There are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but this is a course I highly recommend. I won't put anything on this page that I haven't verified and/or personally used 🙂
What is this course about?
If you are a frequent internet browser, there is a high chance that you might have come across an online ad or maybe heard of Masterclass. Masterclass is an online learning service offering comprehensive lectures from various successful experts in different industries.
Here, you will find experts from the filmmaking industry such as Martin Scorsese teaching filmmaking, Steve Martin teaching comedy as well as acting taught by Samuel L. Jackson. There are also some of the best-selling authors like James Patterson, who teaches writers how to write top-notch, page-turning books. Lectures are broken down into lessons within an outlined time frame, so with Masterclass, you will learn how to succeed in specific fields like writing or acting.
I have recently taken the course, and this is my in-depth review of the James Patterson Masterclass to help you find out more on how it can be of value to you as a writer.
Who teaches this course?
James Patterson was born on March 22, 1947, in Newburgh, New York. He went to school and graduated high school and then later attended Manhattan College as an undergraduate. He enrolled in further studies for an English Literature master’s degree at Vanderbilt University, but left after a year. In 1971, Patterson became a copywriter at ad agency, J. Walter Thompson, but he left the agency 20 years later to focus on writing. His hard work paid off because in 1976, he was able to publish his first book.
Patterson got married to Sue Solie in 1997 and had a son, Jack, after a year. He set up a website that advises parents about selecting books for their children called ReadKiddoRead in an attempt to help children learn to love and enjoy the reading culture.
The year 2015 was a great one for Patterson because he was awarded the National Book Foundation's Literary Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community during that time. He also donated a hefty amount of dollars to independent bookstores and public school libraries all over the U.S.
James Patterson is a versatile writer as his intriguing collection includes various genres such as nonfiction, science fiction, romance novels, historical fiction and books for young readers.
Patterson has received many bestsellers while working with co-authors, the first having been with a co-author called Peter de Jonge in 1996, where they wrote a book called “Miracle on the 17th Green.” While working with co-authors, a large outline written by Patterson is sent to the co-author for the first draft to be written; he then monitors the progress of the story and handles revisions before the book can be published.
In 2012 and 2013, he released 13 books and in 2014, he released 14 books - as a result, you will find Patterson’s name on a lot of books while browsing the bookstore compared to other authors. By January 2016, Patterson’s success had given him more than 350 million books worldwide in sales.
He is currently the bestselling author in the world. In addition, he has more No. 1 children’s books than any other writer and holds the Guinness World Record for having the most books on The New York Times' best-seller list.
The course teaches you how to create characters, write dialogue and keep readers turning the page. It comprises of 22 video lessons and exercises; the videos varying in length between 3 and 14 minutes, all of them featuring James Patterson talking directly to the camera. The full course is quite comprehensive and takes six weeks with lessons broken down as follows:
Through videos, Patterson talks about the different aspects of how to create fiction such as - to name a few - plot, where great ideas come from, enduring rejection, believing in yourself, how to write good endings, raw ideas, different approaches to ideas, condensing your plot and so much more.
Patterson also features a few personal-themed videos where he recounts his own personal experiences in his journey and those with co-authors.
During this second week, Patterson discusses how to find inspiration and ideas, how your outline should be written and what it entails, troubleshooting your outline, building credibility, adding suspense to the story, editing as well as writing with a chapter-focused approach.
On the third week, he will teach you all about how to write page-turning stories, focusing on the story, rewriting, creating characters such as secondary characters, villains and heroes, capturing the reader with the first lines and most importantly, getting over the writer’s block, which we all know is something a lot of aspiring writers face.
The fourth week’s discussion is also important as he teaches you how to attract your reader and maintain suspense, the secret to writing great endings and what it entails, dialogue and how to use it in a book and much more.
As the course is nearly ending, Patterson will discuss how to find the best co-author, collaboration and how to work with him or her, editing, rewriting, finding the right publisher and how to get the book published and sending book covers and titles.
Finally, on this last week, he talks about marketing through advertising, making use of social media, branding yourself and how to get into publishing your book.
One of the biggest advantage you have when taking this course will be the ‘Office Hours’ where the author answers questions video-recorded or written in by students. The Masterclass website also has a Masterclass community and FB Group, where students can engage in structured, lengthy discussions after each lesson.
A printable workbook is provided when you enrol in the course.
What are the pros and cons?
Firstly, the pros are that the lectures and mode of delivery are very effective. Coming from a bestselling author who has received numerous awards, receiving advice and opinions on effective and engaging ways of writing straight from his experience is a great opportunity to learn how to craft your next book. You never know, you might be the next best seller on the list.
The class has short lectures too, so there is no pressure on scheduled hours. As a result, you are able to take classes anytime and at your own pace, making it convenient for those struggling with finding available time for classes within the week.
The main con I found was that Pattersn didn't dig deep into some lessons. The part of co-author arrangements and collaboration also isn’t that useful in a writing class since it lies outside most people’s potential experience.
So, do you recommend it?
In essence, yes, the John Patterson Masterclass is undoubtedly worth it. Offered by a genuine writer with a wonderful record as an author, it provides you with a lot of materials and value and is highly recommended for any person looking into writing as a career.
This is a great choice for you if you are a beginner or haven’t written before and are focusing on a long-term career as a novelist or writer. Apart from the useful information, the class is also fun and you are able to interact and engage with other aspiring writers within the Masterclass community.