AuthorTube Newbie Tag! (Without the -Tube…)

I know, I know, it hasn’t been 7 full days yet. Sue me.

I spend quite a bit of time on AuthorTube – the collective name for authors and novelists who have YouTube channels dedicated to their work, and to writing in general.

It’s a brilliant place both for inspiration (seeing how people in the same boat as you go about their creative and publishing process) as well as just good old motivation (seeing people in the same boat as you, period.). Some people out there do really great inventive stuff with their channels, and some of the best ones (quite deservingly) have pretty big followings.

I follow a fair few of them – some bigger than others – and recently on a couple of smaller and younger channels, I couldn’t help but notice the AuthorTube Newbie Tag going around.

It’s when the person on the channel answers a bunch of questions about them, their work, what inspires them in their writing, their approach to the craft, what they’re hoping to do… you get the picture.

And I won’t lie, it looked interesting. I know I touched on a few of those things in my maiden post – but given this blog is only a week old and many people may not know much about me, I thought it might be a hoot.

Only… and I cannot stress this enough… I am not a technical person.

No, sir. No, ma’am.

Okay, I’m not quite as bad as Cap, but last week, when I came to set up this site alongside my official social media, it suddenly hit me that I knew nothing whatsoever about web design. I opened WordPress’ design interface and www.wpbeginner.com at about midday… and by 10pm that night the website was finally ready to go.

The hours in between were long, unending, and full of intensely-focused stress. If I ever want to set up a more personalised and sophisticated website in the future, rest assured I will be outsourcing the work to someone else.

The point I’m making is that while, in theory, having an AuthorTube channel would be great – I mean, who wouldn’t want to rabbit endlessly to a camera about all their work and inner thoughts? 😉 – technically I don’t think it’s ever likely to happen. For starters, I don’t have the camera, mics, stands or other prerequisite hardware needed to make a good channel. I also lack the software, know-how and frankly the patience to be able to cobble the footage together into something even watchable, let alone entertaining.

So no, my friends. A career as a YouTuber doesn’t really seem on the cards.

‘Smash that motherf***ing like button!’

But then… if I can’t make an AuthorTube Newbie Tag, why not just take the AuthorTube bit away?

So here we go then. I’ve taken a bunch of questions – sourced from a couple of said videos I watched this week – and while I doubt it’s as thrilling as watching me say the answers out loud, you can settle for reading them on here instead.

Buckle up, lads. (and lasses). Here we go.

How Did You Find Out About AuthorTube?

Er… I think I just clicked a few writery posts on Instagram, and maybe followed a couple of writing advice channels on YT, and just sought of found myself there. But when I did, I got lost in it quite quickly – there’s a lot of channels on there. And they’re great.

What Genres Do You Write In?

No surprises here. For the past three or so years it’s been historical fiction all the way. If you’ve read the last post, you’ll know about my sordid dalliance with sci-fi, and to be honest, at some point in the future it’s a genre I’d like to return to. I’d also like to write some ghost stories at some point, although I’m not sure what format I’d use. And maybe fantasy, too, although that’s even vaguer in my head.

What Is Your Preferred Writing Tense, PoV, and Category of Story? (Children’s, YA, NA, Adult etc)

Sheesh, what a question. I mean… past tense is what we know and love, right? Present tense can be interesting, though. If a little hard to pull off. Most authors I know don’t like writing flashback scenes but I’ve always found them quite quaint – there are a few in Legion That Was, and they’re all present tense and italicised, to show the shift.

Point of View? I don’t think it’s as big a change to be honest. I’ve done quite a lot in both camps. First Person can go pretty deep, but can be restrictive. Third Person swings both levers the other way – though, if you’re canny, there’s not a lot that First can do that Third can’t. I’m not remotely brave enough to try writing in Second Person – it’s something I’d love to have a go at, though.

As for category? I mean, I’m nearly 25. I’m ancient. If I tried Young Adult or New Adult, the paper would probably spontaneously combust. And there are some fairly messy deaths in my current WIP which probably aren’t suited to kids, so…

Are You A Plotter, Pantser, or Plantser?

For the non-writerly folk among us, this means if you plan your work in immense detail beforehand, make it up as you go along, or do a bit of both.

