This article covers the best Masterclass courses for writers, new and experienced authors, content writers, copywriters, and screenwriters.
Masterclass is one of the best learning platforms for writers. You get to learn from your heroes like James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, and David Baldacci.
When I started watching Masterclass a few months ago, I learned about my favorite authors’ creative processes and how they create writing that captures the imagination of millions. They also break down complex topics into bite-sized sections.
If you write fantasy novels, short movies, or advertisements, you can scale your career to another level with Masterclass.
In this post, I'll go over the best Masterclasses for writers, what I learned from the instructors, and how they can improve your life.
- ✓ Affordable
- ✓ High-quality video lessons
- ✓ A-list instructors
- 1. Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
- 2. James Patterson Teaches Writing
- 3. Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
- 4. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
- 5. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
- 6. Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
- 7. R.L. Stine Teaches Writing Children’s Books
- 8. David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
- 9. David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
- 10. Judy Blume Teaches Fiction Writing
- 11. Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
- 12. Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story
- 13. Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking
- 14. Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing
- My Testing Criteria
- Why Trust Us?
- Final Word on the Best Masterclass Courses For Writers
1. Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
Neil Gaiman is an English author who specializes in writing novels, short fiction, comic books, and films. Some of his famous books include:
- American Gods
- The Sandman
During his Masterclass, Gaiman speaks about finding your voice as a writer, how to develop a story, and dealing with writer's block. He also shares unique writing exercises that allow you to fully grasp his message.
Within these four hours and 49 minutes, you'll learn almost everything you need to know about writing an eye-catching story.
When taking Gaiman's Masterclass, I learned a few important lessons that I implemented into my creative process.
For example, I always try to carry a little workbook on me so that I can put it on paper whenever I get an idea.
2. James Patterson Teaches Writing
James Patterson is one of the first authors that I started following, so it was a privilege to get an opportunity to learn from him. After a long career as an advertising executive, Patterson decided to try his hand at writing.
He published his first book, The Thomas Berryman Number, in 1976 and has been creating best-sellers ever since. Some of my favorite novels include:
- Red Alert
- Along Came a Spider
- Cat & Mouse
During his online class, Patterson speaks about his creative process, how he creates book ideas, and how you can implement his techniques to scale your writing career.
The biggest lesson I learned when taking this Masterclass is how to capture your reader's attention. Patterson writes novels, but his techniques work with blog posts, video scripts, and advertisements.
3. Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
Malcolm Gladwell is a Canadian journalist and author. Gladwell started writing at The New Yorker in 1996 and published his first book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. After this, he published several best-selling books like:
- Talking to Strangers
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
When taking this four hours 54-minute Masterclass, I've learned a few important lessons that I carry with me when creating content. Some of these lessons are:
- How to create stories
- Using interviews to create better content
- Developing titles
Gladwell loves talking to other people when creating a story. He says that everyone has a shelf of random ideas and thoughts in their heads. So why limit yourself to your ideas when you can access other people's.
When he's developing a story, he'll interview people, and after they read a snippet of his writing, participants talk about what it reminds them of. This is an effective way to grow a story because you're using other people's experiences.
4. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian author, poet, and teacher, and she has published 18 novels, 11 non-fiction books, and eight children's books. You might recognize some of her work like:
- The Handmaid's Tale
- Alias Grace
- Cat's Eye
In this Masterclass, Atwood teaches how to take your creative writing skills to the next level. The video lessons are short, and it's easy to keep up with her teaching style.
She also talks about her creative process, how she developed it, and how you can use it to create engaging stories.
After watching her 23 video long course, my biggest takeaway is how she builds characters in detail.
Actions build characters. Your characters don't just exist in isolation; you're finding out who they are by how they interact with events around them.
Before writing a novel, Atwood likes creating a graph with the month on the left and the year at the top. Then, she’ll plot all the critical world events on the chart, creating uniformity and accuracy. By doing this, you reduce the likelihood of inaccuracies in your book.
5. Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
Aaron Sorkin is a famous screenwriter, playwright, actor, and director. He developed a passion for writing plays at an early age, and after working multiple odd jobs to support his career in film, he wrote his first hit play, Removing All Doubt.
Since then, Sorkin has written famous films like A Few Good Men, The American President, and Moneyball. He even wrote the script for the biographical movie Steve Jobs released in 2015.
In this Masterclass, Sorkin talks about how he conducts research, develops characters, and comes up with story ideas. Then, he takes you through how he created famous movies like Steve Jobs and The West Wing.
