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Writing Master Classes

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or experienced writer, you can always improve your craft through reading novels analytically, going to conferences to listen to lectures, and taking classes. For some, traveling to reach resources isn't always an option. Getting an MFA may not be possible.

Luckily there are options for learning at home as long as you have an internet connection.

There is a site called Master Classes that gives courses offered by famous writers, performers, directors, and actors. You can pay $90 for a single class or $180 for a year's access to all of their courses. The lectures come with downloadable workbook pages with exercises. Some lecturer provide Question and Answer options. There is a community for discussion about the material following each lesson.

1. RL Stine, the award-winning author of Goosebumps and Fear Street, wrote for twenty years before reaching world-wide fame by exploring the horror genre for young readers. His series have sold more than 400 million copies. His course covers writer's block, plot development, and building nail-biting suspense.

2. Judy Blume, author of Are There God, It's Margaret and the Fudge series among others, offers a twenty-four lesson course on how to develop vibrant characters and hook your readers.

3. James Patterson, the prolific author of NYT best selling thrillers, teaches tricks of the trade through every part of the book writing process.

4. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point, offers a 24 lesson course on how to find, research, and write stories that capture big ideas. icon. Malcolm analyzes his own works to reveal his unique creative process.

5. David Mamet, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of Glengarry Glen Ross, takes you through his process for turning life's strangest moments into dramatic art. He teaches the rules of drama, the nuances of dialogue, and the skills to develop your own voice and create your masterpiece.

6. Shonda Rhimes, producer of television hits Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, teaches how to create compelling characters, write a pilot, pitch your idea, and stand out in the writers’ room. You’ll also get original pilot scripts, pitch notes, and series bibles from her shows. Welcome to Shondaland.

7. Ken Follett, author of historical thrillers such as Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, and Edge of Eternity, states, "I want to entertain you. I want you to be thrilled or moved to tears or scared and I definitely want you to be on the edge of your seat all the time, wondering what is going to happen next." He shares tips on how to achieve that goal.

8. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, discusses overcoming barriers to writing and how to stay focused.

9. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, offers a 20-lesson course on creating vivid prose and hooks.

10. Alan Sorkin, writer of the West Wing, discusses whether your idea has TV show or movie potential.

11. Dan Brown, author of The Davinci Code, unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.

12. Neil Gaiman, the author of Stardust, Coraline, and The Sandman teaches his approach to imaginative storytelling. Learn how to find your unique voice, develop original ideas, and breathe life into your characters.

They add to their offerings frequently. Next week, we look at Great Courses.

In addition, this blog offers weekly mini-lessons and my website offers free tools and forms.

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