A lot of my work till now has been pantsed. Completely. My big project in 2018 started out with a vague idea, but pretty much every plot beat and twist just happened as I was doing it. And it wasn’t very good, in all honesty, so maybe pantsing isn’t really for me.

Legion That Was, by contrast, was plotted to hell. I wrote an outline that had every last plot and character beat over the whole story before I started, and it was something insane like 14 pages! I also made a few notes about each of the (main) characters, who they were and what would happen to them, but that was in less detail.

And I can honestly say, having done it both ways, that plotting in my opinion is the way to go. Not only was my content so much better this time round, but I just found the motivation came so much easier. Knowing exactly what you’re making – and how each little bit fits in – gives you that real push to finish.

Are You Published, Self-Published, or Yet-to-be-Published?

Technically, at the moment, I’m yet-to-be-published. In a few months’ time, if all goes to plan, I’ll be self-published, when Legion That Was hits Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. I’d quite like to be traditionally published in the future – to be represented by an agent, having a contract with a publisher, and all that jazz – but for now it’s not something that’s eating away at me.

Both traditional and self-publishing have pros and cons, which will probably make a good blog post in the future. But stuff that’s self-published can also be traditionally published later though, so never say never. Just look at Fifty Shades.

What Is Your Dream Publishing House?

Gee, I have no idea. One of the big’uns in London, maybe. Purely as I’d have an excuse to go to London all the time.

When Did You Start Writing?

That’s an easy one. I was in Year 2, if my memory’s right. Which brings us neatly onto…

What Was The First Story You Ever Wrote?

I remember it was about a lizard called Gecko trying to get home through the Amazon rainforest, being tailed by predators and poachers and the like. Along the way, he freed a parrot from captivity… and then they either got in a fight, or banded together. The exact nature of their relationship eludes me.

What Authors Have Inspired Your Writing The Most?

For my historical fiction, it’s the usual suspects. Bernard Cornwell, Robert Harris, Lindsay Davis. That last one in particular. No matter your genre or interest, no-one will ever, ever, have a literary voice quite like Davis. Her Falco novels are just… inspired. Who’d’ve thought the tale of a manic, attention-deficit delator and his friends would be one of the most touching stories in British literature?

But outside the genre, honestly, just too many to count. And not just on the written page, either. A lot of well-written plays and TV shows have shaped my approach as well.

Do You Schedule Your Writing Sessions Or Simply Get To It Whenever You Find The Time?

Hahaha. I mean, it’s been a good little while since I had a full-time job – partially from COVID, and partially for Other Health Reasons™, so I’ve had a loooooot of free time on my hands. In all honesty, that was part of the reason I started writing this novel. There wasn’t a great deal of freedom in my life, and this was one way of making the world go by.

My personal time management has never been stellar, but generally, I work a lot better the later in the day I am. In the mornings I struggle to be productive, but from afternoon/evening… I can easily power through to 1 or 2am. Which is a depressingly self-fulfilling way to be, as I’m then tired the next morning and thus can’t get lots done. But I’m getting a bit better (going to bed at a vaguely sensible time, not looking at screens right before shut-eye, getting up a bit earlier in the morning). Jury’s still out, though.

Do You Write On A Computer/Typewriter/By Hand? And Where Do You Write In General?

Finally, another simple question. 90% of all my work is done on my laptop, which these days rarely leaves the desk in my bedroom. (That’s more or less where all my productive stuff gets done). I’d love to own a typewriter, though! It’d be a great vibe. Not very practical, though. I delete and double-back a lot.

For some longer or more complex scenes, I sketch some notes in my lovely moleskin notebook (I still have a lot of other notebooks which are just too damn pretty to write in, obviously). Sometimes the notes are really rudimentary, sometimes I go so far as to write out the entire scene in pen before I type it up. It depends on my mood and concentration. I used a mix of those techniques throughout Legion That Was, but the last 10,000 words or so I was just freeboarding it – typing it up straight from my brain.

And What Are You Most Looking Forward To Now That You’re A Part Of AuthorTube?

Umm… well this is awkward.

So, there we are! Wow, that was a long-ass blog post. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. I hope this insight has been interesting for y’all.

Next week, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and start actually posting content about the novel. Given that it’s the reason I’m doing all this, and all.

Time to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.

Until then, have a good week. Enjoy the website, peruse my socials, knock yourself out.

Ciao x

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