Lesson 16 James Patterson’s Masterclass.com Working With A Co-Author

James Patterson's Masterclass lesson 16
James Patterson’s Masterclass lesson 16

This video lesson starts with James Patterson talking about Co-authoring:

“Some people, they’re not comfortable with this idea of a co-author or collaborating. And they think it’s a much bigger deal than it is. So here is what I have to say to those people.

  • Lennon and McCartney,
  • Simon and Garfunkel,
  • Stephen King and Peter Straub,
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein,
  • Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child,
  • Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld,
  • Gilbert and Sullivan,
  • Woodward and Bernstein,
  • Joel and Ethan Coen,
  • Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

What’s great about working with co writers is that you got two talents. Collaboration is a good thing. I know we have this thing about the American- we go out and do everything ourselves.- And that’s okay. But collaboration is really good. Combining strength is really good.”

As you can guess, this week’s video lesson is about Co-authoring. I can bet that most everyone reading knows that James Patterson uses co-authors.

Which in my mind means he works well with others.

In this video, we hear from two of Mr. Patterson’s co-writers.  Well, I can hear it. If you want to, click the link (the one with James Patterson’s face on it)  at the top to the left and check out the classes.

You will hear what James Patterson looks for in a co-writer. One hint: They have to be able to write in the character’s voice. This is only common sense. If you are writing your own series, you will need to keep the voice consistent.

When James Patterson is collaborating with his co-writers on his books, “he knows where he is going.  He knows what he wants.  And, he knows it  when he sees it.”

I am given a PDF with this weeks lesson. I can check out the video question and answer section. And, yes!  I can ask Mr. Patterson a question through this class.

When looking for a co- writer talk to them.  Make sure you are both on the same page.

Lesson 15 Editing James Patterson’s Masterclass

lesson 15 editing
lesson 15 editing

What I loved about this lesson, was listening to James Patterson talk about how he edits and why- and the reasoning behind it.

James Patterson starts this lesson with talking about editing.~“For me and for a lot of writers. And I think for most of you. Editing, polishing and I’m talking about what you’re doing yourself,- not when your book gets to a publishing house. It’s the whole ball of wax. Its not writing, it’s rewriting and it’s rewriting, and it’s rewriting.  I like to do many drafts. I’ve done as many as nine or ten drafts. But, I do the drafts very quickly. I don’t get constipated! I don’t get worried! I just keep going. Let’s do it again! Let’s do it again! Let’s do it again!”

What I got from this lesson was ‘that your story needs to move forward’, editing your words will help cut the fat and making the story clear and on point. Read your words forwards and backward. Read as enjoyment  does something trip you up?

Before you start to edit, walk away from your writing. Take a short break.  Eat something. Clean  something. When you come back you will see your work fresh.

What I know about editing;

  • You need to look for style formatting errors  such as  spacing
  • Dates
  • Capitalization,
  • and make sure your characters have the correct names.
  • Check your POV.
  • The spelling of words such as they’re, there, or their.
  • Conjugations such as ‘should of’, ‘would of,’ instead of ‘could have’, ‘should have’.

When editing, you need to be careful that your story isn’t taken off track. If you’re in the middle of a romantic scene, you don’t want your character to start watching a cat video on YouTube. Unless you’re proving a point against your characters getting together.

Read your writing out loud, straight through before starting to edit. Are you conveying anger, comedy, or sadness correctly? If not rewrite.

“Consider not polishing the book until you’ve written at least one draft.” ~ said James Patterson

When it comes to your dialogue, edit it until it moves the story forward and it conveys what you need to, in the least amount of words. All types of writing will benefit from editing.

Just remember -don’t start editing until you  have  a complete first draft.  Editing  sentences as you write them  will prevent your story, essay, poems, articles from  evolving into a reality.

Procrastination will stop you in the form of early editing.  This is important to reemphasize. Don’t edit until that first draft is fully written. 

Rag doll
Here Kitty-Kitty just look at thos baby blues- Now go back and edit.

Here are a couple of links to Proofreading and or editing  Information.

writing center.unc.edu

Learning English with Michelle.


Cooper’s Hawk thriving in Hampshire Illinois

Cooper's Hawk in Hampshire Illinois
Cooper’s Hawk in Hampshire Illinois June 2016

A Cooper’s Hawk has been nesting in Hampshire Township, just outside the town of Hampshire, Illinois. They can be seen flying swiftly between the trees. Circumnavigating farm fields, skimming over fences, twirling and disappearing only to reappear in a free fall.

They dive low to the ground like a kite on a tight string. Immediately, darting up to the treetops where they disappear in the dense foliage. Those explosions of speed are amazing. Observing their enthusiasm can take your breath away. While giving you an adrenaline rush that will have you on your toes, wishing you could follow them into that kaleidoscope of green. Calling out warnings, with a cak-cak-cak-cak-cak, in bursts of two to five seconds long, an alarm that a human is in the yard. At the same time, the air is charged with angry calls from other birds screeching that a Cooper’s Hawk is hunting.

