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

2,064 ratings
667 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 16, 2018

Great information about plot and scene structure. The information about revision was entirely new to me - thank you! The exercises were good and difficult in a good way that helped me hone my writing.

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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 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 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 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 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 Manisha J

Jan 28, 2019

very very good

By Polina K

Jan 31, 2019

Very interesting and educational

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 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

By Luis A P T

Feb 04, 2019

Super great! I have learned a lot. Highly recommended.

By Inés K

Dec 30, 2018

The course was very interesting, gave me a lot of ideas, and helped me to see my way to trying to write something longer. The one thing I found not so good was the 'shop-talk' with the instructors of the other creative writing classes. There was too much repetition (if you do all these classes). It would be more interesting to hear OTHER people, writers, and also editors (another point of view).

Also, for ALL these classes, I'd appreciate more tasks. The tasks are interesting and help, so more would be great.

By sepas h

Dec 14, 2018

the way Amy Bloom describes the process of creating the characters and throws the light on even the simplest questions you would want to ask before doing it is so inspiring. and of course the shop talks are incredibly informative, and a great chance no one can afford to miss.

By Anuprava B

Dec 18, 2018

As is repeatedly mentioned, the best part about this course is that it makes you think and get's you to start writing. The little points made (and advice's given) in the short lectures are useful. Like 'Show, don't tell', or the ABDCE structure. The fact that sometimes your developed character just does not want to do certain things and you should have the flexibility to do so. It is all very useful :) The only thing which I perhaps did not like was the quality of some reviews, which I felt were rushed. This is not the course Instructor's fault but maybe Coursera can find a better way to monitor it? Like perhaps flag the reviews that are half-heatedly done so that the author can get more serious reviews on their work.

By Michael Y

Dec 17, 2018

This course has been a godsend to further develop my skill in the art of creative writing.

Thank you, Brando. This course has been incredible, inspiring, and foundational to my future.

Whoever wishes to advance their creative writing; this course is for you.

By Timothy T

Jan 05, 2019

Really interesting!


Jan 04, 2019

LOVED IT. Very practical and grounding. Inspiring too.


Jan 08, 2019

Un curso excelente. He aprendido a organizar la estructura de mis textos literarios y a hacer revisiones significativas. Gracias COURSERA por esta oportunidad.

By Famutimi O

Jan 09, 2019

It was easy to relate to and was comprehensible

By Esmatullah S

Jan 10, 2019

I loved this course. I still refer to it. This course has been brilliantly designed and triggers you to follow it without a stop.