I have grown up being passionate about reading novels and books. Reading provided me with a limitless horizon of possible storylines and imaginations.
Not long after that, I realized my liking for writing and wanted to pen down my ideas. But it wasn’t as easy as it sounded; I knew I needed guidance right from the imagination to the implementation.
Naturally, I started to look for sources to help me out but everything seemed so scattered that I couldn’t keep track of my progress.
During one of my research, I came across the James Patterson Masterclass. I had read most of his best-selling work before but, to learn from James Patterson himself? I was immediately captivated.
I won’t lie, at first I was hesitant to take up this class which is why I will share the Masterclass review to help others out there who would want to know the A to Z of the James Patterson Masterclass before investing their time and money into it.
I will share my experience and honest review with you and address some of the common queries about the class
What is a Masterclass?
Masterclass has made its name quite established since it first came into existence in 2015. It is an online education platform that brings experts from a bunch of different fields to share some of their genuine expertise tips with you.
It has so much in store for you, be it teaching to act or write or cook; they have it all with over 100 courses to choose from.
Masterclass can teach you all the writing skills you’ll need, all in one place. I’ve often wondered while reading a good book what it must be like to look into the mind of the author.
And well, it’s like a genie heard my wish and gave me a writing Masterclass which is a mirror to James Patterson’s thoughts and skills.
James Patterson Masterclass Review: Why To Choose & Who is he?
When I saw a James Patterson master class, I jumped right into it. Reason? James Patterson is a well-renowned thriller writer who has delivered classics in the past.
He is incredibly prolific, to say the least. His obvious success made me wonder what can I integrate into my writing to make it worth reading and, that pushed me to enroll in this masterclass.
The good part is that James Patterson’s masterclass has just 22 video lessons, all ranging from three to seventeen minutes long. In totality, it’s just 4 hours of well-thought content.
Pro tip: you get class workbooks and PDFs for every lesson, which includes assignments for your practice.
What to look forward to in James Patterson Masterclass?
At the time of enrolment for this class, I was working on my first novel’s manuscript and needed to understand what would make it an impactful read and, the features were one of the best things that I learned from the class.
The lessons given out by James Patterson are well planned out and very thorough about the concepts that matter the most when it comes to writing. It’s a good blend of theoretical and practical learning.
There were plenty of assignments to experiment with your writing. The office hours as well as the lesson discussions to ask questions really tend to help with doubts and queries with insights from peers or the team.
One thing that gives a personal touch to the learning experience is the outline he shares with us of his novel-Honeymoon.
Structure of James Patterson Masterclass!
This course covers how to keep productive, is your raw idea good enough to turn it into a bestseller, how to structure a plot, creating complex and memorable characters, first lines, dialogue, constructing a chapter, secret to writing suspense, ending the book, editing, working with co-authors, titles and covers, marketing your book and his own personal journey.
The lessons are prerecorded and each focuses on a different avenue of writing. The Masterclass has twelve video sessions as listed below:
- Passion + Habit
- Raw Ideas
- Outlines, Part 1
- Outlines, Part 2
- Writer’s Block
- Creating Characters
- First Lines
- Writing Dialogue
- Building a Chapter
- Writing Suspense
- Ending the Book
- Working with a Co-Author
- Getting published
- Book Titles and Covers
- Marketing the Patterson Way
- Personal Story
James Patterson introduces by talking about the things that we will get to learn from the class. I particularly enjoyed the way he didn’t direct how the writing should be but instead paved the way for coming up with a plot that has the potential to sit well with the readers.
I will share my review of some of the valuable lessons with you!
What’s Included In Development Phase Of James Patterson Masterclass Review
1. Raw Ideas and Plot
He thoroughly focused on having an effective raw idea and the passion and consistency towards writing. I’d say it’s important to have natural instincts to write but, even if you don’t that is okay because the class plants those seeds in your head through fruitful advice about the habits you can adapt to pick up on ideas around you and visualize it.
He shares a lot of literature work as examples of engaging content which helped me gain a better perspective on how to know if my idea is fresh and compelling.
Everything that we need for our idea, stories, or characters is all around us, we just need to look in the right places. That is exactly what research says! James perfectly explains It may also happen that the course of research opens doors for more creative possibilities to integrate into your plot.
Before we begin to write, we must explore the genre as much as possible. He believes in cutting the irrelevance out of your writing and rightly so! When a writer has done his research right, it gives him a better pace and more confidence in his work.
Sometimes as writers we tend to lose track of where we are going with our plans and plots, research might also help you overcome the writer’s block and give you some creative inputs that you weren’t previously aware of. Never skip this step!
After attending the two detailed classes on outlines I realized maybe that is what I was missing. James Patterson particularly emphasizes writing an interesting outline and practically makes you understand its importance.
