Honing your craft is one of the most important things you can do as an author. And when it comes to sharpening my writing skills, MasterClass is one of my go-to solutions.
I recently decided to check out Judy Blume’s MasterClass, and I’ve written a review with my thoughts on what it covers and whether it’s worth the money.
Before I get started, I want to give you a heads up that some of the links here are affiliate links. That helps me keep the lights on and the coffee flowing so I can keep learning and sharing what I learn with you. Of course, it didn’t affect my review or the verdicts I’ll share here.
What is MasterClass?
If you’ve seen one of my previous MasterClass reviews, you’re probably familiar with MasterClass and how it works. If not, we’ll go over it briefly here.
MasterClass offers online courses taught by people who are masters in their field — like Neil Gaiman, for instance, or Gordon Ramsey. Ever wondered how to debone a chicken? Ramsey can teach you that.
There’s something uniquely exciting about learning how to cook or write or even sing from an individual who is a major success in their field. You know the information is true, accurate, and coming from an authority.
What does it cost? You can get a MasterClass All-Access Pass at $180 for a year of access. That works out to $15/month, though it’s billed annually as one $180 payment.
With the All-Access Pass, you can take as many MasterClass courses as you want from any instructors on the site.
It’s also possible to give these courses as a gift.
You can take a look at the selection available here, and browse classes from Christina Aguilera, Aaron Sorkin, Joyce Carol Oates, Gordon Ramsey, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster and more. Are you excited yet?
Now that we’ve covered MasterClass in general, let’s talk more specifically about Judy Blume’s course.
Take a look at her full course here, and then I’ll break down what’s inside.
Who Is Judy Blume?
Judy Blume is an award-winning author of children’s books, young adult fiction, and adult fiction. Some of her best-known books are Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Smart Women. She’s an accomplished, prolific author who has wowed children, teens and adults alike with her soul-searching writing style.
With over ninety literary awards under her belt, it’s fair to say she’s an experienced author with a lot to share.
You can take a look at her credentials in the screengrab I captured below, straight from the MasterClass workbook.
Will You Benefit From the Course?
If you’re an author of children’s books, yes, you’ll definitely benefit from this course, but I’d go as far as to say that you’d benefit from it no matter what genre of fiction you’re writing in. This course isn’t so much about teaching you “how to write,” but about showing you what Judy Blume has learned over the course of her writing career.
Her motto through all of this is, “Don’t give up.” And that’s something every author or writer needs to hear at least once a week. Actually, make that once a day.
If you’re writing nonfiction, however, this course probably isn’t going to give you a lot of information that’s worth using for your books.
My Review of Judy Blume’s MasterClass
Judy Blume’s MasterClass contains:
- 24 classes from Judy Blume herself. She covers topics like finding ideas, crafting a plot, creating characters, nuggets of wisdom from Judy’s own life and childhood, writing process, case studies in dialogue, writing, ideas, and so much more. You can access these classes wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection.
- Lessons that are 5 to 25 minutes long.
- A workbook with assignments to complete and share in the forums for review from your peers.
- Case studies to review.
Everything in the course comes at that $180 per year price tag.
What I Loved About Judy Blume’s MasterClass
How can I express the ways in which I loved this course? It was both whimsical and grounded, if that’s possible at all.
- Judy’s honesty and positivity. What an amazing instructor! Judy is honest, vibrant and such a natural storyteller (go figure, ha). It’s a pleasure to listen to her explain her process and provide little tips that are actionable for writers. She talks a lot about her stories and how she came up with the ideas, how she crafted characters, and how she told those stories. She places a heavy emphasis on truth and emotional experiences and that’s easy to connect with and to understand.
- The workbook! It’s over forty pages long and packed with information (great for revision after you’ve taken specific classes) and assignments that you can complete and share with others. It’s a great resource for learning.
- The Idea Case Studies. I particularly enjoyed the Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret idea review and how she chose the stories to tell. A lot of these ideas were topics or themes close to Judy’s heart. They were questions she had when she was younger, and it was amazing to learn about how she turned those ideas and themes into books. Wow.
- Writing For Younger Readers. I’m by no means a children’s book author, so I was equal parts dubious and excited to learn more about how Judy writes for younger readers—is it possible that I could learn something from this? Absolutely, yes. It was awesome to learn about tapping into the younger version of myself. I think this part of the course will really spark ideas for children’s book authors.
- Judy’s Writing Process. Who wouldn’t want to learn about a successful author’s writing process? Judy dropped some insider information on how she writes her stories. It’s fairly simple, but it involves one particular item: her notebook. Her process is different from mine, and I found it interesting that Judy insisted she needed that notebook for security when writing. Her process sparked something for me—how to get over the fear of facing the blank page each morning.
- Price. With all the information provided in this course, I truly believe it’s well worth the money.
She covers so much more than what I’ve listed here, classes about dialogue and plot creation and case studies. I loved every lesson.
What I Didn’t Love
There wasn’t much I didn’t like about this course. It was fascinating to learn more about writing for younger readers, and even how to craft a plot from such a successful author. I’ve already heaped praise on the course, so let’s talk about what I didn’t love about this course.
- Not for indie authors. Most of the MasterClass writing courses are geared toward traditionally published authors. It’s just a fact you’ll have to deal with if you’re an independent author. Judy is relaying her information and experiences, and they are not from the independent authoring world. I would have liked a mention of self-publishing in the course—just a nod that if you’re not interested in submitting to literary agents (there’s a Submission lesson) you can publish your book yourself.
- Community. I’ve mentioned this previously in the Aaron Sorkin MasterClass Review, but it stands for this course too. I feel like MasterClass needs to work on how the community connects, especially now that we’re going through such strange and trying times.
My Verdict: Is Judy Blume’s MasterClass Right for You?
I can think of just two reasons you might not want to take Judy Blume’s MasterClass: you’re a nonfiction writer or you’re not at all interested in learning more about the writing process. Given that you’re reading this article, it’s fair to say you are interested in learning more about being a successful author.
Listening to Judy Blume was comfortable and informative. She set me at ease and taught me about her process, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. I would highly recommend this course for fiction writers.
And if you’re interested in writing for young readers, when you sign up for Judy Blume’s MasterClass, you’ll get access to R.L. Stine’s MasterClass, too.
Ready to take Judy Blume’s MasterClass and learn from this master children’s author what it takes to write and publish your stories?
Have you taken Judy Blume’s MasterClass? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.
For this writing practice, let’s go back in time . . . turn back the clock to when you were a child and consider issues that you had when you were younger. Let’s take some inspiration from Judy Blume!
Write a scene that focuses on you when you were either a teen or a child, including an event that’s memorable to you and that presented a problem and elicited an emotional response. Be sure to focus on dialogue!