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Sunday, April 01, 2012


Seven Insights I Learned About James Patterson

James Patterson is a successful and prolific bestselling author. Whether you've read all of his book or some of his books or none of his books, you can't help but admire his achievements in the world of publishing.

I love reading author profiles about other authors because of what I learn from it. It's one of the reasons I've interviewed and written about more than 150 bestselling authors over the years—I learn a great deal from the experience which I incorporate into my own writing life.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal published the article: James Patterson Tells Us Why His Books Sell Like Crazy by Lauren A.E. Schuker. I hope you will read the entire article. I'm going to pick up on seven insights I learned about James Patterson from this article.

1. The 65–year-old author works seven days a week. I noticed Patterson had been on the golf course that day but he mixes relaxation and work. It's significant to me Patterson works at his craft every day.

2. He is not stuck at a computer but uses paper and pencil. The description of his office notes that Patterson prefers a legal pad and pencil for his work. He is not alone in that habit.

3. Patterson collaborates with other authors. When he explains the writing process, it is clearly collaborative with other writers. He writes the outline then assigns the writer their task. I've noticed his books have many different co-authors yet they sound like they came from the same author. Why? Because…

4. He takes firm control of his storytelling rather than turning it over to a co-author. Yes, Patterson has created a publishing empire but he is firmly at the helm of it and working on the different aspects of his stories.

5. Rewriting is an integral part of the creative process. As he explained, “I'll do any number of outlines or re-writes on the pages. I've done as many as nine drafts of a book after the original comes in.”

6. Patterson has chosen to stay outside of New York and Hollywood. While intimately involved in the publishing world and Hollywood (his movies and TV from his books), he has selected to live in Florida.

7. He has experimented with other types of writing (nonfiction) but sticks with what he does best—fiction. Toward the end of the article, Patterson is asked about other forms of writing like plays or musicals or nonfiction. He has written nonfiction but stays with what works—fiction.

These are my seven insights that I learned about James Patterson. Maybe you picked up on some other details in the article. Which ones?

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3 Comment:

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Jon Guenther Left a note...

Great article. Thanks, Terry!

 
At 8:43 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Jon,

Thanks for the feedback. I hope it helps other writers to follow in James Patterson's footsteps.

Terry

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Lyndieb Left a note...

I continue to be amazed by the number and diversity of Patterson's writing. Thanks for the information.

 

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