Salman Rushdie Masterclass Review

Published by: Julia

If you want to reach someone and connect with them tell them a story. They will buy from. Taking Salman Rushdie´s Masterclass is an excellent way to learn this craft.

Who is your instructor Salman Rushdie

Most of you will already know who Salman Rushdie is. After all, he published his first book in 1975. To date, he has had a total of 20 books published and has won several awards. Including The Booker Price in 1981. Salman is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, in the UK.

He is someone who has had to work hard to become successful. It took him 13 years to get his first book published. His aim is to play a role in making sure that your journey to becoming a successful storyteller is shorter than his was.

A lot of the skill of a writer comes from your understanding of who you are and what you need to say to the world.

Salman Rushdie – Storytelling Masterclass


Determine How to Tell Your Story

There are several ways to approach writing a book. Some people have to lay out the entire book plot before getting started. Others work best when they follow a less defined creative process.

How you approach it is up to you. Salman himself has changed how he writes as he has got older. In this section, he helps you to decide what is right for you.

Making sure that you have a story idea that can actually be written

Regardless, of how you decide to approach the writing process. You need to be sure that you know how you are going to tell the story. Salman shares 6 important questions that you need to have answers to before you sit down and actually start writing. Answering those questions and telling the story to yourself in your own mind, will help you to know for sure that you have a potential winner on your hands.

Flesh Out Your Story’s Structure

There is no doubt that Salman Rushdie is an amazing writer. I have greatly enjoyed reading many of his epic novels. Listening to him share his creative process was an experience I greatly enjoyed. But, sadly, his masterclass was not what I expected it to be. Looking at the title of this video I thought I was going to learn how to structure and flesh out the story or the characters. To gain an understanding of his process, perhaps a step-by-step guide.

In reality, what you get is a series of thoughts about writing. They are interesting, but most of them do not fit into the category of fleshing out a story´s structure. Or, at least I did not think that they did. However, having said that I did still learn a few things from this section of the course.

The worst thing you can do, as a writer, is to make the reader a kind of promise about the sort of story you are going to tell them. Then not tell them that kind of story.

Salman Rushdie – Masterclass.com

Opening Lines With Power

The opening lines of your novel tell the reader what they can expect from you. You are setting up their expectation, almost making a contract with them.

Salman´s advice is to think about what kind of book you are writing and make sure that your first sentence reflects that. You need to be saying to the readers, hello I am this kind of story, read me. Something that says – I am a romantic/sci-fi/historic novel. Plus, of course, you need to make that sentence interesting. You need to use it to draw the reader in.

The examples Salman shared illustrated what he meant really well. At this stage, I paused and tried some opening sentences for a couple of ideas I have had recently. I was surprised by how helpful what Salman Rushdie had said actually was.

How Salman Rushdie draws inspiration from other storytelling traditions

Most successful authors are very well-read themselves. There is no doubt that reading what others have written provides inspiration. You start to ask yourself how things would have turned out if something else had happened to a character. It is surprising where this leads you.

Salman Rushdie is inspired by many different kinds of stories. Including the Greek myths and middle Eastern folk tales like the Arabian Knights. This provides a fascinating insight into the way Salman thinks. Also, interesting is how oral storytelling traditions have impacted Salman´s approach to telling a story.

There are a lot of moments like this in the masterclass. Insights into how he works. There is no doubt that anyone who is a fan of Salman Rushdie will greatly enjoy taking this online writing course.

Conceiving and developing your characters

Salman dedicates four videos to this subject and I felt that he covered the subject quite well. It is broken down into the following sections:

  • Conceiving your characters
  • Developing your characters
  • Bringing characters to life
  • Revealing character
  • Setting as a character

It was refreshing to hear Salman say that you can write any character you want. You do not have to be a woman to be able to write female characters. He shares an example of how he researches people who live a completely different life from him.

Bringing your characters to life

It felt to me that Salman really warmed to this subject. He went through this section in a highly logical way and explained things in detail. For example, his section about bringing novel characters to life was great. He shares 7 or 8 simple things you can do to make them more real to you, so you can write them better. For example, asking yourself what clothes they wear, what their accent is, what morals they have, etc.

How to reveal a character to your reader

This was also an excellent section. As you can see here I have taken all of the masterclass.com writing courses. They have all been excellent and I have learned a lot from all of them. But the one big thing I had never thought much about before taking Salman Rushdie´s masterclass was how the type of narration used impacts the way the reader sees the character.

Why places are as important to your story as characters are

Salman Rushdie has lived in 3 different countries. He understands that every place impacts the people who live in it. The place someone lives in shapes who they are. He describes places in-depth and builds them up in the same way he would a character. In this section of his storytelling course, he explains how you can do the same. I took away several important points.