He doesn’t just show you the outline for his own bestselling thriller-Honeymoon but also shares it with you as a PDF for reference. The outline must be well-plotted, he says.
It is an exciting experience to learn how he addresses the common outline writing mistakes that writers make and shares tips to include not just the borderline plot but also the characters, the setups, scenes, and all that there is in the outline.
This process takes time, but it compensates by allowing you to write your book better and in lesser time. As per the outline master himself, a single outline can give you the possibility of up to three or six drafts of the book.
He says, “Outlines speak of your intent, they are entertaining and suspenseful and honestly give you the perfect base to build your story upon”, and he actually does not begin the book until he’s fully satisfied with the outline.
4. Making of the character
A story is nothing without its characters. In this lesson, he basically explains the way a character can be the driving force behind the whole story.
Complex and impactful characters are at the heart of any story and one key takeaway from this lesson was his attention towards the secondary characters and how to make your characters impressive and believable.
James advises against making predictable character development. The characters should be such that even if they play multiple roles, each role should leave an impact on the reader, the reader must be able to feel the moment through the character’s point of view.
His passion for making his characters juicy, dramatic and mysterious is quite enthralling. In his work, he follows the character narration in first person and third person to allow the reader to taste the scene from a different point of view and that was the highlight of this lesson for me.
James Patterson Masterclass Review: The Main Content
1. First lines
In James’s formula for writing, the first lines are the important factors that can get your reader hooked and involved from the beginning.
He breaks down the lesson on writing first lines into smaller manageable chunks and shows you some examples of why some of his first lines worked while why some didn’t while subtly giving himself for the successful ones!
By this point in the class, it is not a secret that he adds humor to his teaching. I guess it is not surprising considering how he keeps the readers also reeled into his writing. Jokes apart, trust me, a comparison is the best way to learn the stakes of good writing.
Composing the right dialogue is an art in itself, you cannot just wing it. It has to be the right mix of conversational, engaging, and in alignment with the character’s personality.
On that note, James shares that sometimes it is not all about being super realistic, a normal person might not say the dialogue in real life but it feels real.
It SHOULD feel real! He tends to include dialogues that are more on the dramatic front, dialogues that are wittier or funnier in an attempt to comprehend the complex emotions of the characters.
He focuses on some important points like
- The dialogue must resonate with the character’s personality
- A good dialogue must be such that it will make the reader understand the intimacy in it
- Dialogues should be such that they accelerate the story in time
3. Building a Chapter
He already mentions in the outlines lesson, that if the outline is good enough, building a chapter becomes easier.
The chapters must be written in such a way that the pages turn themselves. He makes this lesson interesting with his anecdotes and taking his own book as examples. He advises on how to establish a relationship between you and your readers through the flow of your chapters.
There can never be just one viewpoint, he also utilizes this lesson to teach about the benefits and cons of outlining different points of view at the time of writing your chapter.
4. The Suspense
The phrase “more the merrier” aptly applies here. The more questions the reader will have, the better it is. I loved how he explained the factors of good suspense. The suspense should be so well written that the questions are genuine.
At this point, you need to think outside the box and avoid suspense that has been used before. Writers can go to great extents to make the readers feel puzzled but it’s rare. Don’t settle.
5. Ending the book right
James believes that the reader must end the book with the satisfaction that it was worth his time. The ending is just as important a pillar as the first lines are.
Especially with suspense novels, readers look for something that’ll blow their mind, that makes your book a best-selling novel. James suggests that the ending should be such that it still makes the reader’s mind lingering with thoughts and mystery after finishing the book.
This actually made me reminisce my thoughts when I finished reading James’s books and my mind was blown!
He fairly suggests that one can’t get an ending right on their first try so you should devote time to planning and trying some alternatives before getting right and that’s some really valuable advice right there!
6. Editing and Publishing
A book or a good story is a craft and, it has to be polished and modified to bring it in the right shape. I indeed enjoyed how James didn’t sugarcoat the process, he was very transparent about how overwhelming the editing and publishing process can get!
Editing can be tedious as it is just rewriting and rewriting many times over until you are totally satisfied with your draft. (Pfft! It’s only a dream) well, at least it gets you closer to what you had initially thought it would be like. It is all about enhancing your characters and story.
Coming to publishing, he mentions that he got almost 13 rejections before getting published. You have to keep your armor strong through this process and know that it is not the story that is causing this.
Especially for a first-time writer who wants to get published, this lesson talks about some good points like:
- Writing query letters
- Considering what the agents are looking for
- Perseverance through rejections
- Having a captivating selling point
I’d sum it up as a short but knowledgeable, easy-to-follow lesson.
The lessons of Marketing like Patterson, Book title and covers, and making it as a writer focus on some good strategies to make your book popular. After all, the story is not all that makes it a best seller, it is also how you market it or design it.
