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

4.5
stars
1,664 ratings
481 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 10, 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.

N
Sep 25, 2020

The course was very well-structured and challenging. The instructor is very experienced and good, thus used relevant materials for this course, be it the guests, or the assignments, or the examples.

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26 - 50 of 477 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Character

By Amanda Y H

Nov 16, 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 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 Olivia W

Apr 6, 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 jessica

Aug 9, 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 Hannah K

Apr 1, 2018

I did not enjoy the lecturer (Amy Bloom) at all. I felt her videos and lectures were not very beneficial, and her teaching style was lacking. The assignments were okay, but overall I do not feel like I learned much from thsi course.

By Lilian S

Sep 25, 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.

By Ricardo P

Jun 30, 2019

In this course, Amy Bloom teaches students the different ways of creating a character, whether by observing family members or friends or creating them from scratch—this course goes into detail on what it takes to craft convincing characters and understand them so that the reader is persuaded into believing their goals and actions. The course also goes focuses on the narrator's voice and the many different points of view that a writer can use (first person, third person omniscient, etc). This is a good entry level course for beginners who want to gain an understanding of character creation basics. The assignments were thought-provoking and really helped with putting into practice the concepts laid out by the videos. This Course is meant for writers that are just starting out by allowing them to develop setting, dialogue and actions for in-depth characterization of people in a story.

By Charles T

Jun 13, 2017

--The videos were very interesting, especially the discussions with other writers.

-- The four exercises were worthwhile and challenging--perhaps too challenging for some of the participants, based on the pieces I read. Note that two hours isn't nearly long enough to do most of these exercises if the objective is to produce a piece that is both well thought through and well written.

--I found the peer reviews to be highly variable in quality.

-- Some textual material should be included in the course. We can always cut and paste the transcripts of the lectures--but why not provide easily accessible lecture notes? And there should also be instructional materials other then the lectures.

-- The questions asked of the peer reviewers are good ones. They would provide useful guidance in dealing with the assignment. Why not give them out along with the assignment?

By Azlin

May 21, 2018

Very concise and great tips and notes from Amy Bloom. The interviews and guests conversations helped as well. I had a bad experience with peer review and reported it, but had not heard what consequences were brought against him. The "wtf" added on peer reviews should not be tolerated and that student should not be accepted for a period. This is a learning environment to encourage learning a craft, developed thoughts and understanding. It is not a place for vulgar, rude and negative peer reviews, and coming from someone who also is taking a course to learn the craft or subject. I hope this student is ultimately been kicked out and not accepted for several courses, whether he is a paying student or otherwise, otherwise, the integrity of Coursera and Wesleyan U is not one I would want to associate with, nor do I want anyone else to.

By robin b

Apr 13, 2020

I loved this, giving me alternative ways to approach character descriptions. It broadens my approach to writing, opening me up to possibilities I didn't know existed. It also forced me to go past my comfort zone. I love the lectures by actual writers and teachers.

It is hard to be rated by your peers, even though they've been told to be kind and try to find the good things in your writing. But I believe in one of the modules one of the teachers describes the feeling well: what it is like to bare your soul and have someone criticize it. It is necessary in writing, if you want people to read what you write and enjoy it.

That is the challenge.

By Jack H

May 16, 2018

Really enjoyed this particular module since, not only do I KNOW a lot of characters, I AM one. This course made me become more aware of mannerisms, cultural and behavioral differences and similarities, plus the results and implications of how these characters inter-mesh with one another. Politics and households mirror one another and I am NEVER without a notebook and pencils since beginning this module. Now almost everyone I see gets captured in the notebook. INCLUDING THE INSTRUCTORS ! They are truly interesting personalities and I enjoyed their Shoptalk segments a lot. It is a great program.

By Victoria W S

Jun 24, 2017

I have enjoyed this very thorough class. Although some of the assignment titles were misleading, the assignments overall were very good once I understood them. At first I did not like having to get feedback and give feedback on assignments, but as the course went on, I was able to see the value in this and understand why it was set up this way. By week 4, the observations of classmates not only resonated with my own about our writings but also enlightened some of the thoughts I hadn't yet put into words yet so I was able to articulate them and understand them better. Great course!!

By Abhishek N

Nov 14, 2019

First, the tasks were really challenging, but they were great. They provided me to think differently on various different points, which was very enjoyable. I loved Professor Amy Bloom's delivery of building a character and developing them, I finally started using my observation skills in expressing my thoughts and my characters. I also got confidence boost from her positive messages even in the lectures. I also liked the talks with other authors, which made me so glad that I can compare my thought process with some great authors. It was another plus for confidence.

