Looking at Writing from a Different Perspective


Sometimes, I feel as if I’ve read every piece of writing advice floating out there in the collective consciousness of the Internet. Obviously that’s not true, but the diligent writer is exposed to so much that even the best bits of wisdom can start to seem stale.

Good news, though–you don’t have to get take all your advice from other writers.

Among my many and varied YouTube channel subscriptions are two I’d like to recommend as alternate sources of writing advice/criticism from different disciplines: movies and video games. Not every video on both channels will have direct applications to writing, but a great many of them have interesting things to say about storytelling, characterization, and presentation, so there’s plenty of crossover subjects.

For video games, I present Extra Credits. A collaboration between some incredibly intelligent people across several video-game disciplines (artists, animators, developers/consultants,) they cover a broad range of topics from the importance of integrating gaming into the classroom, to narrative choice and structure, to how the game mechanics influence and limit storytelling potential. (I consider this a must-watch for any video gamer, regardless of its application to writing. Also, on a side note, their sub-series Extra History is fantastically fun and interesting, and they cover all sorts of oft-neglected events and time periods I’ve known absolutely nothing about. Also a recommended watch.)

In the episode I’ve shared, the topic is why video games often tell bad stories, and it was one of the ones that hooked me–but there’s YEARS of episodes to go through, so I’m sure you’ll find plenty more worth your time.

For movies, I present Every Frame a Painting. Yes, film is a visual medium and we writers are working with words instead, but a lot of the same lessons apply.

In the episode I’ve shared, the topic is what the chairs in the film tell you about the characters and the setting, making them a fascinating shorthand object for the scene. When I first saw it, I kept thinking, yes, this is what I need to be doing in my writing, keeping the details minimal by utilizing important, signifying objects. Though not necessarily chairs.

EFP doesn’t have the same deep back-catalog to dive into, so I’d go ahead and say watch them all (unless you come across one for a movie you haven’t seen but intend to–though EFP’s mastermind Tony does diligently warn the viewer of spoilers, so have no fear on that score.)

Again, not all of them will have a direct analogue to writing like the chairs, but I’d usually finish most of them thinking about my own writing from a new angle.


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