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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Creative Writing: The Craft of Character by Wesleyan University

4.5
1,078 ratings
307 reviews

About the Course

At the center of a good story are the characters in it. In this course aspiring writers will discover how to build and bring to life complex, vivid and unforgettable characters. We will study the choices a writer makes to bring all characters to life on the page, and we will perform written exercises in order to develop a variety of writing and pre-writing techniques, in order to create a variety of characters. We will learn how to use our own life experiences, and the people we know (and how not to!). We will develop inner (thoughts and feelings) and outer (appearance, habits, behavior) lives for our characters and see how that can lead us to richer and more interesting stories. We will breathe life into our characters and let them surprise us....

Top reviews

SS

Aug 11, 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.

ND

Aug 08, 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.

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276 - 300 of 301 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Character

By Nathan B

May 15, 2018

I found most of the assignments very confusing and difficult to complete. It is a real challenge and forces you to really think, think hard and hope for the best. If you take the course, good luck.

By sanika s

May 10, 2019

A very interesting course, provided great insights into the in-depth process of creating character. The assignments were challenging and the peer feedback was very beneficial. I just wish the course focused more on the technicalities involved in character creation. Many of the points raised in each module felt repetitive. More energy and engagement from the main instructor would also have been helpful. Overall a perfectly satisfactory course that really got me writing. Thank you to the instructor and all the guest writers for their time and effort.

By Dominique S

May 14, 2019

The information provided is great, but there's so many "shop talks" aka interviews with other Coursera instructors that it misses out on so many possible true lessons.

By judy t

Aug 02, 2019

I would have given this course 5 stars except for the grading. The only reviewers of your work are fellow students. Some of them do a good job telling you what they liked about the writing and some do not just answering "yes or no" to questions asked. It would be nice if a TA or other students actually in the writing courses at Wesleyan read your work. I have learned a lot and I have liked the assignments but that is where the value has stopped. I know there are too many students for the faculty to grade or even read our work but it would be much more valuable if we really knew how we are doing. The discussion board is sporadically attended and really of no value. Feedback is important in writing and this is the part of these courses that is missing.

By Davide P

Sep 26, 2019

Has been a great course but I would have loved more readings and a little bit more formal rules to sketch our own characters.

By Jamaluddin K

Nov 06, 2019

The lectures were informative, but the end-of-week assignments were VERY poorly explained, generally had little to do with the week's lectures, and to add insult to injury had grading criteria that did not correspond with the points that were laid out in the instructions.

By Paul C

Oct 29, 2018

Was really looking forward to this section but felt it was lacking in content.

Too many interviews which were full of quotations and praise for other authors and was left feeling disappointed.

By Patrick L

May 02, 2016

I didn't think there were many solid pointers...and not much that was original coming from the instructor herself.

By Ian B

Jun 21, 2017

This is by far the weakest course of the creative writing specialization. The majority of it is spent with the "teacher" having shop talk sessions with other novelists, but doing very little teaching herself.

By Pritika P

Dec 18, 2017

I found the assignments very challenging to understand as there was very little clarity in the way they were written. Had to constantly reach out to mentors and forum discussions to actually understand what the instructor wanted.

Overall, I did not enjoy this course as much as I enjoyed the other three courses of this series.

By salima h

Mar 23, 2016

this was my least favorite of the classes - the lectures ere not informative, and far too lofty. The style class, the plot class and the setting class all had detailed, concrete teachings, whereas these lectures were too airy. Most of them consisted of authors chatting with each other. The assignments required real craft however, and it would have been helpful to LEARN those skills in the modules.

For example, one assignment asked us to describe a character in a setting, while they were not actually there - say a divorced nurse in a hospital. Not once in the lectures were we ever taught HOW to do this. We watched a series of author fireside chats, and then people bumbled through the assignment. I really wanted Amy Bloom to just walk over to the board and draw a character and say "this is a woman, she's divorced, she's middle class, she tends to get very angry when things don't go her way" or whatever,and then draw out a list of how her internal states might manifest in the world around her - she throws things, she's disorganized, she writes mean notes in the patient charts.