My favorite Masterclass episode is when he talks about writing habits. He says that you should sit down and write, regardless of how you're feeling. It's better to write something mediocre than to do nothing.
This helped me when creating blog posts. I always struggle with writing introductions since that's when the writer's block kicks in. But after putting his advice into practice, I rarely experience that blank screen anxiety because there's no pressure to create a perfect post.
6. Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
Dan Brown is famous for his novels in the horror and thriller niches. So if you're an aspiring author who loves writing thrillers, this Masterclass is for you. You might recognize some of his famous books like:
- The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code was such a hit that Columbia Pictures even made a movie of it starring Tom Hanks and Jean Reno.
When teaching this Masterclass, Brown aims to help viewers write better and more suspenseful thrillers.
During these classes, he explains how he got ideas for The Da Vinci Code. I found this class helpful because I could implement the techniques he used into my writing.
One of his main principles is to create what you like and hope that others share your taste. You shouldn't chase other people's taste because it comes off as inauthentic. Some people will love what you do while others will hate it, but that's part of being an author.
7. R.L. Stine Teaches Writing Children’s Books
Rober Lawrence Stine is a novelist and screenwriter famous for his work in the children's niche. His notable books include:
- Fear Street
- Rotten School
- Mostly Ghostly
As a child, Stine was passionate about creating stories, and in 1986, he wrote his first novel, Blind Date.
In his Masterclass, Stine covers how he scares his readers, so they keep coming back. He uses examples and case studies from Goosebumps to help elevate your horror writing skills. There's even an entire lesson on creating monsters.
I learned that the key to scary writing is a close point of view to the protagonist. When writing in first-person, you're placing the reader in the protagonist's head. So when something terrible happens, your readers are frightened.
8. David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing
David Baldacci is a former attorney turned best-selling author. He's well-known for his legal and political novels. Barack Obama even stated that he's a big fan of Baldacci's work.
Baldacci started writing stories as a child but decided to study law after graduating from high school. After a long and successful career as an attorney, he published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996. Since then, he has written best-selling books like:
- The Camel Club
- The Innocent
- One Summer
During this Masterclass, Baldacci covers creating an outline for your novel, constructing chapters, and building suspense.
Baldacci is one of the best at creating suspense, making it almost impossible to put his books down. In a few video lessons, he talks about his thought process when building tension.
Before something important happens, Baldacci will end the chapter, which forces readers to turn the page quickly. When writing a book series, he might finish a book before an exciting event, so readers must read his next book to find out what happens.
9. David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
David Mamet is a director, screenwriter, and author who wrote classic films like The Untouchables, Hannibal, and Heist. He also wrote award-winning books like Chicago and Three Uses of the Knife.
Mamet's four-hour 41 minutes long Masterclass aims to teach viewers how he creates dramatic writing. Some of his classes include:
- The basic rules of dramatic writing
- How to structure your plot
- Building the habit of writing
This Masterclass is divided into 26 videos, so it's easy to digest. It details how to create dramatic scenes, making it an informative course for anyone looking to improve their drama writing skills.
However, my favorite part of his Masterclass is the exercises that Mamet shares. He's a big believer in learning by making mistakes instead of just absorbing information. For example, in a few episodes, he asks you to structure a plot using his creative methods, and although you'll make a lot of mistakes, it allows you to grow.
10. Judy Blume Teaches Fiction Writing
Judy Blume is one of the best children's book authors in the world. She started writing in 1959 and, since then, published over 25 best-selling novels. Some of her best work include:
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
Blume's novels are admired by millions of readers worldwide since she teaches children and young adults about their bodies. As a child, I read a few of Blume's classics, and her writing voice is informative yet fun.
So it was a pleasure for me to learn from one of my childhood authors. You'll go behind the scenes and discover how Blume creates ideas and transfers those ideas onto paper in a way that's appealing to children.
I especially like her two episodes where she talks about her writing process. Blume explains that the first thing she does when creating a new novel is to write down everything she can in a first draft. This way, she doesn't have to face a blank screen or page.
Blume also likes writing with a pencil instead of typing on a computer since it allows her to transfer ideas from her head onto a piece of paper more effectively.
11. Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, television producer, and author. She's famous for being the creator, head writer, and executive producer of the hit medical television show Grey's Anatomy. Here are other popular films that Rhimes wrote:
- The Princess Diaries
- For the People
In her Masterclass, Rhymes goes over essential lessons she learned over her long career and how you can use them to get into the television writing industry.
