Chapter 9 of 22 from James Patterson

Creating Characters

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From Alex Cross to Michael Bennett, James has mastered the art of creating complex and memorable characters. Hero to villain, learn how to make your character stay with your reader well beyond the last page.

Topics include: Who is your character? • What makes your character tick? • Make a complex hero • Make a complex villain • Make important secondary characters • Create reader intimacy

From Alex Cross to Michael Bennett, James has mastered the art of creating complex and memorable characters. Hero to villain, learn how to make your character stay with your reader well beyond the last page.

Topics include: Who is your character? • What makes your character tick? • Make a complex hero • Make a complex villain • Make important secondary characters • Create reader intimacy

James Patterson

James Patterson Teaches Writing

James teaches you how to create characters, write dialogue, and keep readers turning the page.

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Set out to write a best-selling book

James Patterson, the author of 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, reveals his tricks of the trade for the very first time. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process.

22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published.

Each video lesson is paired with notes, reading materials, and assignments to make sure you get the most out of your class.

Submit your rough drafts and assignments for feedback from other students taking the class (and possibly James himself!).

Reviews

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

so far so good,, I just joined the class so the review is based on my expectations. i'm looking forward to learning.

I am absolutely enjoying the classes. So educational in every way. Thanks Mr. Patterson.

Great intro, especially the part of writing till there's blood on the forehead... Looking forward to more fun as well as learning.

I am always grateful for reaffirming things I already know or believe. The fundamentals put forth by Mr. Patterson mirror what I have been taught. He did open ideas to new ways of looking at things (the section on Endings was pure gold for me) and for that he deserves a whale nudge. Fantastic presentation with a lot of nuggets for people of all levels of writing.

Comments

Catherine M.

I've been reading "Liar Liar" by James Patterson and am truly intrigued at how he developed the character Harriet Blue "Harry". At first I really disliked her, but by the end of the book I loved her and was pulling for her to win. A complex character with a dark backstory that melds perfectly with her need to track down a serial killer who is, one by one, killing off the people she cares about. The novel sort of drew me in morbidly, then pushed me away, then drew me back in, and by the end I was up reading into early morning hours. A quiet work of art and something to learn from!

Michael O.

I don't know, maybe I'm ready. I found this lesson opening me up about character, opening up the possibilities. Quite a release for the moment, like a flower bud blooming. This felt real, significant, sincere. I believe this will help with next step(s) of creating character. Thanks.

Deb L.

In the notes I clicked on "CRITIQUE — CHARACTER ASSIGNMENT." I clicked on this link and went to an "After Hours" section. I expected to see a video title that said, " CRITIQUE — CHARACTER ASSIGNMENT" or something that indicates it's about creating character....but I didn't see it. What am I missing?

Natalie D.

This is an outline for a current character I have. I've marked the 3 I kept with **. 1. 6’2”, Blonde with green eyes, Knows he’s attractive. 2. **Resentful of his hippie parents for abandoning him and his little brother. 3. Likes to push the rules if he thinks his end results will be favorable. 4. **Enjoys not fitting the FBI mold. 5. Loves working for the FBI. 6. Admires his boss, Cole, but gives him a lot of grief at work. 7. Good relationship with his younger brother. 8. Raised by his maternal grandparents from age 8. 9. Works on the side with an agency that trains police dogs. 10. Adopted a dog that failed out of the program for being too timid, named Loki. 11. Likes playing the field and being single. 12. Loves a good stout. 13. Works out regularly. 14. Falls hard when he does fall for someone. 15. Keeps a secret stash of gummy candy at his desk. 16. **Especially good at undercover work because he’s a good liar, but he hates being lied to. 17. Expert marksman. 18. Sarcastic. 19. San Francisco Giants fan. 20. Hides his early childhood in a hippie commune from most people he knows, and introduces his grandparents as his parents.

Bridget M.

This lesson is especially helpful to me. Creating a story line comes easier for me than crafting the characters. For months I've been struggling with my main character because even I feel like I don't know her well - how will readers? I think it's even more challenging since it's a middle grade novel with a 13 year old protagonist. I teach middle schoolers, so it shouldn't be this difficult to nail this character's attributes (devastated, anxious, hopeful/adaptable), but I feel like I'm failing big time. Any suggestions? I've made the list of attributes, but it's like I can't get inside her head.

