Want to improve your short story writing skills? This Judy Blume Masterclass review explains what you’ll learn and if it’s worth it.
As a non-fiction writer, I’ve always admired my fictional peers. There’s something about creating a plot, characters, and story that commands respect. So I spent the last few weeks watching Judy Blume’s Masterclass and reading through her workbook.
Not only does she make everything easy to understand, but she dives deep into little details that’s crucial as a children’s fiction writer.
Storytelling is vital in the beginning stages of our lives because we're curious and always learning. Everyone has their own classic childhood stories, but what if you could create your own story that thousands of kids love. This is sure to stick with them forever.
If you want to impact the world or simply tell better children's stories, then Judy Blume's Masterclass is perfect. It teaches you step-by-step how to find ideas, create characters, and tell stories that children love.
Who Is Judy Blume & Why Should You Take Her Masterclass?
Judith Blume, born February 12, 1938, is an American young adult fiction writer. Since young, she's been an avid reader and was already reading New York University books before she started preschool.
Blume made a name for herself early on since she’s one of the first authors to exclusively focus on taboo topics. These topics include puberty, menstruation, birth control, and teenage pregnancy. The public loved her books because they made children feel like they're not alone.
In 1969, she published her first children's book, The One In The Middle Is The Green Kangaroo. After the success of publishing this book, Blume wrote Iggie's House and Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret. Both books aged well and children read them to this day.
She's written over 25 best-sellers since. Some include;
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
She has received over 90 literary awards over her lifetime. Some well-known ones are;
- Carl Sandburg Literary Award
- NYU Changemakers of the Year
- Regina Award
After a long and successful career writing children, teenage, and young adult books, Blume felt it was time for a change. This was when she got into the adult reality genre. Here, she had even more success.
She released Wifey in 1978, and sold well over 4 million copies. She also wrote Summer Sisters in 1998, and although it was controversial at the time since it discussed homosexuality, it sold over 3 million copies.
Who Is This Masterclass For
Judy Blume's online course is a practical option if you want to write children's stories. Whether it's for your own children before they go to bed or if you're looking to publish a children's book and impact thousands of lives.
“Our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch.”Judy Blume
It teaches you how to create characters, capture a child's attention, and keep them hooked until the end of your book.
Children Book Writers
If you're an aspiring children's writer or you want to improve your writing skills, then you're in luck. Few people in the world have the in-depth understanding and experience of writing children's books that Blume has.
She's been writing best-selling children's books for over 62 years. Her teaching style is engaging and fast-paced, so if you get bored quickly, then rest assured, this Masterclass will keep you hooked.
Short Story Writers
Although this online course isn't targeted at short story writers, many of the same principles apply.
This is because children's books aren't as long as adult books. As an author, you have to capture the reader's attention quicker and convey important information in fewer words.
Most of the tips and techniques she shares in this online class apply even if you're writing short adult fiction.
A Masterclass instructor that goes deeper into short storytelling is Joyce Carol Oates. In her Masterclass, she goes through everything you need to know when writing short stories.
What Is Judy Blume's Masterclass Like?
Judy Blume's Masterclass consists of 24 HD video lessons that are 4 hours 50 minutes long. You'll notice it's a bit longer than other writing classes, and that's because she goes into fine detail.
It also comes with a 43-page PDF workbook that you can read through if you don't have time to watch the video lessons. This workbook also contains helpful writing exercises.
Her online classes are fun, fast-paced, and easy to follow. Even though she might seem intimidating given her long writing career, her content is approachable.
The 24 online classes are:
- Introduction: 01:57
- Judy's childhood: 06:03
- Finding ideas – Part 1: 09:14
- Finding ideas – Part 2: 09:04
- Idea case studies”: 08:20
- Writing for younger readers – Part 1: 14:30
- Writing for younger readers – Part 2: 08:42
- In the unlikely event case study – Part 1: 14:15
- In the unlikely event case study – Part 2: 19:54
- Creating memorable characters – Part 1: 12:54
- Creating memorable characters – Part 2: 19:12
- Writing dialogue: 20:14
- Dialogue case study”: 08:46
- Creating plot structure – Part 1: 11:44
- Creating plot structure – Part 2: 14:42
- Judy's writing process – Part 1: 10:31
- Judy's writing process – Part 2: 11:29
- Getting ready to submit: 09:46
- Working with editors: 16:59
- Rejection: 12:12
- Marketplace: 17:46
- Controversy and censorship: 11:53
- Career journey: 18:25
- Closing: 01:40
How Much Does Her Masterclass Cost
To get access to Judy Blume's Masterclass, you'll need to buy an annual all-access pass for $180. This pass gives access to not only Blume's course, but other world-renowned authors like;
What I've Learnt From Judy Blume's Masterclass
Judy Blume has a unique perspective on the world and writing. Before taking this Masterclass, I wasn't into writing children's fiction. Now, the idea seems appealing.
Her philosophy is that when children are growing up, they’re still learning and discovering. They don't know if what they're experiencing is normal or not. Whether it's parents fighting, puberty, or bullying.
