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Greatest MasterClass Courses for Writers

Hayley Milliman
Content Lead
Published Oct 12, 2020

Writer courses

Have you heard of MasterClass? It’s an online platform where you take online courses taught by the world’s best in different fields, from acting to dancing to culinary arts to, yes, writing.

We recently took a deep dive into MasterClass’ offerings to find the best courses for writers. Here are our nine favorites.

A quick note before we start: We are MasterClass affiliates, so we were compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on our links. Don’t worry – there is no extra cost to you. That being said, we wholeheartedly support these courses and wouldn’t recommend them if we didn’t think they’d be a huge help.

Okay, on to the list!

  1. What Is MasterClass?
  2. #1: Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
  3. #2: Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television
  4. #3: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling
  5. #4: James Patterson Teaches Writing
  6. #5: Judy Blume Teaches Writing
  7. #6: Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
  8. #7: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing
  9. #8: David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing
  10. #9: Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of Short Story

What Is MasterClass?

Writer courses

MasterClass is an amazing course library full of classes on many subjects, taught by the greatest minds in their respective fields. There are several writing courses, and they are all taught by some of the biggest names in fiction, like Shonda Rhimes, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and more.

With your MasterClass Annual Membership, you get access to dozens of different courses, not just the courses about writing. That means for one small fee, you can learn how to write short stories from Joyce Carol Oates and learn how to perfect your handstand from Simone Biles.

#1: Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing

Malcolm Gladwell is the best-selling author of books like Blink and The Tipping Point. His books have helped millions of readers understand complex ideas like performance prediction, behavioral economics, and more.

This 24-lesson course is Gladwell’s first foray into online teaching. In it, he explains how he researches topics, creates characters, and distills big ideas into simple, powerful narratives. In addition to the 24 lessons, you get access to a downloadable class workbook to keep track of your lessons.

Malcom Gladwell Photo

#2: Shonda Rhimes Teaches Writing for Television

Shonda Rhimes is the powerhouse behind juggernauts like Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, and other binge-able television content. In this masterclass, she shows you how to create compelling characters, write your pilot episode, and pitch your idea.

This masterclass gives you access to six video lessons, as well as pitch notes, series bibles, and exclusive pilot scripts. Your downloadable class workbook will help you stay up-to-date with what you’re learning.

Shonda Rhimes

#3: Neil Gaiman Teaches the Art of Storytelling

In this MasterClass, award-winning author Neil Gaiman teaches his approach to imaginative storytelling. He shares his process for creating absorbing fiction like Stardust and The Sandman.

In this exclusive course, you’ll learn how to develop original ideas and breathe life into your characters. Gaiman will teach you what drives a story and how to discover the stories that have been inside you all along.

Neil Gaiman Photo

#4: James Patterson Teaches Writing

James Patterson is the author of nineteen consecutive New York Times best-sellers. Safe to say, he knows how to craft a story that will compel readers.

In this MasterClass, the first online course Patterson has ever taught, you’ll learn his tricks of the trade. The 22 lessons included in this course guide you from start to finish of your book so you’ll be able to craft your own best-seller.

James Patterson Photo

#5: Judy Blume Teaches Writing

Judy Blume’s beloved children’s books are known for their memorable characters and ground-breaking plots. Her work, like Superfudge and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, is still widely respected today.

In this exclusive MasterClass, Blume teaches you how to invent vivid characters and use your own experiences to create narratives that people will always treasure. The course includes 24 lessons and a downloadable workbook.

Judy Blume Photo

#6: Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers

Dan Brown’s books have sold more than 250 million copies. Known for their page-turning plots and high-stakes suspense, Brown’s books, like The Da Vinci Code, are household names.

In this MasterClass, Brown breaks down exactly how to turn ideas into exciting narratives, step by step. He also shares his methods for researching, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense. Finally, Brown will teach you how to create the kind of dramatic cliffhanger or surprise ending that will keep people talking.

Dan Brown Photo

#7: Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

Author of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood is one of the most influential literary voices of our generation. This MasterClass is her first ever online writing course.

In it, Atwood teaches us how she crafts compelling stories that are both timely and relevant. You’ll learn her creative process for taking a great idea and turning it into a strong novel.

Margaret Atwood Photo

#8: David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing

David Mamet is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Glengarry Glen Ross. In this MasterClass, he teaches how to write ground-breaking drama by turning life’s moments into art.

You’ll learn the rules of drama, the nuances of dialogue, and practice skills to develop your own voice in this exclusive MasterClass.

David Mamet Photo

#9: Joyce Carol Oates Teaches the Art of Short Story

Joyce Carol Oates is a literary legend who has published 58 novels and thousands of short stories, essays, and articles. In this MasterClass, Oates teaches you how to create your own compelling short stories.

In this 14-lesson MasterClass, you’ll learn to tap into your storytelling instincts by finding ideas from your own experiences and experimenting with structure. By the end, you’ll have learned to improve your craft, one sentence at a time.

Joyce Oates Photo

Get access to all of these courses (and dozens more) with MasterClass' Annual Membership. Try it now!

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Hayley Milliman
Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

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