crafting a fight scene, that's a skill. Jenna will appear again in this series when we talk about marketing and publishing advice (self-publishing specifically) so if you're looking for that kind of information now, then I recommend checking out her playlist here.
Check out her video on the biggest mistakes she made with her debut novel.
There's also a decent chance you've heard of Reedsy, they're far more than just a YouTube channel after all. However, I'm constantly surprised by how many people aren't aware that Reedsy has a YouTube channel. A lot of their content is presented by a familiar face - Shaelin Bishop. They cover a wide range of topics, from structure, to character, to pacing, all way up to finding a book editor.
Check out the first video in their three-part series diving into one of the most popular novel structures out there, the three act structure.
What I like most about Diane's videos is that she focuses entirely on one subject per video. It makes it easy to find information about one specific topic when searching and also means you can watch a video just on that topic instead of listening to other advice you might not be looking for as well.
Check out her video on writing in second person, the least popular and most misunderstood point of view.
So if you haven't already heard the name Brandon Sanderson, I think it's safe to assume that fantasy isn't a genre you spend much time reading. He's a giant in the genre. Brandon finished the Wheel of Time series after Robert Jordan died and he currently writes the hugely popular Stormlight Archive series. Brandon Sanderson uses YouTube to update readers on his writing, but he also does a number of videos on writing craft.
He has a playlist on his writing advice here, but my favourite series of videos he has done are the recordings of his lectures from the science-fiction and fantasy writing class he teaches at BYU in the United States.
Check out the first video from that series here:
Abbie makes three kinds of videos consistently and all of them are useful for writers. The first and the one that got her on this list is writing advice. She actually does this in two different ways. One is the same as others on this list, creating dedicated videos with some kind of theme and talking about tips and tricks for mastering whatever craft element is being discussed. The other is a segment called 'ask Abbie', which is exactly as it sounds, questions posed by viewers which Abbie answers in videos. This is great because we often have the same questions so there's a good chance someone has asked before, but it also means if you have a question you can't find answered you can @ her and quite possibly get an entire video response.
The other two kinds of video she does are 'immersive writing session' videos and writing focused motivational videos. We all love a motivational video now. The immersive writing session are perfect for anyone that loves ambience videos and writing sprints. I use them all the time.
Alexa Donne's channel is mostly traditional publishing advice these days and you can be sure you'll see her again later in the series, but she has a lot of great videos about writing craft in her back catalogue of videos and still releases a couple every year.
Check out her video on tips for fanfiction authors who are moving into original fiction. If you write and/or read a lot of fanfic, you should probably watch this one.
These are channels that don't actually make writing videos but make videos that talk about story-based media. We can all learn a lot from story analysis and taking note of what readers (and watchers) do and don't enjoy. If you're looking for a YouTube video to queue while you play a farming sim, knit, drive to work, cook dinner, or paint mini-figures, these might be for you.
This channel talks about tropes, character archetypes, and common themes in a wider content discussing not only the shows, movies, and books they are apart of but what they say and reflect about western society. Interesting in general, but especially for any writers thinking a lot about what their book is saying to the reader. Due to the nature of the channel it does occasionally get political and absolutely has an agenda, so keep that in mind.
Friendly Space Ninja does videos discussing television (and some movies) lso some with a focus on writing and story analysis. His videos are great for anyone who is a young millennial / older gen z as he covers a lot of shows that were popular with those age groups, or just enjoys the young adult / teen television show genre.
Check out a deep dive into what went wrong with the infamous Pretty Little Liars (it was so bad there was a television interview to explain what the fuck we'd just watched after the finale. Game of Thrones who?)
Merphy Napier is a book YouTuber and primarily that kind of content. My recommendation from her channel is actually one specific series called 'Dear Authors.' This series was a discussion of things readers in her community wanted authors to write less or more of surrounding specific topics. The link in the title will take you straight to the playlist for that series.
Check out one of my favourites from the series talking about great and terrible endings to books.