Chapter 3 of 22 from James Patterson

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?

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

James Patterson Teaches Writing

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

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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 for the very first time. In this course, he guides you through every part of the book writing process.

22 lessons totaling 3+ hours of video from James covering everything from starting your outline to getting published.

Each video lesson is paired with notes, reading materials, and assignments to make sure you get the most out of your class.

Submit your rough drafts and assignments for feedback from other students taking the class (and possibly James himself!).


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

This class was well worth the investment. James Patterson has a strategy and he lays it all out here- unapologetically and with humanness and humour.

I sincerely enjoyed James Patterson's course. I took tons of notes and he made me laugh out loud with his humor and candor. I will likely come back to this course again and again. The content was also excellent - he covered everything from outlines to how to handle Hollywood. Great course!

incredibly insightful! This inside knowledge helped me tremendously. I am so grateful. My mind has been set ablaze! He' s funny too .

This is the best thing I found online. I plan to model this guy. He is simply amazing. Thank you James



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

Scott J.

I love this lesson on Raw Ideas. I have a folder (like James) that I have been collecting ideas, clippings, photos, etc. over the years. It's about getting these ideas onto the page that is a greater challenge for me.

Lorraine A.

This lesson makes me realize that not all of my ideas, and they come in a steady stream, are book-worthy. I like the idea of setting it down in black and white and letting it develop. So many ideas, so little time. This is a good way to weed out the ideas that won't hold up.

ernest C.

"theycreepintommyheadsomewherelikelittlelongsentencesusallysoconfusingittakesmeawhiletofigurethemouteventhoughi'mtheonethinkingaboutit. Now, you see how it feels to be in my head when this happens."

Cindy S.

I am so stoked. The ideas are flowing and falling into place. Quick question.. if I write in first person.. can that person die in the end?

Violet W.

I love all of it so far! Passion, idea folder, asking the right questions, and put old ideas into new groups so it's fresh, are all great and helping me put things together that I haven't before.

Emilio E.

Very charismatic! If this is the premise for the rest of the content then I can't wait to get through it.

A fellow student

On which side do you milk a cow? I'm not much of a writer but I do enjoy an interesting discussion. I once heard a discussion about whether a toilet paper roll should unroll away from the wall or against the wall.

Bob C.

Ideas--Bulleting them and then staring at them until you figure out what you can visualize writing a book about was a great process. Also the experiences you have can lead to ideas. Workbook doesn't download.

Louise K.

I haven't at this stage written for many years so I don't have a particular story in mind. I am in the process of writing a setting for a roleplay game. So in the main I'm writing within an existing setting (white wolf) and adapting it for a particular location that I like. Once I am done with creating the main NPCs that are in charge of the various elements I will work on individuals stories for the characters. On the side I am going to try to generator and see what I can come up with for a side project. I think I'm a little burnt out from writing stories regularly (up 3 sessions every week for over a decade) that I just stopped writing for any other reason.


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...