In this N.K. Jemisin MasterClass review, I will share my experience of learning this course and if it is worth taking for aspiring fantasy and science fiction writers.
Readers who have followed me for a long already know about my passion for writing.
That’s why after taking courses of Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and Dan Brown’s MasterClass, I couldn’t resist another writing MasterClass course to have more skills in my writing arsenal.
This 4-hour writing course by N.K. Jemisin clearly states what steps to take if you are about to write your first fantasy and science fiction story.
The best part?
It tells you how to become a successful fantasy and fiction writer while avoiding the “cliché” steps.
But is it worth it for you if you are a beginner? Or if you are just a passive writer?
To answer your questions, I’m here to share my experiences with this course.
Also, to break down everything to know if it is worth taking it.
A Quick Summary Of N.K. Jemisin MasterClass
In a hurry? Check out my quick review cum summary of N.K. Jemisin MasterClass review.
What you’ll learn: steps to write a successful fantasy and science fiction, how to build your characters, story, and everything in fiction writing.
Course duration: 4 hours and 2 minutes with an average of 10 minutes per lesson.
Recommendation: 9/10, best for fantasy and Sci-Fi writers. I loved how much value this course provides for any aspiring writer. Therefore, 100% recommended to those who love writing and the fantasy and science fiction genre.
About Nora Keita Jemisin
If you are here, then most probably you might already know N.K. Jemisin.
But let’s have a quick overview of her career and know why she is one of the best fantasy and science fiction authors.
Nora Keita Jemisin aka N.K. Jemisin has 20+ years of combined experience in writing.
She started her journey writing short stories in the early 2000s.
However, her first novel was The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, launched in 2010 and won the Sense of Gender Award while being nominated for the Crawford and many more awards.
Apart from this, another prominent work that got N.K Jemisin recognition is The Broken Earth Trilogy, which won Locus Award and the Hugo Award.
The latest novel by her, The City We Became, was published in 2020. She has also been working to take her The Broken Earth Trilogy to the big screen, which led her to earn seven figures.
And with these many awards, recognition, and written masterpieces, I was hopeful about her masterclass course.
If you are a first-time learner of this course, I assure you that you will learn from one of the best fantasy and science fiction authors.
N.K. Jemisin MasterClass Review: Is It Worth It?
Now, it is time to unfold this review in detail.
However, let’s know first what this MasterClass promise in the beginning.
What does this MasterClass promise?
This MasterClass offers the best guidance on writing fantasy and science fiction.
However, to make it more precise, here is what this MasterClass promises you to get by the end of it:
- How to write a fantasy world from scratch
- Build characters and your own story
- Know the “key element” of your account and how to develop through your world
- Become a successful professional writer and ready to publish your debut novel novel
Even if you do not aspire to be a professional novelist or writer and are learning to boost your writing skill, this course is one of the best.
Jemisin started her writing career in the early 2000s by writing short stories and developed her first award-winning novel in 2010.
However, she also studied Psychology and even worked as a college counselor.
That means she has a world of experience through her studies and writing experiences, and she knows what is a “great” piece of work backed by her 20+ years of experience in the publishing industry.
And you, as a writer, can surely benefit yourself by learning the steps and implementing those tactics to create another masterpiece.
How much does N.K. Jemisin’s MasterClass cost?
The N.K. Jemisin MasterClass does not come with a per-course cost.
Instead, it comes with the MasterClass subscription plan.
That means you must buy the MasterClass membership to access this and other courses on the MasterClass.
Fortunately, MasterClass has three-tier plans, making it affordable to different learners.
The three-tier MasterClass cost is:
- Individual Plan ($180 per year) – $15 per month average
- Duo Plan ($240 per year) – $20 per month average
- Family Plan ($276 per year) – $23 per month average
Now, let’s understand which plan will suit which type of learner.
1. Individual Plan
Formerly known as the Standard plan, MasterClass individual plan costs $180 annually, perfect for an avid individual learner.
I also have this membership of MasterClass, and therefore, I recommend it to any individual learner who wants to begin their journey with MasterClass courses.
