The Genius of James Patterson And What You Can Learn From It

There is no doubt that James Patterson is one of the greatest writers of all time. All you have to do to confirm this is to look in any library and you will see his name there. He writes crime fiction and boy, his writing style is truly unique. Despite the fact that he has been called ‘a prostitute’ by many of his fellow writers for the fact that he releases tens of books every year by collaborating with little known authors, he will forever be remembered as one of the pillars of crime fiction.

But what makes his writing so powerful and so popular? And most importantly, what can you learn from him? If you ‘re intending on writing a novel or novelette then Keep reading!


1. Multiple perspectives


While reading the Alex Cross series, I was shocked at how graphic some of the novels were. Actually, no, I was not shocked at the graphic nature of his novels. I was shocked by the way in which he chose to tell the story: by using multiple perspectives, thus putting the reader in the shoes of Alex Cross, the detective, the killer and most importantly – the victims. 

The reason why the second novel of the series, Kiss the Girls, was so shocking for me was because the reader was placed in the shoes of the victims. The girls that were kidnapped and kept in an underground bunker were dragged out by the two killers and forced to wear dresses and perform for them. The winners of the contest were raped. Reading this scene alone is difficult for any reader because it is very well written and it does appeal to your emotional side, but reading it through the eyes of the victim is even more harrowing. This is an example of amazing talent. James Patterson is one of the few, very few authors that managed to make my skin crawl, which only validates his talent in writing for me.

The technique of multiple perspectives is one that James Patterson uses in most of his novels and one that is extremely effective in immersing the reader into the story. However, always remember to keep the main character in the spotlight. You can present the situation from other people’s perspective only when this is significant to the story. If you keep switching the perspective, the readers will no longer know who is the main character and it may confuse them. 

2. Developing characters that can die


This is a technique that many writers attempt to develop, but few master it. George R. R. Martin is the classic example. He creates believable characters that make the readers sit on the edge of their seats when one character is in a battle because they know that he can die. James Patterson does it too, more notably in Guilty Wives. The group of women that are having fun together seems to be quite pretty tight so you would never expect one of them to die in the prison they are locked up in after having been wrongly accused of murder.

If your characters have a cloak of immortality, whenever he or she goes through a battle, the readers will not be nervous because they know that he or she cannot die. They are just waiting for the character to win the battle. Put the characters into nasty situations and hurt them, to the point where they are barely conscious. Make them have feelings, be human, experience sadness, fear, anger, anything. Remember that the strongest elements of a story are the characters. If they are believable, your readers will fall for them head first.

Although many consider him to be an overrated author, I believe James Patterson is a genius. There are so many things you can learn from him in terms of character and plot development, you have no idea. If you haven’t already, pick up one of his novels. You will see, it will change your world and you will learn so much!