I wanted her to teach. She seems to think we already know how to do things like imply a characters state of mind through action. I mean, for a beginning writer, its helpful to just make a list of details about a character - where they're from, what they like or don't like, what sort of flaws they might have and so on. We did barely any of this. It was assumed we knew the basics of characterization, but most students did not!

some of the other students frustration and confusion came out in the peer review, which was a bad sign.

By Monika C B

Mar 15, 2016

I didn't find this module very helpful and some of the assignments were truly confusing. I wish there was more "meat" in the sessions and more availability to access the lecturers more readily when there was confusion. I don't like the fact I pay money for other people to "assess" my work when half of them don't even read my submissions properly. Or the question. Or both. So if the lectures don't stretch me, I find my money spent unwisely.

By Aiden T N

Nov 29, 2016

I am honestly not a fan of Amy's teaching style. She seems to have a discussion with herself about character building techniques but not really explain the technique nor structure it for the student.

There are too many shop talks.

I would rather have a structure explained to me and then hear a discussion... the way Brando Skyhorse does in the Plot course... really a let down. I will have to buy the book she keeps averting I guess... after spending quite good money on the course already. Pity

By Olivia W

Apr 06, 2016

This was my least favourite course in the the Creative Writing Specialisation. I learnt a bit about creating characters but I found the lessons bland and the assignments difficult to understand.

By Madison T

Oct 05, 2016

Instructions were very unclear compared to the rest of the courses in the specialization.

By Elaina J

Feb 02, 2018

The lessons do not seem to match the assignments. The instructions for the assignments are confusing.

By Amanda Y H

Nov 17, 2017

The instructor did very little teaching and spent much more time interviewing other instructors from different courses. The instruction regarding character development was not very useful compared to the insight provided in the Craft of Plot course. I do not feel I got very much out of this course.

By Andreas J

Jul 21, 2017

I prefered the Craft of Plot course to this one, and I almost felt like I learned more about creating characters in that one than I did here. I didn't feel like there was a lot of structure to this course, and the majority of the videos are shop talks about things that are somewhat unrelated to the topic of the module. The instructions for the assignments were somewhat difficult to understand too, however I did feel like some learning was acquired by doing them.

By Emily F

Jun 21, 2016

I didn't find this course particularly helpful or useful. I'm not sure why, there was a disconnect somewhere, I think maybe that I didn't receive the help that I feel I still need on the subject of how to create a great, memorable, believable character. Also, some of the assignments were confusing. Nothing really stands out about this course, and it was actually a bit boring and I don't feel I learned anything related to the subject. Everything about this class needs some work: the videos, the instruction/syllabus/content, and the assignments. Sorry, I didn't like it. =(

By Dena M

Apr 12, 2017

Amy Blooms assignments were so complicated and obtuse that they were hard to dive into. The lectures didn't particularly hold me , either. Often, what the lecture was titled and what was taught seemed totally unrelated. Could be improved but at least it kept me writing.

By Melania D

Jul 25, 2019

I find that most of the time I don't know what is expected of me in the assignments

By Valerie S

Jan 15, 2019

I did not feel like I took anything away from this class, as evidenced by my rambling notes. There was very little actual theory delineated that could be applied in my writing and in the actual assignments. It was just a series of shop talks and read excerpts with very little "teaching." I definitely learned more from the first module in this certification. I would not recommend this professor's class and honestly think Coursera might want to read through some of the forum discussions and see I am not alone.

By jessica

Aug 09, 2016

The peer reviewed assignments are next to useless, as there is no oversight on them. I think there needs to be a basic comprehension assessment done first, before allowing fellow learners the ability to pass/fail students in the course.

By Palash B

Aug 12, 2017

I never received reviews.

By Lilian S

Sep 26, 2016

I wouldn't recommend this course to anyone who's paying. The assignments instructions are too vague to understand and there's no example given.