2. Duo Plan
As the name suggests, the MasterClass duo plan is slightly better than the individual plan for couples or learners who want to get MasterClass access two devices simultaneously under one account.
The duo plan costs $240 annually, averaging $20 monthly.
3. Family Plan
The family plan is the costliest one available at MasterClass, and it provides access to courses on up to six different devices under one account.
You get all the features, such as downloading MasterClass courses offline to watch when not connected to the internet, workbook material, etc.
To learn more about MasterClass pricing, you can check my detailed guide on MasterClass Cost here.
However, to decide which plan to choose, you can select as per your learning requirements.
For instance, I complete one or two courses in one month through MasterClass. That means I finish around 24 courses per year.
Therefore, my cost for MasterClass comes down to even less than $10 per month.
Similarly, you can choose your learning requirements (considering the number of devices you want to access) and thus choose a plan.
Complete Breakdown Of N.K. Jemisin MasterClass
It’s time for the main showdown!
Here’s what the N.K. Jemisin MasterClass holds for you.
The whole N.K. Jemisin course is 4 hours and 2 minutes runtime divided into 16 lessons.
The average runtime of each video lesson is around 10 to 15 minutes, making you complete at least one class per day, even on your busiest days.
When you enroll in the course, you get the lesson plan as follows:
- Meet Your Instructor: N.K. Jemisin
- Elements of Worldbuilding
- Macro-worldbuilding Exercise: Build Your World
- Micro-worldbuilding: Conceiving the Culture and People
- Micro-worldbuilding: Power Dynamics and Cultural Appropriation
- Worldbuilding: Inventing Science and Magic
- Worldbuilding: Research
- Immersing Your Reader: Choosing a POV
- The Psychology of Characters
- Forget the Rugged Individual ArchetypeThe Hierarchy of Characterization: Demographics, Outer Life, and Inner Life
- The Hierarchy of Characterization: The Character Arc
- How to Publish Your Book: Seeking Publication
- How to Find a Literary Agent
- Surviving the Literary Marketplace
- Writing While Marginalized
So, these 16 lessons carry out everything that N.K. Jemisin had to teach. Now, let’s unfold each section by going through lesson summaries.
Starting from the introduction of N.K. Jemisin, the MasterClass begins with steps to build your fantasy world.
And I liked this thing about this course from the very start. The course focuses on niche learnings (people writing a piece will find it a plus point).
However, if I had to summarize the learnings of the whole course, then here is how I will be doing it:
- Building your fantasy world
- Developing characters for that world
- Writing career advice for your written work
Start of Lesson
The lesson starts well with the comments of N.K. Jemisin on fantasy world and the work behind it.
She tells how you can build your fantasy world from scratch.
She emphasizes knowing and building the nitty-gritty details of your fiction world before writing it.
And this is what I found the best about this course. It doesn’t matter how small the details are; Jemisin tries to unfold them for you so that you can prevent all those mistakes while creating your novel.
Furthermore, she explains you have to know “all the minutia,” such as how a person gets up every day, what clothes they put on, and even how they brush their teeth.
The ultimate goal is to provide precise detailing in your fantasy world writing, which helps you understand the fictional world.
With this much detail, you understand your world at micro and macro levels before you can start making your characters interact.
After providing all the details and how to start from scratch, she explains the tools to help you build your engaging science fiction and world.
Middle of Course
Lessons 1 to 7 establishes the world and teach you the basics.
It starts with creating a story as a novelist or fiction writer. Even just after two lessons, you will find an exercise.
And this makes this course gain another plus point because it makes you implement what you learn immediately after the lessons.
However, the middle part of the course (lessons 8 to 11) is mostly about practicing character development.
And once you are at this level, of course, you are already halfway through it.
Jemisin talks about choosing the right point of view, knowing demographics, and creating a character arc.
In lesson 11, Jemisin takes you through the Character Pyramid Model to make you understand character building from the bottom-up method.
