From James Patterson's MasterClass

Outlines: Part 2

James has never shown the outline for his best-seller Honeymoon to anyone (not even his publisher) until now. Follow along with the outline provided in your Class Workbook as James further explains his process.

Topics include: Outline from Honeymoon • Troubleshoot your outline • Step back and start writing


James has never shown the outline for his best-seller Honeymoon to anyone (not even his publisher) until now. Follow along with the outline provided in your Class Workbook as James further explains his process.

Topics include: Outline from Honeymoon • Troubleshoot your outline • Step back and start writing

James Patterson

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Only my editor has seen this outline before, so I'm sharing something with you that I haven't shared before. And what happens in this outline and why it's important for you to listen to this is the first couple of chapters really set up the third chapter, and without the first couple of chapters, a third chapter wouldn't even work, so this is also an example of how you set things up in a book. In the first chapter, Nora Sinclair is packing for a business trip and we hear a voice over her shoulder and it's Gordon Brown, who is her lover. And he's kind of a boyish 40. She's sort of 35ish. And he tells her, you travel too much, because she's going off on this business trip, and we like them together. And it's important that this is written that way and even it's important that the outline stresses the fact that we have to really like them together. We have to love them together. We have to go, we're in love because they're in love when we read this chapter. It makes us feel terrific. In the second chapter, they're having a lunch, and it's a really neat lunch in Gordon's house and Gordon says he's never been happier. And Nora laughs and she says is that your idea of a proposal? And Gordon says no, this is and he reaches into the pocket of his robe. He removes a small Tiffany box, or maybe a good sized Tiffany box, and he gets down on one knee and he proposes to Nora, and we want them to be together. We love them. They are a terrific couple. We wish that we were with somebody like that. Third chapter, Nora is off on this business trip, same day, later that afternoon. She arrives at this spectacular brownstone in Boston. On the doorstep, she removes Gordon's engagement ring and as a reader we're going, what the hell is going on here? She puts on another engagement ring. She lets yourself inside. She has the key. She calls out, honey I'm home. And we realize that she's engaged to two men. So we are hooked as readers. And once again, we're playing this cat and mouse game with our readers. And they love this. They want to play cat and mouse. That's why they're in the other chair. [MUSIC PLAYING] The outline is the most creative of all of the disciplines. That's where your imagination is going crazy. And you're going to make mistakes, and you're going to put in stuff that's like, oh wait, that's just too much. And once again, as you read it, if you being honest, I just, I took it too far there. And you may find at times that as good as you try to make the outline be that it's sort of losing drama in a certain place. It just started being repetitive. I mean, and that happens a lot of times. And that's just a little bit your imagination leaving you for a while and you start repeating. And that, I mean that happens a lot when you write, and all of a sudden, we already heard that. Or you just keep repeating...

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 used to come up with ideas and scrap them. Now I am almost done my first draft of my first novel. I also now consider myself a writer. One of the main things I learned was how to write an outline. The outline was my anchor throughout the process of writing. Without it, I would have changed my mind so many times, this novel would never have been written. Great class!

The class nudged me on all the things I'm doing and I am looking forward to coming back to nudge the instructor after a success.

Just completed the exercise on plots and shared it. I'm amazed at how this lesson changed/improved my writing so fast. My readers are equally amazed.

The brief, concise introduction video was a great way to grab someone's attention. :)


Ambrey N.

This is very helpful. I feel like I am kind of already doing this though not so much little blurbs. But I know that I need to get the story down so I keep writing till I move on to the possible next scenario in the next chapter. But a skeleton it is so far. I feel good that the outline will be interesting.

Dylan K.

Very Helpful. I have been aching to write my book a while now. But i haven't started as I felt unready. Now I understand why. I have yet to create an outline for the story. I wrote a screenplay that I did a lot of character developing and plot developing for and I wondered why writing that screenplay was such a phenomenal experience and why everyone who read it loved the story. I put it in a screenwriter's contest and, although I didn't win anything from that context, I received a great score, in my opinion, of 8/10. I now know why it was so well received. Because I did my homework. And I'll do my homework for this book as well.

Janet S.

I LOVED THIS LESSON! I had some real aha moments here. It's funny, Masterclass sent me a short text this week - because it's been a while since I've attended a lesson. The text read "5 minutes to reignite your passion". I thought "what the hell"...and came in to Lesson 6 and 7. I am so glad I did. Wow. Thank you!

Jorge Eduardo L.

I have to confess that I haven't read Honeymoon and I wouldn't like to spoil this book reading the outline, but I think that I have just learned th most important thing from this class, I want to write a novel and I already have two chapters of it, but I made the mistake that Mr. Patterson said that I should avoid in the previous class, I HAVE NO OUTLINE!. I will have an outline before I go on with my novel.

Eduardo J.

Hi, Can't download the HOneymoon outline as well... Enjoying the class so far. So far, so good.


I have done outlines that were close to first drafts. I have tried writing without an outline and failed miserably more often than not. Sometimes I find the outline suffocating as there is no room to grow as I write. Eventually I came to the thought of the outline being the main highway and every time I want to veer off, there is an off ramp I need to take into a little side street that will help breathe new life into the outline and the story.

Eileen S.

Patterson puts a lot of emphasis on the Honeymoon outline. I have not been able to download it or see it at all. Molly E. replied to someone else with this problem and gave her an alternative way to access the outline, but that does not work either. Would someone email the file to me?


This has been great. I have written a short story, one that I assumed was finished. Now I realise what I actually have is an outline. A first draft of an outline. Now, I can move on to the second draft. Mr Patterson's style is so casual and easy to adapt to my real life writing journey. Very pleased.

Paul A.

In 7th grade, I had a history teacher named Mr. Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a tall, thin man who wore oversized glasses. Now that I think about it, he resembled a 1970s porn star. None of the students like him, and he was one of the biggest jackasses I have ever met. However, he did teach us how to outline. We spent several days learning how to set one up, what information to include, and how to use all this information to write a report. Outlining was one of the most valuable things I learned in my early education. It has helped me tremendously throughout my academic and professional life. When I started writing my first book, Reilly’s Walk, it was the first thing I did. It kept me on track and made sure I did not write myself into a corner. I can’t see how anyone could write a story without one. My outlines differ from Mr. James Patterson’s. I do not write a paragraph for each chapter. Instead, I make headings for the different sections of the story and underneath I write sentences stating what should happen or I make notes. I also make a timeline to ensure consistency. You don’t want to have three full moons in one month. For those of you thinking about writing a novel, make sure you do an outline. It will save you time and frustration.

Kim P.

I love that James gives us a free pass if you can't figure out a chapter then move on and come back to it. I've lost too many days of writing by being stuck on a chapter that just didn't work.