Dan Brown

Lesson time 04:31 min

Meet your new instructor: best-selling author Dan Brown. In your first lesson, Dan lays out the practical takeaways you’ll get in his class and provides his first lesson in suspense.

Dan Brown
Teaches Writing Thrillers
In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.
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One of the things I love about books is that they are different things to all people. When you write a novel, you're not writing one novel. You're writing a million novels. And each person reads it in a different way, imagines your character in a different way. Your job is to create a framework, to create the points of interest that the reader's imagination fills in and connects. Help them imagine the story. Give them just enough to move to the next point and to bring their imagination to fill in all the blanks. At the end of this MasterClass, I'm going to admit something to you that I have never admitted to anyone on Earth. I'm also going to show you an artifact that nobody except me has ever seen. And that is your first lesson in suspense. I love the creative process of writing. And I wanted to teach this MasterClass in hopes of helping other writers overcome some of the natural obstacles and frustrations that are inherent in the process of writing a novel, so they could get to the point where they're actually doing it, loving the process, and being successful at it. I can't tell you what idea to have or what to write your novel about. But I'm hoping that I can give you a roadmap of sorts to turn your idea into a story. This class is specifically designed to talk about writing thrillers. But I'm hoping that it actually helps writers of all different genres. Because what makes thrillers work are elements that actually make all stories work. And this art form of storytelling is at the core of every single art form. Paintings tell stories. Music tells stories. You, as a writer, as a storyteller, are participating in the oldest creative art form on Earth. I was very fortunate to grow up the son of a teacher. My father was a was a mathematics professor. My mom actually was a music teacher. Some of the people I've respected most in my life are teachers. So when I set out to write a thriller and to create a hero, I said, well, he's going to be a teacher. He's going to be just like these people that I respect, that have helped me so much. And in some way, you sort of feel like you're giving back a little. You're reminding people that teaching is the noblest of all professions, and that if we can do one thing for the people around us, it's to help them. And that's what teachers do. That's what this class is trying to do. Written language is how our species has progressed. It's how we remember what we've accomplished and pass it on to the next generation. When I first started out as a writer, I got a lot of very ethereal advice. Write what I know. Write what I'm passionate about. Write a page a day. Show, don't tell. And there's some truth to all of that. But the reality is, it's not all that helpful when you're trying to sit down to figure out how to put a book together. What I'm hoping to do in this class is give the actual nuts and bolts of, how do you put a story together? How do you create tension? How do you buil...

Craft page-turning suspense

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Just what I needed. Clear and a lot of good tips. Thank you!

Learned so much! I'm inspired and excited to finish my novel, polish it up, and write another one. : )

Thank you, Mr. Brown, for the authentic, candid, and realistic approach to becoming a successful storyteller!!

There is so much here. I am in the middle of writing a book at the moment and there were tidbits here that I have not heard before and I have read A LOT of books on writing. Well worth taking.


A fellow student

Love his enthusiasm to share his knowledge and experience with all of us. So excited!

Susannah C.

He is so full of great advice, expressed SO clearly. I am loving this masterclass and learning so much.

Eva C.

I love your energy. It gave me the energy and passion to get back to writing. Now I can not wait to write again.

M K.

I want him to open one of those panels to reveal a bar fridge full of something pedestrian and tacky, like bottles of Kool Aid or Tang.

Shalini P.

Well, it truly was the first lesson of suspense! I was more interested in what he's going to admit than the artifact. Does anyone else feel this way? Is this something to do with emotional secrets of people being far more engaging than some object that isn't connected to anything human? And I'm somebody who loves history and antique objects! So happy I signed up for this. :)

Jayne C.

I'm hooked already! What an incredible way to begin a class. This lesson alone is a lesson on how to hook your reader! Let's go....

Regina R.

Love it!!!!! very helpful the idea of protecting the process, not to get focus on pages but on discipline of hours of work. I can go on and on....I found him honest and transparent about the learning process....I got the idea of creating suspense, however,

Machinima L.

My second time around listening … I learn something new. I know there will be a 3rd, 4th and 5th listen. THANK YOU Dan.

Machinima L.

Fantastic way to start the course !!! An empty chair. Fill in the blanks. Who is going to sit there?

shirin K.

So many great insights, ideas, advice and wisdom in under five minutes. Your desire to help/ teach/ pass on to the next generation is so obvious from this intro. Thank you, Dan, and for bringing great energy. Looking forward to the rest of your masterclass, as I work on my novel. Regards, shirin.