The ending of Lessons
Once you have gone through the learnings for building your fantasy world and the characters for it, lesson 12 to 16 mainly focuses on helpful advice for aspiring writers like you.
She describes her journey and makes you understand the working of the industry.
Such as, she explains how to make a writing career and go beyond simply writing “The Best Novel” to become famous instantly.
She emphasizes hard work.
And explains why it is harder for marginalized groups.
But in the end, she also explains that a writing career is not impossible and shares some important advice that will be useful for aspiring writers like you and me.
Like any other MasterClass course, this MasterClass also comes with a supplemental PDF workbook, which you can download.
The 34-page workbook is extremely helpful, and I found it quite informative, apart from the video lessons.
One of the best parts about the workbook is the assignments it takes you through to practice what you have learned.
Some of the essential assignments were:
- Develop a new character by using N.K.’s pyramid model
- Try out different methods to hook a reader
- Writing from the perspective of a child
- How to remain safe if and when your profile grows
- Creating a compelling scenario by pairing a New York landmark with one of several writing prompts
And there are many more.
Therefore, overall, I rate this workbook 4/5 stars because it has one of the most engaging and interactive materials, which makes you practice and learn.
For instance, I loved Jemisin’s pyramid model and understood the concept so well that I’m currently using it in my writing piece for my story.
The Community Hub Review
Like the supplemental material you get with every course, you also get a community of learners on MasterClass under each course.
You can put your doubts, questions and seek feedback from the peer learners on the community page.
The best part is that you can even engage with the other peer learners to seek feedback on your assignment or written content, making it one of the best features of MasterClass.
You can even put your questions or doubts about the course directly to the instructors and on the community page.
What I Learned From This MasterClass: 5 Key Takeaways
I say this to very few courses but N.K. Jemisin MasterClass course is one of my favorites in the writing masterclasses category.
Because it has so many learnings, a writer can use it to create a masterpiece from scratch.
However, if I had to sum up what I learned from this course, then here are my personal five key takeaways from this course:
1. Worldbuilding is the foundation to establish your science fiction and fantasy writing
When writing science fiction and fantasy novels, one of the prominent steps is to give importance to world-building.
Even though your world is in fantasy, it should feel real and lived by the readers. Only then your characters and plot can thrive.
You can even use real-life world ideas to make them more familiar to your readers.
2. Don’t run after clichés
The second most important lesson that I learned is to avoid replicating stereotypes and cliches.
Instead of running after what other writers have already written, make your true representation of the story.
And that will help you win people over.
The main point is to avoid taking something that already exists and relabeling it. Instead, be bold and dare to create something new on your own.
3. Find the “Element X” of your story.
An element X makes your fantasy world different from ours and will contribute to making your story successful.
It can be anything from making magic exist to a story in the future.
The element X will make your story different and unique, eventually making people like it if you follow this rule with other methods.
4. The identity development tool is powerful.
The pyramid model and other tools that Jemisin has discussed in this MasterClass are just outstanding.
As I said, I implemented those things in my own writing process, and I can confidently say that this is a mind-blowing tactic.
Therefore, if you want to become a professional writer, this course has ‘gem’ lessons and learnings to help create a masterpiece.
5. Try, Try, Try, and Try!
Last but not least, one of the career advice for aspiring writers who want to become professional writers or build their career out of writing, this course details how much you have to put your hard work in, especially for marginalized people.
One of the significant lessons I learned is to keep trying until you break in.
It doesn’t matter how hard it is; you must keep trying to be recognized as a successful writer.
It may be possible that you won’t sell your first book, but that doesn’t mean you give up after that.
Instead, work harder and make a comeback until your story doesn’t break in.
What I Think Can Be Improved
Although there is hardly any issue with the course considering the lessons for science fiction and fantasy writers.
But, overall, I believe certain things could be improved as per my personal experience.
The course is designed so that a niche learner or niche writer will find it impressive.
But on the other hand, for beginners, the course has overwhelming concepts.
Therefore, this course is not that suitable for complete beginner learners.
However, many parts of the course have learnings that can benefit a new writer.
