Category Archives: character arc

Seventh video lesson James Patterson’s MasterClass Outlines part 2

James Patterson lesson 7

James Patterson MasterClass lesson 7
James Patterson MasterClass lesson 7


“Only his editor has seen this outline,” we are told by James Patterson. “He hasn’t shared this before.”

I am not posting that outline nor the lessons. What I will do is give you my impression of those first three chapters in his book Honeymoon. And their ‘first and last’ sentences.

James Patterson’s chapters are short. His first chapter is only about 700 words. Now that is a guesstimate, 250 per page- guesstimate.

Before chapter one, the page is labeled:


This part goes on and on according to my book.  In the ‘Honeymoon’ outline, Part Two starts with Chapter nineteen.

I posted 💡 in the comment section asking…

In the outline, I saw the book was cut into, not only chapters but, into Part-one, Part-Two, and Part Three. In the (actual) book, Honeymoon, or at least my copy. I only see Part One labeled. If the Parts were only for the outline, why start with Part One? Is this the storytelling arc- with a three-act structure?    

I await my answer. 😎 In the meantime read on.

Chapter one starts with:

“Nora could feel Connor watching her. “

Is this a stalker? We find out in the next sentence, -Connor always watches her pack. We are still getting to know this couple.

 It ends with a sentence that needs no explanation. 

“Now, what was that about tying somebody up?” she asked.

I can see how this chapter connects and then fills in with this couple joking, playing with each other. We see love; we are in love with them. These two, together, feel good. All happy, shiny lovey-dovey, and rich, what could go wrong?  This is the beginning, something has to happen or what’s the point of reading.

Chapter two has nearly 1,000 words in this chapter, which starts with:

“Thirty-minutes later, donning a plush pink terry-cloth robe, Nora descended the sprawling staircase of Connor’s 11,00-square-foot, three-story neoclassic Colonial.”

Nice description.

And here is the last sentence in this second chapter:

“She quickly dressed, and moments later, as the limousine started to drive away, Nora called to Connor out the open back window. “I’m the luckiest girl in the world!”

 All I think here is, Duh!

 Each chapter has its own beginning and end. Each one tells us about Nora and Connor. Each one is drawing us a little further into the story with very few words we connect to the main character.

 Chapter three: Is less than five hundred words. Remember my guesstimate, at 250-per page.

First sentence: “Nora couldn’t stop staring at the dazzling ring for most of the ride to the Westchester airport. “

And then the last two sentences:“Before reaching for the door, she glanced at her watch. It was showtime.”

That word, ‘showtime’ changed the tone of the story. We can hear, see and feel the change.

“The first couple of chapters really set up the third chapter.” James Patterson.

This class you can post comments, videos, and download the workbook. Listening to James Patterson is worth the price of admission.

Sixth Video Lesson Outlines part 1 James Patterson’ MasterClass


Friday’s Lesson 6Outlines part 1’ of James Patterson’ MasterClass

Video Lesson 6
Video Lesson 6

James Patterson starts this lesson saying, “The most common mistake that writers make, especially young writers -is,”

For this part, he leans in towards the camera and raises his voice.

“That they don’t do an outline!” ……“You will do a better book and it will take less time”

What Your Outline Needs:

Everything should be in the outline: the arc of the main character and the villain. Your villains need to be complex.

James Patterson said, “Outlines should have a lot of promise.”

My take on this: Arcs in an outline that shows us  how the character changes, mentally and  physically. Maybe, how he overcomes or flops big time.  Ask yourself, what does your character want out of life? An easy question right? Most flesh and blood humans have no clue what they want out of life and it can take them, their entire lives to figure it out. Your characters won’t have that long. So start your outline by writing out what your character wants and how he or she will get it.

For my example let’s start with Sam.

  1. Sam wants to be a photojournalist.
  2. Sam took Full Sail online classes.
  3. Sam graduated.
  4. Sam couldn’t find a job so he decided to start his own, online blog.  
  5. Sam was taking pictures in the park and saw a man getting kidnapped.

I could add a little depth to Sam, by giving him a fear, a fear of leaving his house.

Do you see how I can build up this outline? Add in a friend for Sam, how about a love interest. Have a couple of real jobs that Sam has to complete. This is a very simple start to an outline. Try one yourself. Don’t think about it just write.

Okay back to James Patterson’s MasterClass.

Focus On The Story

The only time, James Patterson faces the blank page is when he starts the outline.

He tells us, “Don’t think about the sentences-write the story.”

Great advice. When I start worrying my writing comes to a screeching halt.

In this class, like the others, I can make comments or ask questions and it comes with a downloadable PDF for this lesson.

If you are curious about this class, click on the link, for James Patterson’s MasterClass.   In the upper left sidebar. Check it out.