Tapping into your unique worldview

We all have our own picture of the world. You can and should tap into that when you write. Salman shows you how to do this, starting by sitting down quietly and thinking about how you see the world.

Writers are people who deeply examine their lives.

Salman Rushdie – Storytelling online course

How to broaden your horizons and become a better writer

But, you also have to be prepared to broaden your horizons, to take yourself out of your comfort zone. He recommends traveling and points out that you do not necessarily have to do it internationally. Going to a new place, any new place opens your eyes. His recommendation is to travel alone. As he says if you travel with someone else all you are doing is taking your world with you. He also recommends doing the following:

  • Training your eye to notice things – make a conscious effort to take things in when for example walking down the street.
  • Develop your ear – listen to how people speak and listening to the natural world.
  • Note down anything that captures your attention – Salman uses his phone.
  • Reobserve places and people that are familiar to you – ask yourself what would I notice and think of my home if I were to walk into it for the first time. As Salman says – try to make yourself like an alien that is seeing the world for the first time.
  • Use sound in your story – creating a soundscape can invoke all kinds of feelings in a reader.

How to develop your narrative style

This was an interesting section, but despite having been a writer myself for many years, I struggled a little to follow everything Salman was trying to teach me. Once again, it was a series of tips strung together rather than a logical process. I did learn a few things. For example, rewriting a scene from different perspectives.

Fans of Salman Rushdie will enjoy this section of his Masterclass. There were some fascinating insights into how he uses language. Including how he uses rhythm to convey emotion and engage the reader.

How to write a surrealist story

The thing about surrealism is that it is not an escape from the real. It is another way of describing the real.

Salman Rushdie – writing Masterclass

Salman has written many surrealistic novels. He explains how to get the balance right to ensure that you can take your readers with you into the world you have created for them. As well as how to create fantasy worlds and characters.

Salman Rushdie´s research tips for novelists

Most of the research tips that Salman shares here relate to writing historical novels. Although most of what he shares here can just as easily be applied to anything that you write. He mainly focuses on developing characters. Working out how someone from the past or a fantasy world would think, speak, and act.

His story about how Ian McKean went about researching how one of his characters would chop up a body is an interesting one. It is not at all what you are expecting.

Writing books is like an education that never ends. You are always trying to increase the sum of what you know so that you can use it.

Salman Rushdie teaches storytelling and writing Masterclass

Handling the relentless editing process

The editing process is one that many writers struggle with. Writing a novel is an organic process. You will be constantly adding and taking away from what you have written.

Initially, doing this is really hard, especially when you need to cut large chunks of what you have written. Or, worse, drop a character that is not working. But you soon learn that it is just the way things are.

Editing is an essential part of the creative process. Nonetheless, it was heartening to see that Salman did the same and useful to learn how he does it.

Editing and feedback: Having the confidence to share

Part of the editing process is sharing it with others. It does not matter how hard you try you are going to miss things or not be able to recognize when you have got something badly wrong. You are too invested in what you are doing to be completely objective.

That is why you need other people to help you. Showing something that you know is still a work in progress, is not perfect, to someone else is extremely hard. Salman explains how to :

  • Overcome the fear you feel when showing people your book
  • Choose the right person to read through what you have written
  • Avoid trying to influence the person who is reading your novel
  • Understand what you should do with the advice you get

Develop your relationship with writing

Writing is a skill that develops and evolves. It is not an easy course to follow. Salman explains some of the difficulties he had and how he overcame those issues. His take on how he views those periods of time where he has no idea what to do next is particularly interesting. He uses that time to explore, to think freely, and write without restraint. In time something sticks. You can´t stop thinking about it. Often, that is the seed of your next novel.

Books that Salman recommends for writers

Most successful writers read widely. The more eclectic your literally adventures are the more likely you are to find authors and stories that resonate with you. Salman shares with his student’s details of the many, many writers that have inspired him.

Useful Tips for Writers

Salman wraps everything up by offering his storytelling student 7 parting tips. I won´t tell you what they are – you will find out when you sign up for and take his masterclass.

But, what I will say is that there are some real golden nuggets in this section.

Salman Rushdie´s Storytelling Masterclass PDF free download

I enjoyed Salman Rushdie´s workbook. It is a thing of beauty. But much of the information in the course did not make it into the workbook. There are a couple of how-to sections and some assignments included. But, not that many.

Salman Rushdie´s Masterclass FAQs:

How long is Salman Rushdie´s masterclass?

It is 4 hours 17 mins long and is delievered across 19 videos.

How much is Salman Rushdie´s masterclass?

Salman Rushdie´s masterclass is available as part of the all-access pass.

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