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Arts & Entertainment


James Patterson

Lesson time 03:11 min

You've been given the tools to help write your next book. Now what?

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


I am peculiar, obviously, and that peculiarity has had its rewards. So I share things with you and you have to pick what's going to be relevant to you. I think, and I said this to somebody yesterday, that the things that seem the dumbest to you right now, the most foreign, that I'm just dead wrong, those are the things you really want to pay the most attention to and really analyze whether they-- because those are the things that are farthest from what you're doing now, and maybe the most interesting, and maybe the most beneficial. The things that seem like oh my God, that's really, that wouldn't work for me, or that's crazy. There's nothing I'm going to tell you that's crazy. That I will guarantee. I am crazy, but what I do is sane. People get too into, this is the way it's been, here's the rules of writing, here's the rules of literature, here's the rule-- who said? Really God does not come down and lay down, here are the 20 commandments of writing a story. And just because it's been done in a certain way forever does not necessarily mean it's right. And also means don't walk away from what's been done, but also you don't have to follow it blindly. Things change. We do new shit. Why am I doing this? I like the feeling of doing something that's going to help people. I just, I like giving pleasure to other people, whatever. That's not the worst thing in the world. There was a story in the San Francisco Chronicle at one point and a whale was kind of hopelessly trapped in a bunch of fishing lines and crab traps and whatever, and it was decided that the only way that they could get the whale out was a bunch of rescuers had to literally swim out there and start clipping away with little scissors all of these lines and ropes. And it took them half a day to get this whale loose and what happened is the whale did not swim out to sea, rather the whale went around, literally, from person to person, these rescuers, nudged them, and these people who rescued said that they would never forget that experience and it changed their lives. And that I think is what it's about to give to somebody else. And that's what really moves me. That kind of thing that I'm going to be out there and to some extent for some of you, it's what I'm saying will change your lives and free you from whatever's stopping you from writing your books or stopping you from writing them successfully. And that maybe you'll nudge me a little bit before you swim back out to sea and become famous.

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. In his first online writing class, he guides you from the start to the finish of your book.


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

had no idea what to expect, frankly not optimistic, this was a gift from my daughter who remembers my stories to her s a child. James was superb, genuine, touching, funny, sincere, talented, informative and over all a good storyteller, great experience, hopefully I will be able to put pen to paper and leave a legacy as note worthy as his.

Excited to get started with program and maybe my first book!

So appreciate hearing the essence of James' process. How to focus on what's important. And the encouragement to bring fresh new ideas to the genre. Choose the cup of JOY! "Be There" in the scenes, and seeing how he structures his chapters were the best parts for me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom James!

James Patterson has a very calming, pleasant voice to listen to and, his advice and instruction is a very practical and logical approach. So, its no wonder he's accomplished what he has.


David S.

Thank you for a marvelous class! The most valuable part for me was the outline process and hearing you discuss the outline for The Honeymoon.


Having never read a James Patterson novel, but having heard criticisms of his approach to fiction, I went into this course with low expectations. What did I find? An author who mesmerises with his generosity, humility and straightforward insight. I've been rewriting a lengthy manuscript that attracted the attention of over a dozen leading agents in its last pitch, yet was turned down by four leading publishing houses because it lacked some seemingly ethereal quality. Not so ethereal now. An excellent series. Thank you Mr. Patterson.

A fellow student

It's not really a comment on this lesson, this is more a message for James: Thank you for this. Your tips and pointers were great and helpful, but most of all your spirit which came through loud and clear. Your authenticity and supportive nature...well, what I can say is, I'm gonna be hearing your voice in my head nudging me to do more and do better and follow through with the things that I love to do, first and foremost, writing. Thanks again.

Mark E.

What can I say what a guy that Jim. A absolute stud! I appreciate you Mr. Patterson Thank you for the valuable lessons.

A fellow student

Clear, funny instruction that had some very solid direction. Really enjoyed this and learned a lot.


This was a great experience. Mr. Patterson cleared up so much about why he is so successful. Attention to detail, outlines, rewrites, different endings than anticipated and such a strong work ethic all make sense now. He pointed out to me that my expectation of perfection the first time around was yet another example of what he describes as "get out of your own way." Thank you - Nudge...


A common thread here regarding the use of an outline. I was reluctant to try it as it reminded me of lessons on essay writing in school and the sad little blocks of stuff that got didn't really string together nicely. But I tried it, and incredibly the use of this tool allowed me to move forward on two things I once thought fairly disparate: an organized plan and being able to bring to bear a fuller imagination to create some great bits. Thanks, Mr Patterson, for all you do.

Mary M.

Thank you Mr. Patterson for your help. I really believe your words and your suggestion of outlining will help me. I usually do not write an outline, maybe that is what is missing for me.

A fellow student

I've never been much of an outliner and usually fall right in the camp of "pantser" but with Mr. Patterson's advice, I may attempt to change that. A great and encouraging master class. He writes for the right reasons.

Jean-Francois D.

James Patterson is giving very good counsels, but I already heard a lot of them by other writers' Masterclasses.