By Sarah S

Feb 22, 2017

I found this course very helpful as a step along the path to improving my writing. I really liked the course director Any Bloom, who has an engaging, calm manner and gave very useful insights into writing about character and creating characters that feel as if they have a life beyond the page. The course is well structured and the assignments well designed to help you to think about point of view and character and I found myself being able to develop a fictional character that I have had in my mind for a while. I really enjoyed the course, thank you very much.

By Grace H

Apr 24, 2018

The input from the published authors was great, for many reasons. But one of the things I appreciated most is that they weren't all the same. They gave a variety of perspectives that presented the fullness and freedom of writing. Each one had strong opinions and strategies, but since they were different from each other, we were set free to glean different flavors as they fit our own style. This is what sets good teaching apart - giving good solid options to choose from as we craft our characters and our own voice in presenting them.

By Tania R F

Nov 26, 2019

This course had some very challenging tasks, and I did find the instructions for one of the assignments a bit problematic, because many of my fellow students misinterpreted them (and it was tough reviewing them when you could clearly see that they did understand the instructions; a big shame).

However, the instructor, Amy Bloom, was fantastic and I loved the way she delivered the course, and the material she covered.

A very enjoyable, informative course that I wish would have lasted longer just because I loved it so much.

By David S

Jun 25, 2018

A wonderful set of lectures and exercises that truly advance one's understanding of character development. As in the previous class, "Plot," the subject matter is broken down to easily digested concepts, building on each other until the author is left with a renewed confidence in their ability to craft interesting, dynamic characters. And, the peer-review process is a hoot! What wonderful imagination our classmates exhibit! The reviews are pertinent as well and the moderators always available. Five Stars!

By Salma H

Mar 25, 2019

I enjoyed Amy Bloom's teaching style and the way she relayed the message across. It really felt like being with a friend at a coffeeshop, analyzing different parts of books and stories that we've read and commenting on them. It was casual, comfortable, and very informative. The assignments allowed me to experiment and unlock new ways of getting and utilizing inspiration for characters, and for giving my characters a proper and interesting depth.

By Quynh N H

Oct 21, 2018

This course helped sharpen my noticing skills. The suggested reading is immensely helpful. The feedback is invaluable and I will be going back to some of those to transform those exercises into short stories. Thank you so much for the public access to this course! I am indebted to you. A MOOC is truly a life transforming invention, giving people the tools to improve on their skills. I can't imagine life without a MOOC! My goodness!

By Allan R A

Mar 18, 2018

Amy Bloom makes a student writer feel he or she is the only student in the world. She shares what she has learned and points to excellent models in literature and writing. We learn that writers love to talk to each other about their craft, and, by golly, we're invited right into their circles of conversation. Of course, it's all pre-programmed and produced for a large audience, but it's authentic, friendly, and best of all, it's wise.

By ANGEL Y S V

Aug 13, 2020

Los ejercicios fueron espléndidos. Generalmente juego en mi mente a cambiar las historias que leo o veo en la televisión, así que la tarea de la semana dos me pareció encantadora. También suelo escribir las mismas escenas una y otra vez desde diferentes perspectivas hasta quedarme con una versión en la que entiendo lo que todos están viendo y sintiendo, la última tarea también me gustó mucho. Muchas gracias, aprendí muchísimo.

By Kavin P

Jul 9, 2020

Whether you are a hobbyist writer or a literature student, whether you dream to publish or keep your writing close to you in your journal - this course will literally "Blow a Soul" in your writing, with the ability of creating characters, whom we find connection with!

Various methods and also experience shared by many seasoned novelists!

Thank you Wesleyan University and Coursera, for providing such a wonderful course!

By Patricia H V R

Mar 26, 2020

The course is excellent. It makes invaluable contributions to the subject of creating characters. It is a quite good and illustrative initiation, which opens up ways to learn more from the great masters of literature and to be more attentive to the details that people manifest in real life, since this makes it possible to learn how to make the characters more concrete in the fictions that are created from now on.

By Christine W

Sep 16, 2018

I got out of this module exactly what I put into it. While the videos do a reasonably good job of outlining a basic understanding, I found that I wanted more info, especially as concerns POV. For some reason, omniscient 3rd person was a tough concept to grasp. But I've since learned that POV can make or break a story, particularly if you don't know which one you're using and/or keep fluctuating from one to another.

By Klurisa H

Sep 25, 2016

This course was challenging and informative. The ability to speed up and slow down the video lectures is fantastic. These video lectures are jammed packed with information and I often listen to parts again and again to grasp a solid understanding. Without this feature this would become tedious and boring. The lecturers are knowledgeable and the words chosen to explain the content are spot on. Thanks. Loved it.