A fellow student

My character: Average Always seeking to be special Determined by the loss of his parents

James B.

My main character's main traits are: Protective, Bright, Stubborn. While not the best, it's something I can work with.

Dana

My main character: Insecure Smart Independent Impulsive Curious Brave Alone Funny Argumentative Silly Lonely Introvert Strong Adventurous Self-aware Self-reliant Loving Attentive Caring Isolated I kept : Insecure smart curious

Nicole F.

My Main Character: Self-sufficient Art Student Honest Elemental Dependable Alien Loyal Brash Introvert Blunt Naive Straight-forward Artistic Only child Passionate Nomad Stubborn Orphan Angry Martial arts Three to Keep: Loyal Naive Passionate

Margot B.

My main character: 1. Her deep sensitivity and empathy drove her to become a spiritual-seeker since childhood. 2. She is vulnerable. 3. Sincere - she is willing to question herself with brutal honesty in the name of personal and spiritual development. 4. Courageous – never loses courage, always bounces back. 5. Lost - suffers from moments of fear and doubt. 6. Spacey - Acts before she thinks or speaks. 7. Free spirit - Jumps headfirst into meaningful adventures. Comfortable going with the flow, as long as it is in a wholesome direction. 8. Hin-Jew - born to a Jewish family but identifies as Hindu. 9. Healer/psychotherapist 10. She can be ferocious and violent if mistreated by men. 11. Lonely 12. She doubts whether she will ever find love. 13. Warrior in her quest for self-actualization and spiritual development. 14. Humorous - sees the humor in everything, including herself. 15. Judgmental - when she falls into self-doubt she also singles out others' shortcomings. 16. Fearful - sometimes falls into a black hole of fears and doubts and tries to navigate her way back to solid ground. 17. Cold - capable of dark & critical humor. 18. Innocent - dares to believe in people and situations until circumstances warrant otherwise. 19. Cerebral - spends a lot of time thinking 20. Witty - finds the humor in the mundane. And the three I choose to keep are: 13. Warrior in her quest for self-actualization and spiritual development. 16. Fearful - sometimes falls into a black hole of fears and doubts and tries to navigate her way back to solid ground. 18. Innocent - dares to believe in people and situations until circumstances warrant otherwise.

Transcript

If you write something mediocre chances are it's not going to get published. Now how does it not become mediocre? It becomes not mediocre because, a, you have just this tremendous idea. And we talked about ideas and how some of them really rise above the pack. Or you've created these characters, or a character, who's just so fresh and involving and just the way they look at the world-- that's really what it is. It's the way they see the world. And you really want your readers to have strong feelings about your characters. You want them to love that character. Or you want them to want that character to somehow pull themselves up somehow. Or you want to hate that character. But you're not going to do it unless you create characters that really make an impression on them, make them feel. What goes into creating a character? What goes into a human being? What goes into me? What goes into you? What are the parts? One of things that's useful, I think, is just think of anybody you've met, anybody in your life, that you find interesting. Why is that? Are you a religious person? If you're not, what are you? Are you a spiritual person? How does that affect how you conduct your life? Do you have any physical attributes that are important? Are you 70 pounds overweight? What does that mean to how you conduct your life? Your internal life and the way you deal with the world. Pretty much everybody you meet, if you just start writing down all their little ticks and all the things they do, and that's what makes them who they are. And there's a kind of an infinite number of things. I mean they really are. And that's the challenge of it. You know, what fits your main characters that are relevant to your story? So that's-- you just want to make it as tight as you can in terms of those talents really making that story stronger and stronger and stronger. And you just keep more and more attributes and things that the characters do. And eventually-- and that's also an aha moment, and also very joyful, when you figure out something about that character that that's exactly right. And what you're going to find that is you're starting to understand your own character. As I said, I don't write realism. But I've had hundreds, maybe thousands, of policemen and FBI people go, you got it right. And I think what they mean by that is not that I got all the details right, but I got the spirit of it right. I have the feeling for what it's like to be a cop and after doing a very difficult job that a lot of people don't understand how hard that is, and then how hard it is to leave it behind and go home and try to be a father or a husband or a wife or whatever that particular cop is. So I get the emotional part right, and that gets me over a lot of bumps. Talking about Michael Bennett and one of his kids who goes out and is robb...