James Patterson Writing Tips and Inspiration

Award-winning author James Patterson yesterday engaged in an Ask Me Anything, a live online Q&A, facilitated by audible, during which he answered burning questions and bestowed some writing wisdom.

James Patterson gave fans and aspiring writers alike advice on how to tell a good story. Photo source.

James Patterson gives fans and aspiring writers advice on how to tell a good story. Photo source.

An avid reader and aspiring writer myself, I was excited to wake at 5am and discover that Patterson was holding an Ask Me Anything in a few minutes time.

I quickly tweeted some questions and continued with my morning routine, my eyes glued to my phone.

Amazingly, one of my questions was one of the first he answered, and he imparted this keynote.

We hear it all the time: plan your writing before you write. And it makes sense that thoroughly planning your writing will make the process easier.

But learning the extent to which such a prolific author plans his work was both terrifying and inspiring; this seems like a lot of work, but where would Patterson be without all of that work?

And his seemingly never-ending list of published and planned works says it all. (See his complete list of books here.)

His driven mindset also says a lot and accounts for his high productivity.

“On to the next one!” he said when Twitter user @MahmoodKhan24 asked how he felt after finishing a book.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Patterson, whose first book publishers rejected so many times it puts J.K. Rowling’s reported 12 knock-backs to shame.

Patterson told me on Twitter that he didn’t aspire to become a writer until his earlier twenties, going on to publish his first book at the age of 27, and giving all the fresh-out-of-school writing majors some serious hope.

He fell seriously in love with the craft, telling @LovelyAlexeus that he never tires of writing.

“Writing has never felt like a job to me. I do it every single day,” he said.

Although known for his success in the crime, thriller, and murder mystery genres, Patterson is also an advocate for children’s reading and an author to several kid’s and young adult series.

He didn’t have to change his writing style for the different age groups, but he told me he did tone down on the mature content.

“My main goal is to get readers to keep turning the page,” he said. “The kids’ books are funnier and not as mature.”

No matter what style or genre of writing you choose to explore, Patterson has some top notch advice on the most important part of writing.

“Pacing. You need to keep the story moving,” he said to @SloggettRyan. “Leave your readers hungry for more.”

One final piece of advice for aspiring writers? The same old, same old, making me think it actually does carry some truth.


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