The book design should be such that it stands out, it should be such that the first book that the reader picks up from the shelf is your book thinking “this is a cool design” and the rest your prologue does for you. It’s on you to find the right title and cover to cater to your expectations as well as the reader’s standard of liking.
Pro tip: sometimes big type covers are not quite enjoyed by art directors (they are effective sometimes though)
He shares that creating a gripping image for your book is a big responsibility for the writer while marketing as you are the only one truly connected to your story.
As of today, we have the biggest tool that is social media for marketing, which has proved as a boon. When the publisher and author work hand in hand, the book can reach a maximum audience.
8. Writer’s Block
The much-dreaded challenge for every writer including myself is the inability to think of ideas and, not knowing how to begin or to write something compelling at times. This is the real enemy!
James Patterson talks about how he usually resorts to a co-writer when he comes across a situation like that and how he has been looked down upon at times for the same.
He does think that collaboration is not something one should be ashamed of along with sharing some actionable advice for those who cannot.
This lesson does share valuable information about dealing with Hollywood and people trying to make movies based on your books however, for the writers still learning in the class this might not be the most ideal or relatable lesson to follow through.
He goes ahead and shares some of his background, early aspirations, goals, and journey from where he started to now.
The most valuable pieces of information were the little failure and success stories which make the whole class undoubtedly relatable. The narration of his own journey is extremely passionate and inspiring.
People often explain concepts vaguely and expect you to figure it out which is great but not helpful. You need guidance as a writer to write your book to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed the personal touch this class had concerning that.
James Patterson Masterclass Review: Pricing Plans
It’s a great one-stop-shop to give you a complete insight into the writing process but, it does come with a price tag. Masterclasses generally charge a fee and, so does this one.
There are two kinds of payment options:
Payment for this class
At 90$, it gives you access to this single course and its perks; there are no time limitations on this. It allows unlimited access for the rest of your life and, you can visit it anytime.
However, can’t buy a single course. Masterclass only has an all-access pass which comes with $180 per year and it’ll unlock all Masterclass courses.
Payment for All Access masterclass
This is a yearly subscription of 180$ which enables you to select and enroll for the Masterclasses of your choice in the specified duration of time. It seems more reasonable but, in retrospect, I suggest you only go for it if you are planning to take up on a lot of classes in the long run.
Things I liked In James Patterson Masterclass:
- The course is pretty thorough and, it walks you through writing books in specific and manageable pieces.
- Learning real experiences from a successful, established author
- The practical explanation for outlining a book and overcoming writer’s block.
- All the information or tips are compiled in one place.
- You get notes containing important points in each lesson and, you get access to office hours where you can submit a question to him.
- Tips on getting published
- The anecdotes and mechanism of a best seller
Things I didn’t like In James Patterson Masterclass:
- It’s a bit biased towards thrillers when it comes to the point of view and, he admits this himself.
- There is a lot of focus on one particular writing style and not so much on another genre, making it a bit restrictive.
- Some information is subjective and can be different from person to person
- The speech decorum is not always pleasing
- Might not be the right choice for an extreme beginner
Final Verdict: Is MasterClass worth the investment?
It breaks down novel writing with its independent lessons on idea generation, research process, plotting, character development, talks in-depth. It’s well-rounded from start to finish.
The structure makes it a good tool for a baseline understanding of most concepts and shares really great wisdom about storytelling and how to keep your reader reeled in throughout.
“People want to be manipulated … but they want to be manipulated well!” one of the things he said left a remark on me.
Especially when it comes to writing, not everything works for everyone, it is essential to be able to think from your instructor’s point of view and figure out what works for you through a trial-and-error method and, I believe that is explained well in the lessons.
To conclude, I’d say this class has good engaging knowledge to impart but, there are a few setbacks that might not make it very valuable to a few people but, if you have the right passion for thrillers, in particular, Go for it!
James Patterson Masterclass Review: FAQs:
Is it worth it?
It does add good value to your baseline knowledge but, if you are not looking to be a suspense writer, it may not be as worth it.
How long are the videos?
The lessons are 3 hours and 50 minutes long.
Does Masterclass have a free trial?
Yes, it gives a seven-day free trial.
Can I get a refund for the Masterclass fee?
Yes, it offers refunds within 30 days of payment
James Patterson Masterclass Review: Similar Writing Masterclasses
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- Neil Gaiman: The Art of Storytelling
- R.L. Stine: Creative Writing for Young Audiences
- Margaret Atwood: Creative Writing
- Malcolm Gladwell: Writing
- David Sedaris: Storytelling and Humor
- Joyce Carol Oates: The Art of the Short Story
- David Baldacci: Mystery and Thriller Writing
- Billy Collins: Reading and Writing Poetry
- Walter Mosley: Fiction and Storytelling
- Salman Rushdie: Storytelling and Writing
- N.K. Jemisin: Fantasy and Science Fiction
- Amy Tan: Fiction Writing