Chevron Left
Back to Creative Writing: The Craft of Character

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

4.5
stars
1,616 ratings
466 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.

Filter by:

326 - 350 of 459 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Character

By Abdelkader A K

May 23, 2020

I am deeply grateful for Coursera, as they approved my financial aid request for this one. This is why I am being kind of generous with the rating. Unfortunately, the course did not live up to my expectations. In comparison to the Craft of Plot, this course spoke very vaguely and did not use other well-known books to elaborate on the ideas. I was also expecting we delve into the types of characters in this one: round, flat, etc. and get to know how to use and create such characters.

Nevertheless, I thank Ms. Amy for her efforts and experience put into it.

By Anne M

Sep 28, 2020

I learned a lot in this course. The learning materials (videos and assignments) are great. The only criticism I have is the vast majority of students have extremely limited English skills. It's odd that a writing class, taught in English, would cater to students who don't have a reasonable command of the language. Nor is it fair to those fluent in English to have their grades tied to peer reviews when the work they are reviewing is written in incomprehensible broken English. I imagine, that's part of the reason so many students give one word critiques.

By William R S

Jun 11, 2019

The course is very informative and goes into great detail as to the key points of creating interesting and fleshed-out characters. I did, however, find the course topic a bit disorganized, as there would be videos or units with a name indicating a focus on a certain aspect but would then handle a completely unrelated, if still useful, topic. This was the only flaw I found in the course, and it is relatively minor, but it would be a very useful change in the future. Otherwise, it is highly recommended so long as you don't mind a bit of a messy syllabus!

By Ellen H

Mar 30, 2021

The sometimes very restrictive and challenging assignment criteria helped me to step out of my comfort zone and learn, that yes indeed, I can write a believable and engaging story snippet, even if I do not at all identify with the framework I am required to follow. I definitely improved my technique and became more comfortable to consider writing something, that at first glance seems futile. I would have given it 5 starts, if the question prompts for reviews would have been a bit more related to the specifics of the assignment criteria.

By Anusha N

Feb 8, 2019

The course is intense, in fact MUCH more intense than the course on plot. I felt challenged and inspired to complete the assignments. Peers reviews were exceptionally objective and therefore helpful. What I felt was lacking was in Week 4 of the course - the section on points-of-view in narration. External reading to understand the different voices of narration and voices of narrative are highly recommended. Would have appreciated more help from the instructor in that particular week.

By Wanda J

Aug 12, 2017

Craft of Character did a lot for my ability to create characters, and I learned a lot about writing dialogue, and the different points of view that those dialogues can come from. Instructions were always perfectly clear and easy to understand. Of course I wasn't always expert at the week's process involved, but that wasn't because of the directions being in anyway unclear. I loved taking this course, and will definitely be continuing on in the Specialization.

By Pam N

Jul 10, 2017

I enjoyed this course and I would recommend it to others. I enjoyed the assignments and felt like they challenged and stretched me in good ways.

Criticisms include: some confusing titles - why is the third section called Location, Location, Location, when it is the second section that is about location? Some of the wording in the rubrics seem to refer to things not discussed before. So, some revision and clarity would be much appreciated.

By James B

Mar 15, 2016

I like Amy Bloom, but the lectures don't provide the explanations or the processes for creating characters. In the Craft of Plot, Skyhorse gave us the tools we need to develop plot and structure, and even how to start to develop characters. But in this course, the lectures don't do that. They seem more philosophical than instructional and all of the lectures go right over my head. Craft of Plot gave me hope, Craft of Character confused me.

By Sherma W C

Jan 5, 2017

Excellent course. The video presentations are well done with information that is vital for developing the skill required to be an effective writer. They include videos that discuss concepts and interviews with successful writers. The assignments are challenging but enjoyable and well paced. This the second course I have taken in the specialization, and I am pleased with the big level of expertise that is shared by the instructors.

By Marilyn G

Apr 6, 2020

Like other courses in the specialization, I learned a lot in this course especially about defining and shaping the characters in my fiction stories. There is one thing in this course that I particularly liked more than the others and that was having us, the author, state what we wanted feedback on for each assignment. Doing this yielded better feedback than that received in the first course in the specialization I took.

