Tag Archives: James Patterson’s MasterClass

Lesson 12 Building a chapter James Patterson’s Masterclass

Lesson 12- Building A Chapter

Lesson 12 Building A Chapter
Lesson 12 Building A Chapter

Friday with James Patterson’s MasterClass

James Patterson starts this lesson saying:

“Mike Connelly said, What Jim does, is, every single chapter moves the characterization and the action forward. -Every chapter. And turns on the movie projector in our heads.”

Then James continued.

“That movie projector in our heads means, that I can see the scene. I can hear the scene. I can smell the scene. I taste the scene. Something about it, I was getting enough information that sets me in that scene. So I can be there ‘with’ that character. And that’s really, really useful.”

He tells us to hear, smell, and see the scene- be there with the character. My take on this is –get in close– and personal. Chapters can be one scene or a few scenes. It all depends on what you have in mind for your story, your novel.

Choose a View Point

James Patterson likes to write in 1st person and 3rd person limited

Then he tells us, ‘It is your creation you can do whatever you want to do if it works.’ There are no rules that’s says you can’t use 1st and 3rd in the same story.

He likes to follow the villains and some secondary characters – you can switch off and write from a different character’s point of view. Who makes it more interesting? Which point of view feels right? The victim? The Detective, or the Killer? What is the best point of view you need to make the chapter come alive?

Other points of view emotionally how do you want your reader to feel? What is going to make it sad, happy, scary or sexy – then write in that point of view or rewrite it?

In ‘1st To Die’ all the main character are introduced in that first chapter. 1st to Die (Women’s Murder Club #1) by James Patterson

Starts with a murder of a couple, in a hotel, while on their honeymoon. We are introduced to Lindsay Boxer who is a police officer. The medical examiner, Claire Washburn. We meet Jill Bernhardt an assistant D.A. We see their connection. In this first chapter, we met three key characters. Then we meet a young reporter, Cindy Thomas, the fourth member, and she doesn’t belong there. She lies her way in. By the end of the book they are a unit – James Patterson says, “good shit”

This lesson has a PDF, a comments section, and an assignment.


Third video lesson Raw Ideas James Patterson’s MasterClass


03 raw ideas

Video 3 lesson 3 RAW IDEAS

These are just a few points that stood out. There is a class video along  with a workbook and comments section.

“The more you know about, the more likely you are to combine things into an idea that is striking.”~ James Patterson

  1. What I got from this lesson.
  2. Men see things differently than woman do.
  3. Make an idea notebook
  4. Ask yourself: Can I write a whole book about this? Will people care?
  5. Write for yourself, then
  6. Write for your reader.
  7. Keep learning new things

James Patterson is frequently asked, “Where do you come up with your stories?”

He will come up with a title or some little thing will catch his eye. He explains he has a big folder of ideas, and that he can write a story about anything.


James Patterson tells us, that he can get an idea from something he might spot on the street.

Let me think about this one. Gum, or doggy-do? Hmmm, maybe a bit of trash can lead your readers to a mystery.   I can see this.

Jimmy weaved up to his apartment door. The sun would be rising in a few minutes. Dizzy and exhausted he dropped his keys just as the wind picked up, blowing an empty bag of chips across his bloody Rockport’s.   He scooped up his keys as the empty chip bag skipped across a patch of grass and lodged under his neighbor’s car. …Maybe the chip bag had the blood, not his shoes, even better. 

He goes on to say that you need to find an idea that ‘you’ find interesting. Patterson states, “I don’t write realism.”

One of his favorite books is Honeymoon. Which just so happens to be the book used as an example through this class. If you haven’t read it, you can get a copy by clicking that link/app over to left side page. I am reading this book, it flows quickly, I am hooked. * I plan on picking the book apart in a different post.

When you take this class. Listen and listen well. That Ah-ha moment you are looking for may not hit you right away.

“You hope the book you are writing is spectacular.”~ James Patterson

Second Lesson Passion & Habit James Patterson’s MasterClass Writing Friday

Friday’s writing . I am on lesson two in James Patterson’s MasterClass.

Video two: Passion & Habit

James Patterson starts with, “someone said, you’re lucky if you find something in life you love, and it’s a miracle if someone pays you to do it.”

Now I have heard other people say something similar, but for me, at this moment, James Patterson said it in his second video lesson.

This second video was filled with a positive, uplifting talk on his path to being a writer.

He spoke of his Vanderbilt professor, Walter Sullivan.

He tells us he stayed a week in a Trappist monastery trying to find himself {or was it the inner writer?}

Read. Read. Read! Practice! Practice! Practice!

James Patterson’s grandfather loved to sing on the way to work. His grandfather’s advice was, “…just remember when you go over the mountain to work in the morning you got to be singing.” Which, that advice, flows into ‘find something you love to do.’

Hmmm! My Grandpa’s advice was, you work until you die. Singing came with a beer, baseball and lobbing pigeon eggs at his neighbor.

James Patterson said, “Pick out what you think, you can handle and deal with…”

His first novel was turned down by thirty-one publishers. After five rejections he could have given up.

I can tell you what I learned from these video classes.

*Pick a time to write each day and write!*

This class may or may not click for you. It is possible that after listening to James Patterson’s video lessons, you will jump up and yell, Ah-ha! I got it! You will hug everyone and say, I now understand how to become a well know, well-read, rich author. Or not…

Feel like it. Get into that habit. That ritual. Make writing a joyful thing.

“Be driven by passion”

James Patterson still has the same passion he had when he started writing.

He tells us to force yourself to write whenever it is comfortable for you to write. Once it becomes a habit you won’t have to think about it.

His first book never got published. Mr. Patterson said, “that was yesterday today is today. He has been through rejection insecurities. He admits he has had a lot of rejections. He has the scars from those rejections.

Patterson said, “Keep that passion alive, it keeps you going through the hard times and makes you enjoy the good times”

Making a new habit is hard. Writing is hard. You have to open your imagination to create something new. Habits are easy when they come with immediate gratification.
For an example, cell phones; you get a new phone. Pretty buttons. Yeah, look at me with the shiny new toy. So you call, text, show it off. You feel good. So you keep using it. It feels even better than chocolate. You just developed a habit. A habit of using this phone and it started with ‘instant gratification.’

The million-dollar question is, how can I get into that habit of writing daily? A habit that comes without all the bells and whistles and a million likes. Do this; Elbows bent, hands held at shoulder level, palms up; add a slow silent shoulder shrug. That stupid grin is just for effect.

I have been trying to set a  habit of writing each morning. Ignoring the phone. Ignoring everything that calls out that isn’t writing.  Research has a tendency to pull me off track. I found that writing straight through, no editing , no wondering about details. Just writing.  I got to get rid of that delete button…

Write, write, write! Write without a pat on the back. Write without showing my stories to family and friends. Write to set the habit of writing at the same time, in the same place, every day.

Set up your habit. Do your happy dance with a song.  Pat yourself on the back. Then tell me about it?