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9 Writing Masterclasses Ranked

Over the past year I’ve watched quite a few Masterclasses. Some were just interesting to listen to, some were really helpful in learning about the craft, and some were overall inspiring. Here is a list of them in order of how helpful they were to me from least to most. 

1. R.L. Stine Teaches Writing for Young Audiences

Where you you’ve seen his work: Goosebumps books, movies, television, Fear Street

This one is perfect if you are just beginning and plan to write children’s novels. If you are fresh on the Masterclass and writing scene, start with this one first as it is the most basic out of all of them. I heart R.L. Stine and I still have a Goosebumps collection – but for me this would have been perfect for when I was just starting out.

2. Judy Blume Teaches Writing

Where you’ve seen her work: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

I find Judy Blume endearing. I would suggest to watch this one next if you are just starting out as a writer. I also really liked hearing about her creative process and how she worked out her ideas and where she got her characters from. One of my favourite things she talked about was when people wanted to pull her books off the shelves because she talked about honest subjects with kids and some felt it was too controversial. She didn’t care about the controversy and kept moving forward anyway.

3. James Patterson Teaches Writing

Where you’ve seen his work: Alex Cross, Along Came a Spider

This was an interesting class where I also didn’t take too many notes but I still really enjoyed it. He has a different perspective than all of the other classes because of the sheer number of novels he’s published. I really found it interesting how much he considers the business side and that he came from advertising and that helped him with his writing career. 

4. Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Where you’ve seen her work: Handmaids Tale book and show, Alias Grace book and show

Margaret Atwood is very cool and I remember my grade 12 english teacher was obsessed with her. This was a great class although some of it was a little bit repetitive as by the time I got to it and I’d watched so many other classes already. Her process and the case study on Handmaids Tale and talking about speculative fiction were the best parts for me.

5. Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television

Where you’ve seen her work: Grey’s anatomy, Scandal

I had no idea how writing for television worked and this was very eye opening! It was a little bit intimidating because I found the structure was very different from writing novels and even films. I loved hearing her story, she was extremely competent in teaching, and if I was going to start writing a TV series I would go back and watch this again.

6. David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing

Where you’ve seen his work: plays Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow 

Love, love, love this one. This was really helpful to me in terms of structure and dialogue. I love David Mamet and he’s very intelligent with his teaching. Recommending this to all! 

7. AAron Sorkin Teaches Screen Writing

Where you’ve seen his work: TV- The West Wing. Movies – Molly’s Game, Social Network, Steve Jobs

This was really informative, not just about writing scripts, but novels as well. The sections on dialogue and developing characters and scenes was applicable to other areas than just film. One thing I found difficult for me to follow was the Case Studies section because the episodes were very long and I hadn’t seen the episodes they broke down. I would say it would be good check what episodes they’re going to cover in the case studies and watch them beforehand so you know what they are talking about!

8. Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers

Where you’ve seen his work: The Da Vinci Code Series books and movies

This class got me very excited about writing. Even if you’re not writing a thriller specifically, there is still lots to learn from here. If you’re not interested in thrillers, you may change your mind after this class. It was really well structured, I loved his teaching style and this is probably my second favourite class. 

9. Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling

Where you’ve seen his work: Coraline, American Gods books and TV show, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Growing up I was familiar with his work and loved Coraline, but never actually knew who Neil Gaiman was and how connected he was to the things I loved. This was my favourite class and I am now obsessed with him. The way he speaks is inspiring and everyone should watch this no matter where in the writing process you are.

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