Our new interview is with Edward Van Winkle, a YouTuber and writer of absurd comedy. Here we find out what absurd comedy is and how Edward uses YouTube as a platform for his creations.
What do you write?
I typically write absurd comedy.
Absurdist fiction isn’t a common genre, so I always like to take a second to explain. According to Wikipedia, “Absurdist fiction is a genre of fictional narrative (traditionally, literary fiction), most often in the form of a novel, play, poem, or film, that focuses on the experiences of characters in situations where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most often represented by ultimately meaningless actions and events that call into question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value.” Now, take that and flip it on its head till it’s funny! 😀
So, basically like Seinfeld or Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You know… the good stuff!
I didn’t choose my genre. It chose me. I try to mix it in with other genres like fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and others to make it more palatable and marketable.
How does YouTube fit in with your writing?
That’s an interesting and very intentional question! lol
I see YouTube as my way of growing an audience and giving that audience a taste of what I do. I treat both platforms equally as they’re both capable of helping me reach my goals and will likely boost each other’s effectiveness over time. My main goal is to inspire laughter and logical thought, so I do that both through my writing and my videos.
I currently upload fake book trailers on Mondays (known for their pun titles and odd plots), a parody podcast on Wednesdays (which the main character insists is a radio show), and writing-related videos on Fridays (vlogs, skits, anecdotes, things, stuff).
When and why did you first start writing?
I started seriously writing about two years ago.
I’d been working as an audio-book editor for two and a half years and read over two hundred books (both fiction and non-fiction) during that time. After reading enough poorly written or under-creative best sellers, I decided I could do it. After seeing how few of those books were comedy (my favorite genre), I decided I should do it.
Who is most supportive of your writing?
My wife. We only got married a few weeks ago and that’s still an odd thing for me to say. lol
She fully supports my decision to write and listens to me read every chapter I’ve written. She’s my biggest fan.
Where do you write? Do you have a writing space or a particular process/routine?
I write on the floor, looking into a closet, with my keyboard and monitor sitting on the floor, and I have very little process or routine which is probably why it’s so hard for me to get started sometimes. Everything’s on the floor because I also use that closet and computer as my audio-recording studio. Maybe someday I’ll get a laptop and write in the big window in the dining room. #goals
What do you find the most difficult or challenging about writing?
The Just-Do-It video that became a meme… that’s not a joke – it’s real advice. Just doing it is the hardest part. Like Neil Gaiman said, “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
Tell me about the piece of work that you are most proud of writing, or about the writing accomplishment you are most proud of.
I’m not typically proud of the writing itself.
It’s not that my writing’s bad, but that having written something is not my goal. The writing accomplishment I’m most proud of is getting people to laugh. Every person who’s read something I’ve written has laughed at some point, even if they didn’t like the story or didn’t understand my genre. I’m proud of both making people’s day a bit better with a laugh, and confusing the crap out of them so they have to try to work things out for themselves with a bit of logical thought. These are things I strive to do in my daily life during social interactions, so being able to achieve that with a written work that can be reproduced to reach more people than I ever could in person is something to be proud of, I guess. Even if it hasn’t hit that threshold number of people yet.
What are your writing plans, goals or dreams for the future?
1. Switch my focus from novels to novellas. They’re shorter and give me hope on a less distant horizon.
2. Type one up every month or two and put them up on Kindle individually, then release a collection in paperback.
3. Continue to build an audience who likes my work through Twitter, YouTube, and potentially other platforms.
1. Again, the main goal is to inspire laughter and logical though, but there are indeed other goals beyond that.
2. Financial: around $36k (USD) per year. I know that’s not a very lofty goal, but I’m pretty easy to please.
3. Writing: Have over ten novellas out, at least, within the next couple of years, and have a few paperback collections of them on a shelf to stare at awkwardly on rough days.
4. Audio: Record some of my novellas, in my own voices, either for Audible or to put on YouTube.
5. Video: I’ll definitely be making some real book trailers for works I publish. I hope people won’t think they’re fake like the others. lol
1. Financial: Be able to pay our mortgage off and let my wife pursue other goals. $50-60k per year would probably be enough to do that within a few short years.
2. Pie-in-the-sky financial: $100k per year would blow my freakin’ mind. lol
3. Writing: Write more novellas than the number of years in my age – right now 29, so maybe that’s not too hard of a goal!
4. Social & Marketing: Do some novella collaborations, though I’m very picky as to what happens in my stories. I don’t typically kill off characters, or write sad scenes, and it’s all PG-13-ish.
So basically my plans are for simplification, my goals are bare minimum for most people, and my dreams are what normal writers might consider goals. I just have a very low bar at this point! XD
Find Edward on Twitter @edwardvanwinkle and YouTube.Would you like to take part in an interview for the Peeking Cat blog? Email firstname.lastname@example.org