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

2,060 ratings
666 reviews

About the Course

In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires. We will examine the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. We will learn how to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arc, pacing and reversals and reveal the inevitable surprise: connecting the beginning, middle and end....

Top reviews


Dec 01, 2016

Great course to take as the first step in the sequence of the "Creative Writing" certification. Exercises are fun, professor provides useful methodology, load is manageable for someone with a day job.


Nov 05, 2019

The course was informative on how to build, structure and develop the plot of our own stories. It was also very helpful in guiding us through the editing process. A useful course for aspiring writers.

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1 - 25 of 645 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

By John L

Mar 25, 2019

I recently completed the 5-course specialization in creative writing. For the most part the course material presented was good, especially the courses on plot, on setting, and on style. The course on characterization was a little vague. From the syllabus, it looked like it would be a good course, but the instructor did not follow the syllabus and was often very unfocussed in her presentation.

The weakness with this specialization is that all the feedback to the writer is provided by peers in the course. This I found very disappointing. Many of the other students were honestly very poor writers, and as a result, the feedback I received on my assignments was very superficial. In addition, rather than being able to learn from reading the writing of others, I found for the most part that the pieces submitted by others were very lacking.

If you take this course, know that it will provide you some good information about writing fiction, but the feedback you receive on your assignments will not help you learn. You will need to find another peer group of writers to help you with that.

By Deleted A

Oct 13, 2017

Very little content. It is useful, but definitely not worth paying for it. Also, the exercises aren't truly exercises to practice what has been taught: just writing exercises with different lenghts, with a slight focus on what's been spoken about through the week. It looks like they wanted to make money from a minimum input, and that is disappointing.

By Charles W

Mar 10, 2018

I don't see the point of having other writings who are at the same skill level as me critique my work. It's like the blind leading the blind. I was expecting a professional to grade my work to provide insight and direction. Total waste of my money.

By Bryan B

Jun 13, 2019

Great course for beginners. I must admit I was not sold at first with the peer graded review but seeing how seriously the great majority of students take the feedback portion of the course, I couldn't help but feel more motivated. I have learned to structure my ideas and tell a story properly using the least amount of words while keeping my readers interested. Highly recommendable for beginners.

By JoLaine J

Jan 09, 2018

There is some decent information in the course. The assignments didn't do for me as much as I would have liked. Every single person I peer reviewed (15 people) has English as a second language. I did my best to disregard that, but some of them were so difficult to follow that it was impossible to make heads or tails of their submissions. Also, I would have appreciated some downloadable handouts that covered the main points, rather than having to go back through the videos and finding the information I was looking for.

By Leon P

Apr 02, 2016

Felt very much like an exercise in writing-by-numbers. Assignment instructions were too vague and the pass/fail grading system meant lots of classmates were upset that their work was not appreciated or understood. So many people on the course do not have English as a first language that the marking is often erratic. Great that non-native speakers are trying to write in English, enriching the canon, but in those circumstances a pass/fail system seems misguided.

By Spandan B

Feb 23, 2016

The material isn't bad, and it does provide some interesting prompts to think and write about. But, the curriculum is not at all creative. It focuses on easily teachable and repeatable lessons that teach a certain, standard way of doing things. It tries to reduce creative writing down to a formula instead of acknowledging that many compelling and successful stories can have almost any imaginable form. If perhaps many types of structures had been emphasized or structures had been pointed out as optional, this would have been mitigated, but the time period is so short that there's no time. The result is a class that feels more like "Writing: How to Make a Formulaic, Sellable Book" than anything with "Creative" in the title.

By Cristina M

Feb 20, 2018

Assignments felt forced and incongruous with the weekly lessons. The assignments did not feel like an opportunity to practice the skills focused on in the lessons.

By Annabel B

May 05, 2017

I found the wording of the assignments really difficult to follow so I didn't really understand what was expected of me. I spend a lot of time (and therefore money!) on this course but in the end I made a conscious decision to stop. I was taking it for personal pleasure and it was not worth the stress each week of trying to work out what was being asked. I have taken a number of other courses in creative writing elsewhere, and other courses on Coursera - this is the first one I have actively chosen to stop because I just wasn't engaging with it - either for education or for enjoyment.

By Codi C

Mar 22, 2017

Auditing is pretty useless with how this class is updated. I can't get peer reviews so my assignments get zero feedback. Coursera didn't used to be like this.

Asked about how to be more involved in class discussions and peer reviews a couple days ago and haven't received feedback.

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 Carol A G

Nov 17, 2018

I'm thoroughly enjoying this course. I look forward to moving through each phase and I feel that I am being guided through the basics in the best possible way.

By Osleydi

Dec 04, 2018

It's a really good course which has helped me to improve my writing skills

By Zakia R

Dec 06, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the heat of anxiety when i had to meet my deadlines. Phew. Thank you coursera.

By Helen A

Dec 09, 2018

Really good explanations and relevant examples throughout. The only week where the examples were hard for me to untangle were those in the show-don't-tell scene lesson. Overall though, great.

By Joe M

Dec 08, 2018

Very well put together course. Gave me great insight on plot but especially editing and revision. I was pretty directionless when it came to revising my own work and the last week of this course was a excellent eye-opener. I have a way better idea how and what I should be changing instead of just re-writing everything a bunch of times. Looking forward to the next course!

By Catherine M H

Dec 24, 2018

Love this course! It has helped my writing skills tremendously.

By Daniel O

Dec 13, 2018

In the last days of learning this course (not done yet) I feel my fears of venturing into fiction writing leaving. The content of the course is good. The delivery is spot on.

By Amandip S

Dec 26, 2018

It was an amazing experience learning craft of plot. I surely recommend this course to my fellow writers.

By Kathy K

Dec 26, 2018

This was the first Creative Writing course that I have ever taken and I thought it was fun and good a teaching the basics.

By Manisha J

Jan 28, 2019

very very good


Jan 04, 2019

LOVED IT. Very practical and grounding. Inspiring too.

By Cristhian K C M

Jan 31, 2019

This course is amazing. The videos explain how to craft a plot in a clear way, and it has fun assignments to do. I enjoyed it! Into the next Craft course!

By Polina K

Jan 31, 2019

Very interesting and educational

By Frankie W

Feb 03, 2019

Brando Skyhorse's lectures were perfect. I truly hung on every word and I feel already I am a better writer for it! Thank you