Learn Thriller Writing from David Baldacci

MasterClass is excited to announce its newest class launch, David Baldacci Teaches Mystery and Thriller Writing. The class is officially live HERE and available for full access today.

In 18 lessons, bestselling thriller author David Baldacci teaches you how he fuses mystery and suspense to create pulse-pounding action. David Baldacci has captivated readers across the world with gripping, suspense-fueled thrillers.

Now the New York Times–bestselling author of 38 novels shares his techniques for crafting authentic characters, developing research-based plots, and navigating the world of publishing.

Learn how to write a novel with red herrings, clues, and plot twists that will keep your readers turning the pages. 

The cool thing about MasterClass is you can purchase an all-access pass for one year for $180. That means you have access to 60+ instructors and their videos and other content!

Baldacci’s class by itself is $90. I would heartily encourage you to get the all-access pass so you can dive into other great writers’ courses—like Margaret Atwood’s and James Patterson. I’ve taken Patterson’s class and also Steve Martin’s class on comedy. That was terrific. Check out these writers HERE.

Check out the lesson plan for Baldacci’s class. Here are just some of the things he shares with you:

Finding the Idea

You want to write—but how do you find your idea? David walks you through his daily practice of looking at the world through what he calls the “writer’s prism.”

Research Methods and Sources

Firsthand research brings depth and breadth to your story. David discusses why he recommends visiting locations in person, talking directly to people, and creating a battle plan.


David shows you how he writes outlines, emphasizing that it is an ever-evolving process. I’m a huge fan of outlining!

Constructing Chapters

The first chapter of your book should be a touchstone. David talks about how to open with a “big pop” and how to reference that opening in the rest of your chapters.

Pacing, Tension, and Suspense

How do you keep readers on the edge of their seats? David shares how he builds suspense, using such strategies as red herrings, plot twists, cliffhangers, and a ticking clock.

Creating Compelling Characters

David describes the tools he uses to create compelling characters: Expect your characters to change, allow them to have flaws, and give equal importance to your sidekicks and antagonists.

Writing Action

Action in your story can reveal information about a location, someone’s motivation, and someone’s special skills. David explains how you can use choreography and pacing to maximize the impact of your story’s action.

MasterClass is a superb site that gives you quality instruction from some of the best in various fields. You can also take cooking classes from Wolfgang Puck, music classes (how about film scoring from Hans Zimmer!), even learn how to play basketball from Steph Curry!

I hope you’ll take some time to peruse the courses. It’s money well spent! I am going to take Baldacci’s class next month for sure. I’m excited because I’m writing a thriller right now and need all the help I can get.

Have you taken any of the MasteClass courses? If so, which ones? Did you learn some cool things? Share in the comments.


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