Hello, my lovely inkblots! Today, I am going to be talking about and explaining a new term that I have been seeing around Twitter and some other online spaces recently. Some of you may have seen VWriters or VAuthors floating around.
But what does that even mean?
Well, it starts with another term that you may already be familiar with.
What is a VTuber?
In order to understand what a VWriter/VAuthor is, you need to know what a VTuber is. A VTuber is a virtual YouTuber, which is a person that makes content while using an artistic representation of themselves (sometimes even their own fictional character) to interact with others. Usually, they have some sort of model (either 3D with some face and body tracking or 2D with Live2D animation and tracking) or even just an image that represents them (a PNG). For example, I am a VTuber and I use a 3D model for videos and interactive PNGs for streams. (My computer isn’t that great, so yeah.)
Much like regular YouTubers, there are also many different subgroups of VTubers which vary by their kind of content. VStreamers are VTubers who only stream. VArtists are VTubers whose content focuses primarily on the art that they make. There seems to be a different category for every kind of content that you can think of and this also extends to the writing sphere.
What is a VWriter?
So, now that we have that explanation out of the way, let’s get into the writing side of the VTuber community. The term VWriter is kind of a catch-all label for VTubers who write, but there are many other titles to help increase inclusivity. Just a few of them are VStoryteller, VPoet, and VAuthor (which, from what I have seen, can often be used interchangeably). All of these terms basically boil down to a person writing stories, poems, articles, and/or more from behind an online persona that is also used for VTubing activities.
(Note: If you would like to check out more VWriters aside from myself, please check out these lovely people: Kieran M. Doyle, Pawsworth, Laika, and Keian Dark. There are many more, but these are some of the ones I can list off the top of my head.)
Why I became a VWriter
This is where this post is going to get a little personal. As some of you that have followed my YouTube channel or talked with me on Twitter know, I used to write under my real name before I ended up becoming a VTuber. I was actually doing pretty well with it, but then I ended up getting severely cyberbullied. The experience took a huge toll on my mental health and I got rid of everything that I could under my real name to protect myself. I stopped writing for about a year and lost a large piece of my identity, which caused me to spiral.
After a while, I decided that I needed to go back to writing stories. I couldn’t just quit, so I decided to make a pen name. Around the same time, I also found VTubers again (I first found them when I was younger, but I didn’t have the skills to pursue becoming one then) and decided that I wanted to combine my pen name with some character design ideas that I had to make a new identity. Thus, I became Ashelynn Rowan, the writerly shapeshifter that is writing this now.
Benefits of being a VWriter
Since I have started writing and VTubing under the same identity, I have noticed that there are quite a lot of benefits to becoming a VTuber rather than just using a pen name. However, all of these relate to if you want to use a pen name to keep yourself anonymous.
Benefit #1: An avatar still gives people a face to recognize you by, even if it isn’t your real one
This is one that is surprisingly important. I know that not everyone that comes across my stories or videos will remember my name, but my avatar stands out enough to where people have recognized me from that alone. Even if my name seems vaguely familiar, my flaming orange and red hair and inkblot tattoos help remind people of who I am. If I worked with a pen name alone, I wouldn’t have that same recognizability.
Benefit #2: You can still interact directly with your audience
When I wrote under my real name, I dreamed of eventually having a large book signing event. Now, I dream of holding a successful book launch livestream. When you are able to use an avatar in the way that VTubers can, you can hold streams, make YouTube videos, and host virtual meet-and-greets to interact more directly with your readers. While it may not be the exact same as doing these things in real life, they still provide the benefit of anonymity and, with current world events, may also be the safest choice.
Benefit #3: You can craft an avatar/character to represent yourself and your writing
This is the part of the whole process that I found the most fun. I originally made my avatar an elf because I primarily wrote fantasy and wanted to reflect that genre. Now that my writing has branched out to different kinds of stories, I have instead deemed myself to be a shapeshifter, but the fantasy element still remains. (Don’t let this blog’s name fool you, my elf form is just my main one.) Basically, I was able to make an avatar that reflected the kinds of characters that I would write and I think that made it easier to find my ideal readers.
I have found that this also makes crafting an author persona much easier, but I won’t go into that too much in this post.
(Note: If you would like examples and tips on how I did this, check out my “How To Make A VTuber Persona” and “5 Tips for Designing A VTuber Avatar” posts! I also take 3D model commissions over on Ko-Fi.)
Benefit #4: Complete separation of your professional life from your personal life
This is more applicable if you want to be able to do some of the stuff in the second benefit I listed while also avoiding certain people from finding your work. (People who don’t want their parents reading the sex scenes in their books, this one’s for you!) But seriously, you get to choose what parts of your life you share with your audience with only a small chance of anyone you know in real life finding you, assuming that you choose not to tell anyone.
Does being a VWriter sound appealing to you? Let me know with a comment down below! Additionally, please consider sending this to any of your writerly friends to help increase awareness of these new kinds of content creators. Also, if you would like to keep up with my journey as a VWriter, you can find all of my channels and forms of social media here.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderful day.