These hawks have a kettle of nicknames: Forest hawk, Chicken hawk, Blue Darter, Quail Hawk, Hen Hawk, Mexican hawk, Striker, Swift hawk, Lynx of the bird world, and a Flying Cross. They live up to every one of those names.

Early in May, an adult hawk was dive-bombing the house making it abundantly clear that they were nesting. Once you know that a bird is nesting, stay away from them. They are secretive and protective of their nests. Cooper’s Hawk can lay between two and five eggs and will attack if you try to approach them. You can’t blame them for trying to protect their offspring. Having humans around will  cause the birds stress and they may abandon their young.

They weigh between ten to twenty-four ounces. And have a wingspan of twenty-seven to thirty-six inches; similar to the size of a crow at fifteen to twenty inches long. According to, ‘hawkwatch.org’ a Cooper’s Hawk can be easily misidentified. They do look similar to Sharp-shinned Hawks, which are smaller birds. You would need to see two birds next to each other, comparing size and color to accurately identify a Cooper’s hawk. The color of their eyes, the iris, will change from a nestling’s bluish-gray to the juvenile’s bright yellow. With the changing plumage, from juvenile to adult, eye color will transform into the red iris of an adult.

Cooper’s Hawks were on the endangered species list in 2013, they have since been taken off that list. Survival is still a fight as they contend with pesticides, foxes, accidents, and humans. It is illegal to kill them. Killing hawks is a federal violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 Hawks in flight

By Gerardine Baugh

A shrill cry echoes off the green that is summer

I see her. Then I see him, both

Wings spread like fingers, touching the clouds

Circling to a height afar of Icarus’s dream

So close to the sun

They own the air in a union of steaming blue

They are lovers, keepers of peace

Wishing I could join their power of free-flight

I cherish a desire

For it to be more, than a dream

Hawks help keep wild birds and rodents from over populating which is a good thing. Cooper’s hawk will eat wild birds, rats, mice and insects, even lizards, snakes, toads, anything small enough for them to carry. Which is why putting out poison to kill a rodent is a bad idea; it will end up killing a helpful, amazing hawk.

A juvenile, Cooper’s Hawk landed on my deck railing looking frazzled and wet. He may have just left the nest. If you look closely, at the photo, you can see some pinfeathers. That bird is not paying any attention to what or who is behind the window, that is directly in front of where he is perched. When he finally notices, he seems confused, surprised, then upset. He seems to be saying, ‘How dare you look at me!’

On the other side of that window not only was this guy being filmed, but there were cats watching as if it were a movie. They were so enthralled by the large bird; they hardly noticed the glass in-between.

Five days after that first encounter, I was on the deck checking my tomatoes and taking pictures, when I spotted that hawk balancing on an old trimmed, tree branch. It was over fifty feet from the house. Cooper’s Hawk do not like being watched. That didn’t surprise me. Hawks are predators, hunters. They aren’t at ease being noticed. This bird was understandably distressed at being looked at, so I took my camera and went inside.

I won’t try and approach raptors; their talons and sharp beaks could send me to the hospital. Or they can be injured trying to get away. I took my pictures and let him be.

Cooper's Hawk August 2016
Cooper’s Hawk August 2016 Check out those blue eyes


According to ‘All About Birds,’ Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) kill their prey by repeated squeezing. (In that case, Raquel Welch’s character, Loana, shouldn’t have survived the flight to the pterodactyl’s nest. Yes, I know, I am over-looking the fact that picking her up wouldn’t have been impossible.) Some hawks have been known to hold their prey underwater until it drowns. Males are smaller than females; the males build the nest, and will provide all the food for the female and the young fledging. Females will do all the hunting while not nesting. The females are bigger and stronger than the males so they can catch larger prey.

Cooper’s Hawks fly through trees, fast. Weaving in and out quickly, they can easily get hurt by running into hanging branches, which can cause their deaths. In a study of 300 Cooper’s Hawks skeletons, 23 percent had healed over fractures. (See link 7)

  • Accipiter: Short, round wings, and rudder-like tails, they are spectacular at maneuvering in thick woods, darting in and out of trees. Examples of accipiter’s are Cooper’s Hawks, Northern Goshawks, and Sharp-shinned Hawks.
  • Buteo: Soaring hawks, they can soar for long stretches without flapping their wings. Broad-wings, and short broad tails, Buteos include the Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk and Rough-legged Hawk.
  • Falcons: Fastest birds of prey, long pointed wings, streamlined bodies. The peregrine falcon can dive at speeds over 150 miles per hour. Falcons include the American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and Merlin.

Don’t try to touch a Hawk. Don’t try to save them. All your good intentions will do is harm them. Adopt a no-nest policy. Which means you won’t approach any bird’s nest. Never try to get a peek at a Hawk without using binoculars. Getting too close can be dangerous for you and the hawk.

Have you seen a Cooper’s hawk?

Here are some great sites if you want to read about Cooper’s Hawks.

