From James Patterson's MasterClass

Raw Ideas

How do you recognize a great idea? How do you figure out if it's worthy of your effort? James spells out the techniques he uses to generate his ideas and then separate the good ones from the less compelling ones.

Topics include: Examples of raw ideas • Where great ideas come from • Try a different approach • Write your ideas down • But is it a book?

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How do you recognize a great idea? How do you figure out if it's worthy of your effort? James spells out the techniques he uses to generate his ideas and then separate the good ones from the less compelling ones.

Topics include: Examples of raw ideas • Where great ideas come from • Try a different approach • Write your ideas down • But is it a book?

James Patterson

Teaches Writing

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People will always ask the stupid question, where do I come up with my stories. [LAUGHTER] No, I'm kidding. People frequently ask where do I come up with the stories, and it really can be anything as I had this big folder of ideas. That's a piece of it. So how do these ideas get into the folder? I'll see something on the street, or I could probably write a story about anything. I could write a story about the classroom here probably. Figure out a way to make it an interesting mystery. Sometimes a title will come to me. Sometimes just some little-- some little scene I'll see in the street. Just some little thing catches my eye and I go, oh, I see. That stimulates something in me. The idea to the Women's Murder Club-- women frequently are more collaborative than men are. And I notice this in business. A man will come in and go, I got it. They have the idea that-- whatever. Whereas, a lot of times women will come in and they want to hear the other people's ideas in a room and contribute and get to something-- so that collaboration. And I found that interesting. And in the world of detective fiction, it didn't seem to me that there was much of that. So the idea of a police inspector, a medical examiner, an assistant district attorney-- now they would normally be together. They would know each other, presumably, and could have become friends. And then, little tricky with putting a journalist in there because they would have issues maybe with sharing some information with the journalist. But they come to trust the journalists, Cindy. And they get together and they just chat about cases. And is it realistic? No, not really. I don't write realism. But it's a cool idea-- that you get four women together and they would collaborate on solving mysteries. And maybe it's been done somewhere, but I'm not aware of it. So I just want that-- I think that's a cool idea. One of my favorite, if not my favorite of the novels that I have written is one called Honeymoon. And you start out with the book and you always hope it's going to be spectacular. And you just never know. You start writing and some of them turn out better than others for whatever the reason is. That one started with the idea of, I love the idea of a woman who was a bigamist. So that's where it started-- a woman who would, you know-- and it went a lot of different places from there. But the way the book opens is you have this couple and they're married. And they're in bed together. And it's just a delightful Sunday afternoon and they make love. And you really like them. You like the way they interact. You like the dialogue. You go, I'd love to be there. I'd love to-- that's the way I want my life to be. And then she has to go off. It's Sunday. She's got to go off on a business trip. And she goes to Boston. And s...

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.

Reviews

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

Inspirational and practical insights into the art and business of being a professional writer. A must for anyone struggling to write their breakthrough novel.

He REALLY turned me onto writing again. I felt refreshed and with a sense of purpose. I am going to come back to these lessons often.

Just hearing his actual voice was inspiring - what I loved the most was his plan to take me where I need to go! I'm looking forward to the journey!

This was a great class. James Patterson was so direct and clear, he painted a clear picture with insight that will be invaluable!

Comments

Jessica T.

I have notebooks I jot ideas down in, as well as on my phone, on the off chance I don't have a notebook with me. They can pop up from anything. I love it.

Susan B.

What is the title of this book that Mr. Patterson refers to about where ideas come from? Printed in UK, I have not found it yet. Anyone have some ideas?

Sarah B.

Raw ideas - I have a lot of them, and I think a lot of them are worth my time. I'm more worried about writing them well enough that other people think so, too. And also deciding on which audience to write for. For one in particular, though I think the story is worthwhile, I'm not sure it's publishable.

Mia M.

I've been writing down my ideas word processor documents for years. I let them age and rework them a few times, and sometimes they take off. For this class, I created a new Ideas document and tried out the two idea generators. One of the Chaotic Shiny ones led me to a great bit of detail for the novel that I'm working on. So that paid off!

Eileen M.

Wow, im doing many of these basic 'writer's" habits without yet 'being a writer'. i have files and files and notebooks and notebooks. lets move on to how to put pen to paper and organize all these ideas. fun to listen to JP.

Vickie R.

PS Did you know that my favorite author F Scott Fitzgerald was a HORRIBLE speller? True story. You can even look it up. I'm sure he had a brilliant editor though.

Vickie R.

Love your advice and suggestions but I'm mainly a memoir writer? I don't write fiction. I'm done with my memoir but need grammerly to edit it. I'm in BIG need of an editor.

Peter A.

Good lesson. I have been doing the "notebook" thing for years. I just rarely refer back to it. But to be honest I do not make space for one hour every day for 1000 words. This week I am focusing on this masterclass so maybe I will develop the habit.

Larry K.

Good lesson. Did anyone try to find Patterson's critique of the story ideas in the workbook? Were you successful? If so, where did you find them? The link takes me office hours but no critiques. Thanks.

Lee

James Patterson an excellent instructor and his master class on writing he gets to the core of the gift of writing.