I’m not a very… trusting person. If I see that someone is trying to sell a program or a course, warning bells immediately go off in my head. When they promise easy answers, I don’t even bother looking at the price. I already know it’s a scam.
So do I think that they are all garbage? No way. The good ones are sort of drowned out by the noise, though.
What I’ve noticed is this: real advice is often free. Authors know what it’s like to struggle through that early phase, and love to make words. It’s in their job description. If your hero has a blog or a YouTube channel, chances are they’re already rocking that magic mouth music and all you need to do is tune in.
I’ve already mentioned the Neil Gaiman MasterClass elsewhere. Is it worth what I paid? Maybe. I enjoyed watching my own hero tell stories about his thought process and story crafting. I feel like I came away from it with something tangible that I could immediately apply to my own work, and it changed how I wanted to craft my own stories. So, for me, I’d do it again… but I’m glad that I don’t have to, because it was a little pricey.
But I also like watching Brandon Sanderson talk about world building on YouTube, and I don’t pay a dime for that. I’ll even let the ads do their thing so he gets a shiny new penny out of my view. “You don’t get a penny per view!” Shoot, you might when the courses are over an hour long, and when you can weigh the amount of material he has out there in tons.
Or, for a more amusing breakdown of some literary devices, check out Overly Sarcastic. Their Trope Talks constantly amaze me with how insightful they are, and how cleverly they can sneak a snark into their scripts. It’s YouTube gold. Actually, all of their playlists manage to draw a laugh from me, even on bad days.
Anyway, just a thought.