  1. If you found an injured bird call this helpline. CBCM hotline, 773-988-1867
  1. Fox Valley Wild Life Center at (630) 365-3800

I Found an Animal

  1. Fish & Wildlife Service


  1. All About Birds
  1. Illinois Raptor center
  1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act Protected Species
  1. The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.  PDF In link: Incidence of naturally healed fractures in the pectoral bones of North American accipiters.
  1. Kane County Audubon: (click link for ‘sightings’)
  1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act


  1. Hawk Migration Association of North America


Lesson 14 Ending The Book James Patterson’s Masterclass

This post should have been live on Friday.  I had a doctor’s  appointment and I faded out. Here it is a little late, but I will still call it Friday’s post even though the dates don’t match up..{Grin}

Lesson 14  Ending  The Book James Patterson’s Masterclass

Lesson 14 James Patterson's masterclass
Lesson 14 James Patterson’s masterclass

James Patterson’s opening lines:

“Your ending is ‘usually’ important. Because, and this is true in movies, and it’s true in books. Because that’s- they walk out of the theater clapping and cheering and feeling great, and spreading the word, about the movie, or out of their apartments, or whatever in terms of the book. And a lot has to do what you did at the ending. How you pulled it all together. The surprise at the end. The surprise that fits, that’s appropriate. So you really have to make sure that it is satisfying. Or you gonna disappoint people. And you won’t get that good word of mouth. You might not get published because there’s no ending.”

Good endings, well-written endings are what we strive for. Getting to those last few chapters. You clawed and scratched to find the perfect ending. And here is James Patterson telling you it isn’t as easy as saying, they all lived happily ever after- except it can be if you are writing that type of story.  Could be a Fairytale, romance, or children’s book or a combination of genres.

When you are writing, write for the reader of your genre. Write for the best mystery reader, or the best reader of thrillers. James Patterson said:

“If you satisfy that person you will satisfy everyone else.”

What I got from this lesson was to write towards the ending you created in your plotline. Then, change it as you need to. Make your ending fit your story. Make it a great ending. The best you can write. Most of all make it the ending you want to write.

Remember, there are a lot of ways a person can walk into a house. And only you can do it ‘your’ way. Backwards, forward, sideways, through the window. {Smile}

What endings did you like? Why did you like them? Did they connect to the rest of the story? Did they feel right? Did you want the ending to be different? Why? Why was it good? Why was it bad?

I read a children’s book by Wendy Mass. The book was called ‘Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life’.     The ending in that book felt right. It ended in a way that left the reader, well me, feeling good with the ending. If you read it, examine the story. See how the author took you from that first sentence, which for me started with the Preface.

“ My sweat smells like peanut butter.” To the last line, “The people on the train with me don’t know it, but in my head I’m dancing.”

This is an easy book to read and shows how the story progresses with an interesting set of pace, a bit of excitement and suspense. Stirring it  all up with a great ending. 

Examine how some of your favorite authors end their stories. Did you see it coming? If yes, how and where?

Back  to James Patterson’s Masterclass. He makes some great points if you want to hear them all click on the link at the top-left-sidebar.


Video lesson 13 Writing Suspense James Patterson’s MasterClass

Friday’s, Writing with James Patterson MasterClass


Lesson 13 writing suspense
Lesson 13 writing suspense

Video lesson thirteen 13 Writing Suspense. James Patterson starts out this video lesson with a bang. He talks quickly, enthusiastically, what I saw from James Patterson is the energy that you ‘need’ to see in your writing.

Here is a part of Mr. Patterson’s opening lines for lesson 13:

“Obviously, with mystery and suspense, it’s all about suspense. It’s constant non-ending fireworks. Its an adventure that starts and, –it’s gonna hold you at the edge of your seat right to the end, it starts big and gets even bigger….”

And even more…

Got to be genuine. If it feels like, to somebody throwing in devices, if you feel the manipulation, you lose them there too. If the readers going, ‘this is just crap.   This is just the usual somebodies, you know, trying to manipulate me.’

I love this line: “People kind ah want to be manipulated, but they want it done well.”

Know Your Genre

Read the books you want to write. You will learn how to write them, and you won’t write the same book. Write your own story. 

“Be aware of what’s out there. Not to imitate it but to avoid it.”~ James Patterson

The Da Vinci Code the complexity in the story is in the puzzle. It felt fresh to people.

The Da Vinci Code is a mystery-detective novel by Dan Brown.

Now, the secret to suspense is…

Ooops! Sorry, I will not tell you what James Patterson revealed in his video. I will give you a hint. It is common sense. If I reveal it to you, you will lose out on hearing it being told by James Patterson.

James Patterson does get around to answering that question. He pumps up the energy in this class with intense energy.

If you listen, really listen, you will hear all the good advice being given. But you have to listen. Remember when you sat in school  staring out the windows and not listening…well, don’t do that here. You will miss a great lecture. So a little advice, listen to these videos. Listen over and over so you can hear when that  advice is given.

Click on the link to James Patterson’s MasterClass you will find it on the top left-side. Just look, for Mr. Patterson’s picture.