By Soraya C A

Apr 4, 2020

A great course overall. The peer feedback is sometimes informative, sometimes lacking. One word peer reviews should not be allowed. Perhaps there needs to be a preliminary assessment of of participants to see if they qualify for the course. Perhaps have a reporting function that allows the learner to report insufficient feedback. The power in MOOCs is learning from one another as well as from the instructor.

By Ursula M

May 12, 2017

I really enjoyed this course. The lectures were particularly interesting. I think one thing that could be improved is the phrasing of the assignments. I wasn't entirely sire of what was required for each week (especially week 2). But saying that I feel a lot more prepared in regards to approaching characters and I feel equipped with many different thoughts and techniques to tackle character in the future.

By Shoshinatplay B

Mar 11, 2020

The course content and some of the assignments provided me with insights to approach and review my own writing with better understanding of sculpting of characters. Also, I got perspective on the dynamics of dialogue, the selection of POV to tell a story most effectively, and the tone of voice of the author that underlies the narrative between the dialogues and monologues. Grateful for the learning.

By Nyema J

Aug 31, 2018

I gained a lot from the program but all four courses would benefit so much more by even minor contact from the staff. I've written questions and often get no response. There needs a higher commitment from Staff to engage with students enrolled in the Creative Writing Program. After completing all four programs and now doing Capstone, this is definitely a failure that could be so easily addressed.

By Varda K

Jun 3, 2020

I really liked this course because it taught me a lot about developing my characters which was something I sorely needed guidance in. Thank you!

I did have one concern though: for Week 2's assignment "Observation and Implication", the instructions were a bit unclear. I feel the wording is a little bit awkward.

Other than that, I am thoroughly enjoying this specialization!

By Victoria C L

Jan 15, 2017

Good course (I did the free version, full disclosure). Learned enough about character development to help me with my fiction - and non-fiction. I teach creative nonfiction and you need to understand how to make the people you use compelling. Wish there was more exposition, factual step-by-step and less interviewing. Liked the Plot class better for that reason

By Inés K

Jan 5, 2019

I found this course a little less enthralling than the other three, mostly due to the fact that the videos lacked the interactive element that the other courses had, and due to the fact that there was a lot of repetition in what was being said. Contents was interesting, and I loved the assignments, but the whole thing lacked a little pep.

By S J P

Jan 18, 2021

I took this course after the Craft of Plot. The videos and writing assignments were not as helpful as those in the Craft of Plot. The peer reviews were mostly non-existent, some with one word feedback ... good, yes, no. With that said, I still learned a lot about voice, dialogue, point of view. Good for beginning writers like me.

By Angie F

Sep 7, 2016

I liked the course -- there were plenty of useful tips throughout. However, I felt some of the assignments were unnecessarily oblique and complicated (particularly the second assignment). Ultimately, it was a helpful course, though I feel much of the information, expectation, and specific instruction could be more streamlined.

By Elisabeth S

Dec 28, 2019

Some really good inputs on creating characters (and on creating the voice of the narrator), as well as creating the tone of a piece of writing in general. I found the writing tasks quite challenging, but they also offer great insights, especially in terms of the possibilities of which point of view to write from.

By Raymond M

Oct 29, 2020

Very useful instruction and exercises throughout the course. Only problem is the generally weak peer review process. At a minimum, some quality control is required to eliminate the one word "peer reviews". It is very dispiriting to people taking the course seriously. Thanks for the opportunity to learn.

By cat b

Feb 17, 2018

Well-organized and well-structured, good examples, multiple perspectives from practicing writers. The content on character development, the role of dialog and action in revealing characters, and POV/voice would be most helpful for novice writers (but perhaps also for experienced writers!)

By Federico B S

May 30, 2018

Character is one of the most difficult aspects of fiction writing and I think this course does a good job of getting you to understand it. It would definitely benefit from some additional mandatory readings. Parts of James Wood's How Fiction Works would be right on the money.

By Sougandh P

Apr 18, 2020

The course helped me put the learning to practice. The course helped me start writing and also engage in reviewing the peers which helped me broaden my interest and also helped me understand the quality and style of writing that other students of the same field have.

By Jenalyn L

Feb 1, 2021

I think the course could have been better if there were some examples on what they were expecting from us for the assignments, since some of the instructions were a bit difficult to understand. But I still enjoyed this course and the writing exercises, so thank you.