Learning From A Writing-Master

Abigail Jones wrote an article,“You Too Can Write a Best-Seller,”  in Newsweek recently. The article focused on James Patterson, who is “the Guinness World Recorder holder as the author with the most No. 1 New York Times best sellers (114!).”  At first I was hoping the article was going to be mostly advice directly from Patterson and the reader/writer geek inside me became, perhaps overly, excited about it. There was definitely some really good advice given, but the article mostly centered on selling this “Masterclass” where you can get tips and secrets from widely successful people about sports, acting, writing- among other things. Patterson will be teaching one of these classes, which seems pretty awesome. I do not know anything about the classes, therefore I would be hard-pressed to recommend taking it. It goes without saying that any new information you can learn from someone who has already been, 114 times over again, somewhere many of us want to be would be great. I would suggest further looking into the details of the class if you are interested.


Despite if you want to take the class or not, the article proves helpful for all of our writing. Patterson sums up some of his greatest writing tips and tricks:

1) Writing can be just as agonizing as it is exhilarating. Everybody, even the best authors and writers, dream about doing something ‘easier’ from time to time, so do not feel bad when you have those thoughts.

2) Work with co-authors (something I talked about in another blog post).

3) Make sure your heroes and villains are known better to the reader than their own spouse.

4) “When it comes to plot, [Patterson] says, go for a story, not necessarily a lot of pretty sentences.”

5) “If you get stuck, write ‘TBD’ and move on.”

6) “Always break the rules.” (Such as having both first and third person voices throughout your book, etc.)

Obviously Patterson’s “Masterclass” will be chalk full of these takeaways, so look into the details if you are interested in learning more from a master. Nevertheless, these few tips he gave us in Jone’s article are just as helpful- “Masterclass” or not. Write on.

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