Masterclass as a Research Tool

Hey, hey! New week, new words, right? The answer is yes.

Last year, I watched several Masterclasses. The first ones I watched were focused on writing, of course. I watched classes presented by James Patterson, Joyce Carol Oates, NK Jemison, Neil Gaiman, and a few others. They’re great. Highly recommend.

There are classes for a wide variety of subjects and professions, which brings me to the secondary use: research for creative writing projects.

Say I wanted to write a character who is a fashion designer. There’s a Marc Jacobs class, which I did actually watch. I learned about his profession, his career, how he approaches his work, his perspectives, and a bunch of other stuff, basically far more than you could learn from merely reading an interview or watching a one-off video.

I’m not saying that I’d use this to try and create personality clones, BUT to see how certain traits, goals, and talents work together can be helpful when you’re trying to write believable characters, especially if their career is a big focus.

One could also use the information to craft character arcs. The main character starts out missing what they need to succeed in their dream job, and throughout the story, they develop whatever they were missing at the beginning. Juicy, yes?

Needless to say, I have many notes about several professions.

Do any of my fellow writing humans have slightly less conventional research tools they like to use for their work?

2 comments

  1. I subscribed to master class for a year and watched all of the writing episodes, and it was really great. Actually, everything you’d ever want to know is on YouTube. I mostly use that now. That and I still like to go to the library.

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