She covers topics like finding creative ideas, creating memorable characters, and pitching your story. This makes her Masterclass an actionable option for those looking to work in the television industry.
When taking her Masterclass, I learned how to write a script for a one-hour drama. Rhimes talks about the five acts of a show:
- Present your characters with a problem
- The problem escalates
- The plot reaches a peak
- An unexpected outcome
- A victory and celebration
Rhimes goes into how to create each act, when to end it, and how to move on. You'll also learn some of the techniques she used when creating Grey's Anatomy.
12. Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of the Short Story
Joyce Carol Oates is an American writer who writes different stories like plays, novels, poetry, and short stories.
She's famous for her books, Blonde, The Falls, and We Were the Mulvaneys. She published her first novel, Shuddering Fall, in 1964, and since then, she has published over 60 books and plays.
In her Masterclass, Oates talks about observing the world as an author to generate creative ideas, structuring these ideas concisely, and studying other authors' work. She also holds writer's workshops with her students where they do writing exercises.
After taking Oates' Masterclass, the biggest lesson I learned was how writing with limited time could benefit your creative ideas. The work you create when time is limited is usually better than when you have a few days to write.
Think back to when you had to meet a tight deadline. Then, ideas flow easily, and you rarely struggle with writer's block. So if you can set a deadline for 20 or 30 minutes, you'll get into a flow state quickly.
13. Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking
Werner Herzog is a German screenwriter, actor, author, and director. He acted in Star Wars: The Mandalorian and voiced Shrimply Pibbles in Rick and Morty.
He’s also the screenwriter for movies like My Best Fiend, Grizzly Man, and Jack Reacher. During his Masterclass, Herzog shares the writing tips and techniques he developed over the years so you can create compelling screenplays.
I've always been passionate about creating films and writing scripts, so I was excited when learning from Herzog. After taking this course, I walked away with information that’ll stay with me forever.
For example, in one of his episodes, Herzog talks about a set of rules that allowed him to create the best films possible. Some of these rules include:
- No cellphones allowed on set
- Stay close to your actors and build a relationship with them
- Throw away the director's chair
14. Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing
Salman Rushdie is an Indian-British author who’s known for his work in the magic realism genre. He won several prestigious writing awards like The Booker Prize and Golden PEN Award. The Queen of England even gave him a knighthood in June 2007.
You might recognize some of his famous books like:
- The Satanic Verses
- Midnight's Children
During this writing class, Rushdie teaches the art of storytelling. He goes over bringing characters to life, developing your writing voice, and researching for your novel. This makes it a helpful tool for anyone looking to write their first book.
Rushdie also shares exercises that help your writing. For example, he suggests you write a few thousand words without adjectives, thus forcing you to describe things in more detail.
For example, instead of saying a house is beautiful, you could talk about the house's color, shape, lawn, and size. This exercise improves your descriptive writing skills.
My Testing Criteria
When looking for the best online courses to recommend to my fellow writers, I looked through the following criteria:
- The expertise of the instructor
- Amount of actionable information in the course
- The teaching style of the instructor
- The length of video lessons
After using Masterclass for a few months now, I can safely say that these courses are worth it.
All the instructors are world-famous experts, and they share actionable tips you can implement immediately. Their teaching style is also easy to understand, and the annual membership only costs $180. With this all-access pass, you can watch as many classes as you want.
Why Trust Us?
When I started writing content, I mainly learned from online videos and blog posts. However, this information was of was regurgitated. Most blog posts and videos gave the same boring advice; add bullet points, use lots of headers, write like you're talking to a child, and optimize for SEO.
But when I learned from these Hollywood writers and best-selling authors, I accessed a new world of information. Almost every piece of advice they shared was new and unique to me.
For example, when taking Rushdie's course, I started writing without adjectives. I instantly got better at descriptive writing because I couldn't use words like big, fast, and perfect. It would be difficult to find this type of advice when watching generic online videos.
Final Word on the Best Masterclass Courses For Writers
Masterclass writing courses give you access to a whole new world of information. When taking these courses, you'll learn how famous authors capture the world's imagination.
Writers like David Baldacci, Salman Rushdie, and Judy Blume share their secrets on generating ideas and writing that keep the reader turning the page. By implementing these writing techniques in your creative process, you'll take your career to the next level.
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