About this Course
4.5
878 ratings
253 reviews
Specialization
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100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 12 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish
Specialization
100% online

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 12 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Hours to complete
3 hours to complete

Discovering Characters from Your Life and Elsewhere

What happens in the writer's mind before any words are written on the paper? Characters then reveal themselves through conflict and drama. Without conflict there is no purpose to the story. We then discuss desire. Human beings want things, even when we don't really know what it is we wish for. Finally, we conclude the module like Michelangelo, chipping away everything that is not the masterpiece statue of David. Learn to find what is germane to the story you are telling by looking closely at the character....
Reading
5 videos (Total 34 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
The Conflict Within (Shop Talk with Brando Skyhorse)8m
Desire and Goals8m
Hearing, Selecting, and Seeing6m
Feedback Expectations for the Specialization2m
Reading2 readings
A Note on Assignments10m
Promo Codes10m
Week
2
Hours to complete
3 hours to complete

Creating Characters on the Page

Here, we delve deeper into the characters. What is their physical description, and how can we describe them through action? How do they speak? What makes me want to read about them? When your characters need help or understanding, or even rescuing, this draws the reader in, far more than likability. Finally, we discuss how the plot reveals the inner life of characters through what they do as well as say....
Reading
4 videos (Total 35 min), 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Voice6m
Making Them Matter to the Reader (with Visiting Writer Dani Shapiro)12m
The Story Reveals Who We Are (Shop Talk with Salvatore Scibona)8m
Week
3
Hours to complete
2 hours to complete

Dialogue and Monologue

How do we lead a reader to a world that feels real? Narrators have an attitude, towards subjects and audience, about the world and its events. We discuss in this module considerations involved in planning for these realities, including the differences between first and third person and the construction of dialogue with verisimilitude - the feel of real life - while stripping away the tedium. We ask what idiosyncrasies your characters possess and how to control them to advance the narrative....
Reading
4 videos (Total 28 min), 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Picking Your Point of View (Shop Talk with Amity Gaige)8m
Conversation's Greatest Hits6m
Idiosyncrasies5m
Week
4
Hours to complete
2 hours to complete

Set Your Characters Free.. and Give Them Somewhere to Go

In this module, we reflect on how our readers learn about our characters - and how we as writers do, as well. We ask questions about who is telling the story, why, and with what goal. We conclude the course with a conversation about the narrator and, distinctly, the narrative, to see how they shape the reader's perception of character and story....
Reading
4 videos (Total 27 min), 1 quiz
Video4 videos
The Relationship Between the Character and the Wide World (with Visiting Writer Valerie Martin)10m
Voice of Narrator6m
Voice of Narrative5m
4.5
253 ReviewsChevron Right
Career direction

29%

started a new career after completing these courses
Career Benefit

42%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By SSAug 11th 2016

I loved this course! Extremely useful and hands on. The course instructor was really impressive, both informative and empathetic, both arty and to the point. Totally admired her style of instruction.

By NDAug 8th 2016

Excellent teaching, be aware the meat of this course is in the interviews. If you read and watch them then the assignments are self-explanatory. The discussion boards were however a disappointment.

Instructor

Avatar

Amy Bloom

Distinguished University Writer in Residence and Director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing

About Wesleyan University

At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit. ...

About the Creative Writing Specialization

This Specialization covers elements of three major creative writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. You will master the techniques that good writers use to compose a bracing story, populated with memorable characters in an interesting setting, written in a fresh descriptive style. You will analyze and constructively evaluate peer writing. In the Capstone, you will draft, rewrite, and complete a substantial original story in the genre of your choosing. Our courses are designed for anyone from the aspiring short story writer to established novelist. Whether you have a finished novel sitting on your desk calling for a fresh look or have had the germ of an idea for a decade, this Specialization gives you tools to achieve your goal. Through 4 courses focused on a key aspect of writing, and taken in any order you choose, you will develop a stronger ability to not only refine your writing, but critique writing in general and find inspiration in the works you are already reading. Thanks to our sponsors, upon completion of their first assignment, learners in each course will receive up to an 80% discount from Write-Bros and a 30% discount off their first purchase from Scrivener to use on their writing software. Additionally, learners who complete an assignment will receive 30% off membership at the online writing community Scribophile. For more information about our partners, see the FAQ below....
Creative Writing

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.