#IWSG: MasterClass by James Patterson


What is IWSG?  Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 7 posting of the IWSG will be  C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata!

#IWSG: How do you find the time to write in your busy day?  My day is divided up into four time frames. Morning is writing and marketing. Afternoon, I take care of chores, all the while thinking about tag lines, book covers, dialogue. Evenings, I read and review novels, all the while comparing another author’s technique and style with mine. Night time, hoping to be overtaken by exhaustion and sleep, my thoughts churn out more tag line possibilities and mentally edit paragraphs or entire chapters.

How do I find time to write? Often I wish I could turn it off. Where’s that friggin off switch.

jamespatterson-creditsuesoliepattersonMASTERCLASS – James Patterson’s Writing Class

A few weeks ago I signed up for the MasterClass – James Patterson Teaches Writing. Paid my $90 USD and began to download the lesson pdf’s and watch videos of James Patterson’s tip on writing. On the plus side, he was entertaining and shared a lot of his techniques and tips from the idea concept all the way through to marketing.  He clearly states that his way is not the only way. It’s the way that works for him.

In other words, we each need to find our own way.

He stresses the need for practice. Write every day. He’s missed only one day – attended his son’s graduation. Read and write. Practice, practice, practice. He also emphasized doing research on everything. And, when you think a chapter is done, cut out everything that doesn’t need to be there, adds no value, doesn’t move the plot or characters along. Be ruthless.

One point that he stressed as a ‘no option’ for authors’ is the importance of writing out an outline, edit and rewrite until the outline ‘feels’ complete. Even so, his final manuscript is often different from what had been planned in the outline, including the ending.

One of the features that encouraged me to pay for this class was I could ask a question and receive a response via his OFFICE HOURS page. I did ask one question and got a reply that he was too busy to respond to all questions. One of his staff would email a response. I never got that email. Perhaps because I don’t  have a webcam or smartphone, my written query was not noticed.

I’m not sorry that I took the course. It was entertaining. Much of what he suggests, I already do or know. I did get to join the facebook CLOSED James Patterson MasterClass Group.  Perhaps there’ll be members who will become my favorite mentors. Stay positive.



Feather Stone – more stone today than feather.

Record and upload questions and comments for James to his Office Hours page here (link).

Now I feel pretty stupid for  thinking that Mr. Patterson would actually respond to my inquiry – a question about limiting a novel’s word count (< 90,000) to suit the criteria of most publishers.

15 thoughts on “#IWSG: MasterClass by James Patterson

  1. I’ve looked at that class before but I don’t really read him much. I think I have read one book. I’m sorry they did not answer, Most do. JoAnna Penn’s publishing and writing course I plan to take some of them at some point in the future. She was also a Holly Lisle student, whom I cannot say enough good stuff about.

    I can highly recommend Holly Lisle. I own everything she does and will do. She changed the way I approach and look at writing. Holly Lisle offers a 3-week flash fiction course. I learned to write FF but it also improve my novel scenes. The first course and my fave I ever purchased from Holly was How To Think Sidways: Career Survival School for Writers in 2012, but she only offers it once a year now. You can find the free flash fiction course on my sidebar of my website if wanted to check it out. You may not.

    I love taking writing course and am thrill when I find really good ones, but my ability to pursue the thing I like doing is not what it use to be so has been a good while since taken a really good, but JoAnna Penn’s are my next target when I am able.

    Happy IWSG
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beverly

    The way you divide your day up sounds like a good one. It seems to cover most everything. God for you.
    James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I’ve wondered about his course, but thought it’s sort of expensive. Thanks for telling us your experience with it. They should have answered you. My opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

    I’d love to be able to devote so much time to writing!

    It’s funny how he says everyone is different and then insists everyone must outline. Then again, I’ve heard he outlines his books and then has another writer draft them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From what I’ve learned, his co-authors do most of the writing, if not all. Once they complete the manuscript, he gives it his personal review. But the manuscript is published only under his name. Doesn’t sound fair.


  4. You know, I’ve read a couple of writing books from John Gardner and he says the same thing. I think you hit the nail on the head, it is a process of reading and writing and more reading and writing.
    The way you outlined your day is magnificent. I have a similar routine but based on different hours. I learn a lot by reading and I am happy to say I read in all genres and I love reading non-fiction.
    Thank you for a very engaging post. Oh, I also believe an outline is not an option. I even have my plot graphed out on a whiteboard.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pat: I think I do an outline but it’s in long form – not point form. I write madly for days and days, everything (including dialogue) that comes to the fore. Then I go back to page one and rewrite, slash and burn. I rewrite many times. Often the final version is way different from the first pass through. Do you find that your outline changed dramatically in the final draft?


    1. Hi Chemistken: I’m glad I took the course. It was enlightening. I didn’t realize that an accomplished writer like James Patterson has staff to do the writing. No wonder ‘he’ has a truck load of published books. The up side of having paid for the course is that I’m allowed to participate in a closed facebook group and get feedback from the rest of the students. Live and learn. Blessings


  5. “And, when you think a chapter is done, cut out everything that doesn’t need to be there, adds no value, doesn’t move the plot or characters along. Be ruthless.” That’s good advice. I’ve found that my writing is more streamlined when I cut all the superfluous stuff. It’s a shame that your question was basically ignored, but I’m sure you’ll find the answer you’re looking for somewhere else – we learn something new in unexpected places every day. Happy writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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