Barkley Carver, World’s Most Prolific Hack Writer, Teaches the Craft

Become the Supervisor of Your Own Fiction Factory

Anyone can be an author. It doesn’t matter your age, academic background, or nationality, you have what it takes to write the great American novel.

Forget what you’ve heard. You don’t need to be born to successful writers with roots in New York or Los Angeles, you don’t need a knack for grammar, talent, or luck. You just need to learn the tricks of trade from a master of the craft.

Barkley Carver, pilot, and credited author of 15 books to debut on the New York Times bestsellers list, reveals his winning formula for franchise fiction (for the first time under his current pen name). In this online class, he guides you through every aspect of writing a serviceable novel, from finding cold cases to base your mysteries on to getting New York’s Department of Health to grant you access to the divorce records so you can see which publishers are on the rebound.

Video Tutorials

The curriculum includes a cinematic video series on the medium of writing. Laugh along with Carver, and the Paperback Players, as they improvise through 30 educational sketches (over 3 hours of infotainment). These skits cover topics like:

  • How to beat writer’s block with formula writing.
  • How to write a Mad Lib outline so you can reuse it later.
  • Why short chapters make readers feel smatter.
  • How to work your own madness into your serial killer thriller.
  • How to stretch the definitions of mental illnesses to justify your killer’s antics.
  • How a quick trip to the museum can upgrade your villain from a mere murderer to an  artisan assassin.
  • How to earn a second advance by fitting sponsored content into your fiction.
  • How to cut every aspect of your story that you can’t put on film.

And most importantly.

  • How to get your book published under a more successful author’s name.


The videos tie in with a Workbook/Daily Meditation/Dream Journal. This 40 page volume is teaming with assignments, writing prompts, and adult coloring designs. You’ll learn how to create character biographies, outline stories, write believable dialogue, and fill in the feathers of exotic birds.

As an added bonus, the header of every page feature quotes on the craft from Carver himself:

“If there’s a book that you’ve read that wasn’t very good, think of how you’d fix it, change the names, and shop it around.”

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No interest in the product placement by the writer, no purchase by the reader.”

“If you’re stuck, find inspiration for the next scene in your affiliate marketing.”

The Curriculum

The curriculum was painstakingly handcrafted by Barkley Carver’s assistant Matilda MacDonald. Here’s some examples of assignments MacDonald’s chosen.

Start With the Cover Art

Carver publishes at least 2 titles a month. He churns out books so fast his cover artists struggle to keep up. That’s why they’ve stored a cache of images for Carver to choose from before he starts writing.

You’ll be tasked with going through one of these cover art collections to find inspiration for your assignments. Your gallery is called Silhouettes of Men in Popped Collar Coats. It features evocative images of men looking out over cityscapes with their hands in their pockets, men running through pillars in Washington DC, and men entering foggy forests with their weapons drawn.

Name Your Hero to Fit the Title Scheme

Carver gives all his heroes last names with duel meanings. That way he can work their surnames into puns for his titles.

Carver took the idea for James Patterson who does this with his Alex Cross Novels: Cross Country, Cross the Line, Cross Kill, Cross-Dressing, and Totally Crossed Out.

Assuming that your hero’s first name is Jack, you’ll be tasked with choosing a last name you could build a series around. Something like Jack Seeker in Heat Seeker, or Jack Seeker in Seeker of the Truth, or Jack Seeker in Seeker, and Ye Shall Find.


Invaluable Wisdom

In addition to assignments and adult coloring patterns, the workbook is also filled with reading materials. Carver gets candid about the craft. Here’s some examples of Carver shooting from the hip with his writing tips.

Quantity Over Quality 

Carver runs his fiction factory like a well-oiled assembly line. He doesn’t strain his brain over each sentence.

You’ll learn how to cast stock characters like angry police chiefs, creepy autopsy doctors, black partners, and wives. This will give you more time to work on important things like your killer’s back story, your detectives one-liners, the climactic chase sequence, and earning a pilot’s license in your spare time (Carver also happens to be a certified flight instructor).

Carver will teach you the efficient art of choosing stock phrases to keep scenes moving “There’s no time,” draw out cheap emotion “I’ll never let you go,” and punctuate the action “Let’s never do that again.”

Carver always says, “If a line of dialogue sounds so familiar you think you might’ve stolen it from somewhere put it in.”

On Motivating Your Hero

According to Christopher Booker there are only seven basic plots:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Carver has made his fortune on Overcoming the Monster with a vengeance. Carver’s rogues gallery of serial killers, The Axeman, The Whittler, and The Pyramid Schemer, have infiltrated his readers nightmares, but the measure of every good villain is a hero with an equally compelling motivation.

That’s why Carver always kills his heroes’ wives and daughters (never sons). Here’s a snippet from the chapter How to Casually Gloss Over Violence Against Women to Motivate Your Male Hero to Seek Vengeance.

“The chip on your hero’s shoulder should be a headstone, because wrathful widowers make great action stars. Domestic deaths always make hard hearted heroes sympathetic. If you need to give your hero an excuse to use a hammer in an enhanced interrogation scene, just preface with a quick flashback of his marital bliss before his life turned to shit, then it’s hammer time.”


What writing class would be complete without personally-stamped feedback from the author himself? Submit your manuscript for peer review and Carver might just get back to you.


“Carver’s bestseller formula has saved me so many long hours bashing my head against the desk and freed me up to spend more time working on my pilot’s license.”

-Dwight Hanson, Student Pilot

“After taking Carver’s class I started a lucrative career writing product placement into feature films.”

-Alan Smithee, screenwriter/director

“By the time the last lesson was over I was cured of my obsession with trying to write a bestseller. Thank you Barkley Carver!”


Final Pitch

If you’ve been bitten by the bestseller bug let Barkley Carver nurture your wound with his Masterclass on the craft.


I hope you got a laugh out of this little mock advertisement. Barkley Carver is one of a handful of characters appearing in my forthcoming novella The Devil You Don’t Know (working title).

The story is about a bestselling author, Barkley Carver, who hires a ghost writer to develop an idea he got from a paranormal encounter. Carver claims he saw a demon in the fantasy suites of the Orville Hotel. Our heroine, Noel Blackwood, finds herself sequestered in the room Carver stayed in. When Blackwood encounters a similar apparition she decides to take Carver’s tale in another direction, one that promises to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.

Expect to see more excerpts, posts, and art related to The Devil You Don’t Know in the not too distant future.

3 thoughts on “Barkley Carver, World’s Most Prolific Hack Writer, Teaches the Craft”

  1. Figured it out when I got to the comment from Alan Smithee. Anyone famous wouldn’t need feedback from such a well known fictional character who’s name is invoked when a director doesn’t want to be associated with his own work.

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