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

4.7
stars
3,363 ratings
1,127 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

LB
Nov 15, 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.

MM
Nov 30, 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.

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1 - 25 of 1,108 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 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 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 Mikhal F

Jun 5, 2020

The material in the videos were very helpful, inspiring and informative. Unfortunately our assignments are graded and reviewed by our peers. I'm deeply disappointed because there appears to be no screening what so ever of the students who enroll. So my experience was extremely nerve wracking and upsetting because I had no idea if I'd pass because people kept failing me even though I certainly met all the assignment criteria. Often I would get feed back like "..." or "-" or "yes" and "no" meanwhile I had to attempt to review submissions like "t" for a 1000 story? They literally submitted one letter!!! The group I ended up in was so grossly incompetent (or full of people that plain didn't care) I'm extremely angry that I was charged $69 for this. Honestly if I'm to pay I'd expect a professional to grade our work. Peer reviews are fine, but for this to be worth it, someone who knows the craft should at least take a look.

By Leon P

Apr 2, 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 Brenton M

Nov 5, 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.

By Spandan B

Feb 22, 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 Adam M

Jun 6, 2020

I feel like each week's videos didn't go into great enough detail. The peer review experience was very poor too. I don't feel like I received any meaningful feedback and felt that the way the system is structured promoted lazy reviewing. Overall the biggest weakness of this course is a lack of example assignments. If there were example assignment for each module with detailed descriptions of how everything fit together, the poor peer review experience wouldn't have mattered nearly as much. I learned some valuable lessons here but I think I could haven gotten just as much from watching youtube videos.

By Sasha K C

Apr 4, 2018

This course got me off on the right foot in writing. It gives specific structure on elements of a good plot. There is no failing, just constructive review of your work by your peers. Very good course

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 Gitlin, M

Aug 1, 2019

I never received any feedback on my assignments. I have not gotten credit for submitting the final assignment. I see there are other people pleading for others to read their work as well. The instructors and videos give good ideas but there is no reason to pay for this course.

By Annabel B

May 5, 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 GLADSON V C

May 3, 2020

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.

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 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 9, 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 Yuliya K

Jun 1, 2020

My experience with the course was not fulfilling, because I didn't get professional guidance throughout the course. The instructor provided some information and required to submit some assignment, so we did some writings and reviewed our peers' writings. This is OK. But I didn't enroll in the course in order to see opinion of those who just started writing, exactly as I did. As the beginners, we needed feedback from those who already accomplished some level, but didn't receive it. I would not recommend this course to those, who really wants to learn how to start writing.

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 Nick T

May 26, 2020

This is not worth the money or time. There was too much of the course that involved teaching by the numbers. I don't think creative writing can be taught that wasy. Any 21 step process is absurd and that is only one phase of the course.

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 Laura B

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.

By Marisela M

Dec 1, 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.

By Charles T

Jun 15, 2017

The instructional materials are excellent. The exercises are fun but less useful than they might be. I didn't get much out of writing about the desire for a physical object (how many real stories are there about this silly subject?) or a trip to the doctor's office. These exercises taught and reinforced the course's points about narrative structure, but they didn't help me invent a strong plot: one in which an interesting character has an interesting desire and faces interesting obstacles, with interesting actions leading to an interesting climax or anticlimax. Nor do the instructional materials focus on such issues. After giving some very good but brief advice about the basis of plot, they move on to other matters: narrative structure, show vs. tell, the elements of a good scene, how to edit a finished work--all worthwhile, but peripheral to the stated theme of plot. (Maybe the course title should be changed to "Introduction to fiction writing." That's really what you're doing here.)

The last exercise--write a 1000 word story which embodies everything we've taught you--is quite appropriate, but the three previous ones don't prepare you very well to do it.

By Carlos M

Jan 7, 2017

I liked the way Mr. Skyhorse explains the secrets to construct a great plot. It was excellent in every sense of the word. However, my only complain of this course it's that you can't report those "funny" peers that write "reviews" like this one:

" ' "

It's so unfair that some of us, the real students, took our time to write detailed reviews about every peer assignment AND expected at least WORDS as reviews. You need to implement some kind of report system to ban those "funny" peers that only check your work to put the point and to get their course done. And to start that "system" I will tell you that:

SHOKRY MOHAMED FATHALLAH EL SAYAR

That guy, gave me reviews as I described before. Not only in this course, but in The Craft of Character. So PLEASE, someone needs to make justice and punish this guy. I can even send you captions of his "reviews."

By Valentina B

Mar 26, 2019

After completing this course successfully I still don't really understand what a rising action is exactly and the phrase "your story must include at least ten sentences of rising action" in the final task made almost no sense to me. I understand that peer review is used as a from of assessment for convenience in this course but judging from the reviews I gave myself and the reviews I received, its not very informative for the learner. I like the practice because it made me think about how other people interpret the information in this course, but I really wish some more expert form of assessment could be provided and possibly shorter simpler more targeted exercises throughout the four weeks.

By Rahsaan E

May 17, 2020

I found the course helpful. I would have loved feedback from the instructor in addition to peer reviews.