Blume's mission is to educate children in a fun way and let them know that everything they're experiencing is 100% normal.
Finding Creative Writing Ideas Isn't Hard
In my first few years of writing, new ideas were difficult to find. This was before I found a reliable step-by-step method to getting new ideas. Some writers call this the creative writing process.
She shares her own creative process with us that allows her to generate compelling ideas whenever she wants.
Her creative process is lengthy and in-depth, so I suggest you watch her class titled “Judy's writing process.” But to summarize, she leaves the house and observes the world around her. This is how she gets most of her creative ideas.
“My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it.”Judy Blume
Writers are people watchers. We observe what people do and how they react to certain situations. This is how you get ideas for realistic and relatable characters. They must be based on real-life people and situations. When you create an entire character using your imagination, it seems inauthentic.
She makes an example of when she was walking around, she saw a man in a suit getting on a bike. Before he got on, he put plastic straps around his pants to prevent them from blowing around in the wind. One could use this when creating a character.
Tap Into Your Childhood
Blume recommends sitting down in a distraction-free place for a few minutes and diving deep into your childhood.
Not only thinking about your favorite music and TV shows but visualizing every last detail. It might not be accurate, but it'll help you when writing children's books.
For example, how did your classroom smell like on a wet winter day? Imagine yourself sitting in that classroom, feeling the emotions you felt when you were young.
Another way to tap into your childhood is to volunteer at a school. Tell them you're writing a children's book and would like to spend a few days helping out. This brings back childhood memories and you’ll understand children better.
One thing children hate most is secrets. Most adults think children don't pick up on this, but if you think back on your childhood, you did. Kids are smart. When adults keep secrets from kids, they make things up in their heads that are much worse than if their parents told the truth.
Understanding this allows you to make children relate to your book. Be honest. Don't keep secrets. Your story should make them feel normal. Parents fighting and divorcing is normal. Puberty is normal. Having mood swings is normal.
Hooking Readers Is Important If You're Writing Children's Books
We all know how vital hooking your readers are. Depending on the reader, if you don't hook them within a specific time frame, your book will be in the trash. With children, the concept still applies, but it's far worse.
For example, if an adult gives you 50 pages to hook them, a child gives 5. Children don't have long attention spans, so don't be boring.
Ensure that your book is fast-paced. There should always be something exciting happening. As soon as there are a few boring pages, the child won't care for your book anymore.
Create Characters Based On Real-Life People
Always base your character on real-life people and traits. Not only is this more realistic, but it allows kids to relate to your characters, which makes them feel normal.
Your book shouldn't come across as a movie where everything is perfect, and anything else is cut out. It should be the complete opposite. You must capture all your character's imperfects, flaws, habits, and daily errands. This comes across as authentic.
If your character never goes to the toilet, showers, brushes their teeth, or cries, then are they relatable? No! Your readers won't build rapport with them.
Instead, mention all the little things. Do they always forget their keys? Do they stub their toe against furniture? These all allow your readers to relate to a character.
Don't Tell Your Readers How To Feel, Show Them
Everyone hates it when a book or movie tells them how to feel. It's annoying and turns your readers off.
One of the golden rules of writing is to show your readers how to feel, not tell them.
For example, if your main character is a good, kind person, don't tell your readers that. Put him in a situation where his kindness can be displayed. Maybe he's behind an old lady in a queue, and she can't afford a loaf of bread. He pays for her bread but has to leave something he wanted since he doesn't have enough money.
This triggers intense emotion in your readers.
Keep Your Writing Process Simple
Blume suggests that after you've come home from observing people, you'll have a few critical points in mind. Write every last one of them on a sheet of paper and expand on them as much as possible. Think of this as your protection against writer's block.
After you've got everything down on a sheet of paper, go to sleep. This gives your mind a much-deserved break, and you'll come back with fresh ideas.
Last, Blume recommends that we start writing with a pen and paper since something connects your brain and hand and ideas flow.
Is It Worth It?
Judy Blume's writing course is genre-specific, making it the top choice for anyone interested in writing children's books. Everything you'll need to know is contained within these online classes.
It's also quite affordable since it only costs $180 for an all-access pass to Masterclass. It’s impossible to learn from a world-renowned author like Judy Blume unless you invest in Masterclass. It’s money well spent if you’re a serious writer. Here you also get access to other helpful writing courses like:
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The Bottom Line
Children and young adult fiction is a genre that isn't covered deeply enough by authors. The benefits of writing children's books run far more profound than just earning money. You build relationships with young readers all over the world, and that stays with them forever.
This is the perfect Masterclass for aspiring children book writers. If you want a more general understanding of storytelling, then consider taking James Patterson’s Masterclass. If short stories are more your thing, opt for Joyce Carol Oates’ Masterclass.
- It's the best Masterclass if you're interested in writing children's books.
- She takes you step-by-step through her entire writing process.
- Her video lessons are fast-paced.
- This isn’t for you if you aren’t into writing children’s books.
- It doesn’t put a lot of emphasis on short stories.