The Magic of YouTube

I’m working on a new middle grade novel that I absolutely love, but recently, I hit one of those rough spots.

I’ve been putting off Chapter 7 for about a week.  How come?  It involves my main character, a figure skater, trying to do something she hasn’t mastered yet — a double toe loop.  She falls a bunch.  I knew that much.  And then there’s an interaction with her coach and the other skaters that’s important to the plot.  I was fine with all that, and ready to write it. 

What I didn’t know — and can’t research properly until an appointment in Lake Placid comes through — is what it looks like when you try to land a double toe loop and miss.  How do you do one successfully?  And what might she be doing wrong?

I couldn’t bring myself to just skip that scene and keep writing, but I really wanted to move forward, so last night, I had an interesting thought.  Might there be video of someone doing a double toe loop on YouTube?  Might there even be video of someone trying one and falling?

There were, in fact, numerous videos of people landing toe loops, bobbling toe loops, and completing messing up toe loops.  This one was especially helpful.


Not only did the girl in the pink shirt attempt a double toe loop and fall in slow motion, allowing me to see what went wrong, she did it over and over again. (And the people who responded to the video clip with comments, letting her know what she was doing wrong were pretty darn helpful, too.)

Obviously, watching a video — even a bunch of videos — isn’t the same as being there.  When I take my research trip to Lake Placid, I’ll be able to ask questions, see things, hear things…even smell things about the rink that a video can’t provide.  I’ll use all that in my revision of this chapter, but last night,  I needed to keep moving forward. 

So just in case the girl in the pink shirt stumbles across this blog entry…

I know I’m not the reason you shared your skating video, but you should know that you inadvertently helped me through Chapter 7.  Even beyond the research, I have to tell you that I admire the way you kept trying over and over and over again.  (Writing is like that sometimes, too, only with fewer visible bruises.)

Anyway, I hope you’ve got that double toe loop down by now.  And thanks.

12 Replies on “The Magic of YouTube

  1. I once turned to You Tube to learn how to cook a steak on a gas grill – I was not disappointed…in You Tube OR the steak. What a great idea to use it to help you get through chapter 7!

  2. As you know (I think), I used to be a competitive figure skater who lived/trained in Lake Placid. If you need a sounding board, I’m happy to help.

    I’ll have to watch the video later when I’m not running out the door.

  3. The Magic of You Tube

    I used You Tube last winter to pull up a loon call. What I wasn’t expecting, was to be able to watch what they look like when they’re calling!

    yes, very useful!

  4. Tough I’m not a figure skater:
    IMHO she has not enogh rotation or jump was not enough high. Hense landing angles was not proper. (I’m sorry, for my bad English, I’m Russian :-).

  5. Pretty close! The commenters all seemed to think she needed to concentrate on jumping first – and then think about rotating. Thanks for your thoughts!