For example, the pyramid model for character development can be understood easily so that even a beginner can implement that.
But as a learner, we cannot rely on the nit-picking learnings. Therefore, in this area, I believe there could be improvement.
However, there is good news for new learners or beginner writers!
The good news is that MasterClass has many more beginner-friendly writing courses to help you start writing.
Similarly, there are many more creative writing courses that you can check out on the MasterClass writing course page.
This course is quite term-heavy, and for a beginner or novice writer, it might be
Pros And Cons Of N.K. Jemisin MasterClass
- Learn from one of the most prolific science fiction and fantasy authors
- Get to learn about detailed steps for writing a masterpiece
- Various techniques for building a fantasy world
- Multiple exercises
- Supplemental material for additional info
- Practical advice on a writing career
- One of the best writing courses for aspiring authors
- Less suited to beginners in science fiction and fantasy writing
- A lot of terminologies
Is N.K. Jemisin’s MasterClass worth the money?
So, the ultimate question is whether or not this MasterClass is worth it.
Well, the answer is yes, 100%.
But for those who are in science fiction and fantasy writing.
The course is specifically designed for niche learners and includes some heavy terminologies and concepts that a beginner or non-niche learner may find overwhelming.
However, at the same time, the course has so much to make you learn that, as an aspiring writer, you will find this course a ‘gem.’
Thanks to Jemisin, she reveals many truths about her career as a writer apart from unfolding the tactics and secret sauces of a great novel.
Therefore, considering the learnings, tactics, and experience that Jemisin has shared in this course, it is one of the best MasterClass courses in 2023 for an aspiring writer.
You can watch the trailer of the course to know what it holds for you:
Who Is This Course For?
The course is designed for beginner+ writers who want to create their own stories.
And therefore, it is suitable to:
- Professional writers seeking learnings to improve their story
- An experienced writer seeking some more skills before getting published
- Any writer who wants to enhance character-writing techniques
- A writer with a keen interest in science fiction and fantasy writing
- A fan of Jemisin’s advice and her method of writing
As I mentioned, experienced writers are more likely to get the most out of this course.
However, the course also contains some excellent advice for new or beginner writers who want to improve their skills and look forward to becoming great writers.
Hence, if you fall under any of the above categories, you should take this MasterClass course. It’s 100% worth taking in 2023.
Alternatives to N.K. Jemisin MasterClass
I have already mentioned the best course pairs that you can match with this course.
However, there are many more courses that you can opt for later on completing this one.
Here are some of the best writing courses after N.K. Jemisin’s.
- James Patterson Teaches Writing
- Amanda Gorman Teaches Poetry
- Aaron Sorkin Teaches Screenwriting
- Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination
- Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing
- Dan Brown Teaches Writing Thrillers
- Walter Mosley Teaches Fiction And Storytelling
And many more courses are waiting for you if you are an avid learner.
You can check out the whole catalog of courses from the MasterClass courses page.
FAQs About N.K. Jemisin MasterClass
You can download N.K. Jemisin MasterClass for free if you have a MasterClass duo plan. After that, only you can download N.K Jemisin MasterClass for free.
There is no individual course cost or pricing on the MasterClass. You need to access this course and others with a MasterClass subscription plan.
There are currently three-tier plans available on MasterClass – the individual, duo, and family plans, which cost $180 per year, $240 per year, and $276 per year, respectively.
Yes, the course content of N.K. Jemisin MasterClass is unique and follows a detailed curriculum to take you through various learnings for building your own fantasy and science fiction writing.
Do I Recommend This MasterClass?
Now we are at the verdict of this N.K. Jemisin MasterClass review, and with my fantastic experience of this course, I can confidently say that it is 100% worth it.
Any aspiring professional writer or writer with a keen interest in science fiction and fantasy writing will find this course as one of the premium courses.
Thanks to Jemisin for her practical advice on writing career and steps to take for writing a fiction and science fiction story from scratch.
If you are an aspiring science fiction and fantasy writer, don’t miss this chance. Get this ‘gem’ course right now!
You won’t regret it for sure!