Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you had a good one. Don’t forget to pick up your free book while you’re here!
One of the most time consuming things you can do when preparing to write is researching. It can be a long, arduous process that can begin to drag. In the post-holiday haze, you’re probably a bit low on energy for the normal research process. One thing I like to do when I need a break from normal research? Watch YouTube. There are tons of great educational channels out there to help you learn about whatever you need to learn about. And you get to count it as productive time because it’s research! Here’s a few of my favorites.
Science & Futurism with Isaac Arthur
Genre: Hard Science Fiction
Isaac Arthur’s Science and Futurism show is probably the single best place on the internet for in depth analysis of hard science fiction concepts that doesn’t require a degree to understand. He has over a hundred and fifty videos, most of which are over thirty minutes long, that break down complex concepts like Dyson Spheres, Megastructures, Life Extension, and other futuristic ideas in easy to understand terms. For someone like me that is not the best at mathematics, I really appreciate that everything in here is easy to follow for the layman.
If you’re looking to incorporate any idea he’s done a video on into your science fiction novel, I highly suggest checking him out before you go too much further in you’re writing. Even if you don’t write hard science fiction, his videos will absolutely help inject a bit of realism into what you’re writing.
Recommended Video: Any of his Aliens videos
Writing alien races can be hard. Isaac Arthur really breaks down alien mindsets in an easy-to-follow way with this series. I’ve also found it useful while writing Fantasy novels, since you can treat the other races of your fantasy worlds like aliens to create some truly unique concepts.
Overly Sarcastic Productions
Genre: General Writing, Mythology, History
Red and Blue of Overly Sarcastic Productions are two of my favorite performers on YouTube right now. As the name implies, they take humorous/sarcastic looks at various tropes, mythology, and historical events, with Red usually covering mythology, classic fiction, and tropes, while Blue covers history almost exclusively.
The most useful videos for any writer are Red’s Trope Talks, which do a deep dive into the various tropes we find in media. While her focus is on science fiction and fantasy, many of the concepts covered apply to any writing. The Five Man Band as a group archetype, the Hero’s Journey (which was actually Blue), and more are covered. I also relied heavily on her Mythology videos while writing Weird Theology, since it provided some great insights into the gods I was writing about.
If you’re interested in historical fiction or fantasy, Blue’s analysis of various historical events is a great look into how periods in our past played out, and usually contains at least one good chuckle per episode. It’s a great source of inspiration!
Recommended Video (Red) – Legends Summarized – Journey to the West
Journey to the West is one of those classic works that everyone’s seen the influence of but most people haven’t read. If you want to understand the book that inspires a ton of manga and anime, and in doing so has had its influences creep into western fantasy, this is a must watch. And it’s funny as hell, which is a boost!
Recommended Video (Blue) – The Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice is one of the most influential states to have ever existed. If you want to write a historical fiction novel set in the city that birthed the Renaissance, or you want to add a trade empire with historical influence to your fantasy or sci-fi novel, Blue’s in-depth look into the city’s history is a must watch.
Genres: Fantasy, History, Pre-Modern Weapons, General Genre Fiction
Shadiversity’s YouTube channel is your one stop shop for in depth looks into medieval weapons and armor. If you’re writing a fantasy story or historical fiction where the weapons of antiquity are the primary armaments, he’s an absolute must watch. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a great understanding of how to make things realistic, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of weapons.
The pinnacle of the channel, for me, is the Fantasy Re-Armed series. In it, he takes a deep dive into what weapons would be best used by which classic fantasy races, as well as what would be the best weapons and tactics that humans could employ to fight against them. It almost makes me want to write a classic fantasy novel just so I can have characters try out some of the suggestions he makes and see how it plays out.
Recommended Video: The TRUTH about KATANAS
Even though I love the Fantasy Re-Armed series, Shadiversity has also made what is pretty much the seminal break down of the katana. One of the most mythologized swords in existence; it’s great to have the reality of the katana explained for the layman.
Have any other educational youtubers you’d suggest? Let me know in the comments below!