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Arts & Entertainment


James Patterson

Lesson time 03:09 min

Your instructor, James Patterson—currently the best-selling author in the world—lets you know what he has planned for your class and what you'll need to learn to start writing your own best-sellers.

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


Hi, I'm Stephen King. Well, actually I'm not Stephen King, but the purpose of my saying that is that's the first line in our story. And first lines are hugely important. And what I do in those four words is I'm letting you know that this is going to be irreverent, and fun, and it's going to be a little jokey at times, and I know who writers like Stephen King are. I hope that people who take this course or listen to me will pick up a lot of tricks of the trade. And I think it's a couple levels. I think one are people that want to write books or think they want to write books, and it can help them to make that decision about whether they're actually good at investing time or not. And I'll give them a lot of tips in terms of how to invest that time well. I'm very, very efficient, and I'll take a lot of the time wasting things out of the process if you'll listen. But also people who like to read books-- like to read mystery, suspense, even kids books-- I think they'll find it very, very interesting. I think it'll be very cool. I don't think they'll read books the same way again after listening to this. One I'm going to try to do what the class is go right from the beginning-- from the raw ideas for books, character, how to build a character, how to create a scene. We'll deal with how to make a chapter work. We'll deal with outlines. Outlines are huge. We might do a couple of chapters on outlines. We'll talk about marketing it at some point, which is more of a curiosity, I think, for most of you. Because you shouldn't worry too much about marketing. I think a lot of people who watch this, it's going to turn them on. It can be very stimulating. And I think along the way, I had a couple of people. I had a professor at Vanderbilt, and he did get me excited about one, just the process of writing the book and two, my own talent. And just a lot of things that he said clicked with me. And so when I left his class, I had to write a book. By the way, that book didn't get published, but it was part of the process. Because I've been there. Starting out, you just you don't know if you're any good. You don't know if you're ever going to get published. It's a very difficult-- it's a daunting thing to sit down and start a book. Because at the end of the trail can be embarrassment, or heartbreak, or all sorts of things. So we're going to get over that-- no heartbreak, no embarrassment. We're going to have the tools to do this, and I think that's very exciting. And it's exciting to me to stimulate people to go out there and write not just great mysteries but whatever kind of book you want to write.

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.

I was getting caught up in the rewrite. This Masterclass gave me permission to keep at it. Mr. Patterson was very generous in his offerings.

I've learned a lot. Thank you for offering us this opportunity. I'm glad I can go through the class again. Karen

Outstanding approach allowing honest feedback. As an educator, the humor thrown in allows the student to relate more freely to the instructor.

So far, so good. I plan on watching the intro every day. It's a pep talk for those of us who need to be reminded of just how good we can be...


Elysia W.

Wow. I already kind of love him. I've never actually heard him talk or anything, and I'm not a huge mystery fan, but I love hearing from other writer and learning their process. It really inspires me to work on my own stuff. His enthusiasm and touch of humor makes me think I may be missing out on his fiction. Super excited for this class.


I liked the beginning of "Hi, I'm Stephen King". I grew up on King. I read Salem's Lot when I was 13 and slept with a cross the next two months, half expecting the vampire to show up at my window but knowing I get through it as long as I did not look into their eyes. This course grabbed me as soon as Mr Patterson mentioned outlines as a primary tool. I had to write many papers for my Master's and I organized content by outline- bullets within bullets within bullets. Now that I am a semi-retired RN, I am going to do something I always wanted: Write fiction. I don't know if I will be good enough to publish but I am going to write a book. A book takes on a life of its own. Once it is done, it just IS. Maybe it will never get published but hey, I think if someone picks it up, hundreds of years from now, they will read it just for posterity if nothing else. If I can make some professor of history- in the distant future- smile and appreciate the story then that is a score. If the book is so awful and I know it will never be published, I will dedicate it to them! I plan to give constructive feedback to a minimum of three people for each lesson so I hope we are an active cohort. Look forward to reading your story ideas and sharing mine.

Marisol V.

I love this lesson but where do I find a copy of his Outline the Workbook keeps referencing?

Alexis K.

James Patterson and his class are the reason I finally joined Masterclass. Looking forward to learning from him.


This reminded me of old proverb by Thomas H. Palmer: "IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN. Don't give up too easily; persistence pays off in the end."

Hannan H.

GREAT INTRODUCTION ! I needed to hear this, because I stopped writing for some days. Now, after listening to him, I felt like I have to do it.

Dave H.

I really enjoyed this class more than others I have taken. I am having trouble with some of the links. All the links to "James' Critique" lead to an error page. Also, I was looking forward to reading the outline of Honeymoon, But cannot find it anywhere. Otherwise, I will use many of the techniques in this course. Dave

Ray L.

I am excited to take the class and love his attitude about how involved we get being based on our personal level of passion. I do find the website and mobile app difficult to navigate. I am having a hard time getting to a main course screen where I can see all of the lessons and drop downs to the community link. I'm sure I will get better as I progress at navigating Master Class, but it is certainly not intuitive in any way.


I've been seeing the ad for this class for a while but was a bit gun-shy. My kid got me to purchase the 2-for-1 subscription so he could do the guitar with Santana class, and I'm glad he did. Some good pointers here.

yaala tamar P.

Hi :) same here, stopped working a few days ago and that's one of the things that popped up fast in the back of my mind.. I guess it's time we're all become writers :) Engoy the classes you guys !