Being new to the whole writing process and wanting to learn more about how to write Novels in general, I decided to take the Master Class of several writers which were provided by Masterclass Online :
The first writer I decided to watch was Malcolm Gladwell.
Link to Malcolm Galdwell’s Masterclass:
Now, I have never heard of him, so the first thing I realized is that I might have made a small mistake of attending a non-fiction writer’s classes – it was too late and I should have started with Neil Gaiman’s class first – But I only realized that half – way and decided to finish the course anyway.
Here are my general reviews on the class :
- It was a good class for starters, not knowing who Malcolm Gladwell was, I didn’t have any expectations or preconception about who he was, so my impression of him was that he had a nice personality and character, he was actually funny and seemed to enjoy his work a lot.
- He gave a lot of advice on how to write non-fiction in general and gave loads of example with his own personal work, he mentioned his book – David and Goliath a lot, and often read excerpts from it.
- As a fiction writer myself, I found it both boring and useful, not sure how to explain that, but I will write a few of my notes in this blog post.
- This class made me realize how I will never consider becoming a non-fiction writer realizing how hard it was to keep non-fiction writing interesting, it’s a skill that requires interest and passion for the craft, in which I don’t believe I have.
- Malcolm Gladwell gave a lot of case studies, which helped clear the ideas he was trying to explain more, in which I thought were very useful.
My Personal notes from the Masterclass :
These are the notes I jotted down on my notebook while attending the class/course.
- Structuring the Narrative (The Imperfect Puzzle):
He mentioned how it’s okay to not answer the main Question of the book.
“The Best arguments are the ones that are imperfect”.
– Puzzle has to be odd, done really well.
(What is interesting?) – The Major question, not perfect is interesting.
Neat and tidy is not the goal of the narrative.
– Try to number your sections – it helps solve the problem of transitions. Start a new paragraph, get back to it later.
- Hold your readers :
Sketch the theory and framework, give tools to follow along.
- Create a connection data:
Data is not boring, always connect it and give a reason to read the number.
- Cultivate Surprise.
- Invite readers to guess.
- Invite readers to identify themselves.
- Do loads of research – You would assumed that was a no-brainer, but he explained it well.
- Selecting the story : Look where you’ve looked before, Expand on the critical details, avoid first person problem (it raises people’s expectation)
- Test the idea itself: Tell it over and over again to different people.
- Find your subject’s authentic self.
- When interviewing, make it short.
- When writing about characters, you can use other people to describe him.
- Write sophisticated ideas using short sentences.
- Try to provoke deep, reflective emotion.
- Genuine sadness in rare, laughter is cheap.
- Grab the reader with your titles.
- Write as you research.
- Writer’s block – Just keep writing, lots of problems resolve in the doing.
- When reading read to discover intent – what did the author intended when he wrote it.
- learn to appreciate criticism.
- Try reconstructing a writer’s thought process.
In Conclusion :
I honestly had a hard time enjoying the Masterclass to some extent, I didn’t expect it to have loads of talking, and there was a lack of exercises to be done during the course, It felt very theoretical, I think it’s not meant for beginners in a way, but more like for someone who is already a non-fiction writer or a writer in general who wants to be on a higher skill level.
I found it a bit hard to stay focused at times, and it took me almost a week to watch all the videos, he’s a great teacher and I found him very charismatic, I just think the class wasn’t fore me.
Will I watch it again : Probably not, it was too technical for me, hopefully I will enjoy Neil Gaiman’s classes more.