James Patterson

Lesson time 3:17 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.
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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.

This class is a great introduction to useful writing skills that will help you to become a great author.

I learned the practical side of just getting the book idea down on paper n a practical way rather than getting caught up in my own mind.

I thoroughly enjoyed this class. Who better to give advice about writing, than someone who is doing it every day, and doing it well! Thank you, James Patterson. You were awesome. :)

So far I like the down-to-earth style and presentation. The assignments are great and I have been given a great antidote for literary novocaine...


Mary S.

I loved these classes; I really appreciated James Patterson's laid back approach and the attitude that 'this worked for me', maybe try it. It may or may not work for you. I will try it - who is going to question the wisdom of an author of his ilk? I will likely re-take all his classes before the year is up.

A fellow student

Nudge Nudge James - you succeeded in your mission - my life has been changed by your generous contribution to the MasterClass community. Thank you thank you thank you :)


I will carry the wisdom and golden nuggets advice from Mr. Patterson forever. For me completing writing first novel had taken over 5 years. But it doesn’t matter how long since I will not give up until it’s published. I am so glad I found this passion and Mr. Patterson is the first teacher I’ve listened to on Master Class. Great format, very insightful and I can already relate to a Lot of what James was saying. Would love to meet him in person one day...Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Ania K

Elizabeth R.

I found this master class with James Patterson very encouraging and inspiring and I can't say more about how grateful I feel that he was willing to participate in the masterclass program. At the time I did this class, I was also writing a novel for Camp NaNoWriMo, and some of the advice he gave, particular about the ending was quite valuable to me in getting the project done. I feel that as a result of his instruction, the work I did on this novel was a considerable improvement on others that I have done. I certainly believe that there is no specific formula for writing a great novel, as he said, you really have to use your intuition as you go along. The most important lesson I got out of this is that you have to practice, practice, practice, take the time to read other peoples' work and observe what they have done. So, overall, I'm encouraged after listening to Mr. Patterson. What a truly wonderful person. I've really just enjoyed his personality.

Dan U.

Very informative. I have yet to read on of James Patterson’s books. He is personal, artistic coming across as casual yet highly intelligent and even charming at points. It is a good first step for those seeking to learn the craft of writing but keep in mind the process is tedious and requires several skill sets and intelligence. Plot, character, action, poetic prose, creative synthesis, sentence structure, hopefully deep seeded compelling characters, fascinating story, dialogue, it is hard to strike a balance. James Patterson provides the outline for more intensive study but most important of all....he’s likable.

Ann S.

This class is the absolute best. James Patterson relates to his students as well as he does to his readers. It was so interesting to listen to him and get such valuable information, that after I finished other writing classes, I just had to come back and take his classes again, even though I had taken copious notes. I love his books. He does what he teaches. I went back and rewrote much of the novel I had just completed, and he made it much better!


Great class. Really gave me some helpful insights into different approaches for organisation and technique, as well as many other aspects. Patterson is very engaging. His relaxed, witty, conversational teaching style made it a joy to listen to and easy to digest.

Mary S.

Originally, my goal was to write fiction, but for the past ten years, I have written little other than poetry and memoir! Did squeeze out a few pieces of flash fiction, but I think this course may have given me the stimulus I need to do more. I still am not sure I have the ability to write an entire book of fiction, but think I will give it a try. I may also have to go back and take the class a 2nd time. Patterson is a great teacher - very user friendly. I am so glad I signed up.

Tyra M.

I was enjoying this course, when I became very ill in the spring (2019). I ended up in hospital. Summer, for me, is a hard time to write, normally, but I had fallen behind in so many areas that I put my writing aside. Listening to this lesson has been a good kick in the pants to get me back and focused. I started a novel due to this course, and it's time I finish it. LOL, Thank you, Mr. Patterson, hopefully I'll be able to send you a nudge.

Bonnie A.

Thank you Mr. Patterson. I really enjoyed the class and certainly learned a lot. Now I need to get writing. I have a book to finish writing.