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

4,743 ratings

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


Jul 13, 2020

It seems easy at the start; give it a week or two and you will be very surprised -- with yourself and your reaction to the feedback.

The instructions are easy to follow, the insights are priceless.


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.

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1276 - 1300 of 1,600 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

By Sampo B

Oct 14, 2016

This course is great for everyone interested in working on their writing skills, whether you're a beginner or more experienced. As a novice writer I learned about several useful tools that will help me improve my writing, got a lot more practice, and having a schedule helped me improve my daily routine for writing. For me the most valuable part was getting feedback and learning through analysing other people’s work. Oh, and just because the description says 1-2 hours of work per week doesn't mean you can't do a lot more!

By Joseph S

May 11, 2022

This course is a good introduction to creative writing. The modules are in a good sequence and the writing assignments are interesting and help the author to expand their understanding and command of plot. On the negative side, all of the writing assignments are peer graded and many of the readers are not native English speakers, so some of the feedback is unintelligible or one-word answers. It would be helpful to have some professional feedback, but I don't think that happens with Coursera Plus classes.

By Elizabeth E

Feb 1, 2017

The exercises are good, and the material is clear. I really like that the students have to review each other's work. I found the feedback helpful, and I found reading other people's work helpful too. I really would like a teacher to grade me as well though. There were a couple of times that I wasn't certain that I fully understood what I was doing, so to have me grade someone else left me feeling unguided and unqualified to assign a grade. I believe I got feedback saying just that at least once.

By Margarida M

Mar 13, 2021

I really enojoyed the course! The lectures and assignments were so interesting. The only thing I disliked is the fact that we are only peer reviewed. I think at least the last assignment should be reviewed by a professor. For example, I was really excited to receive feedback on my assignment and the three people that reviewed it only commented things like "Yes" and "Well done" not even replying to my questions, which really defeated the purpose of getting positive critics to improve.

By Fatima A

Sep 16, 2022

The course offers a very good introduction to creative writing. Brando Skyhorse is great and very engaging and I absolutely love the interviews with other writers. Unfortunately, the fact that we have to review 4 assignments to have our own assignment reviewed is really unpleasant because most texts are of astonishingly poor quality. After a while it becomes really hard to offer useful and considerate feedback in the reviews. This is the only reason why i don't give it 5 starts.

By A.m.

Mar 24, 2016

Pretty good class; good information. The classmates are engaged and have good feedback to give.

I'm frustrated at the lack of instructor (or even staff presence) until at least week 3, when finally a staff member answered *one* of the many student questions that have been piling up.

Students are a great resource for critiquing work, but we can't help each other with technical questions, or with assignment clarifications. So there *definitely* needs to be staff on hand for that.

By Gabriel T

Apr 6, 2016

Brando did a great job in presenting a structure for plot. I think his insights are valuable and he did tried to offer practical guidelines writers can use.

What I didn't like was the reviewing of the assignments. Some times I didn't receive valuable feedback ( the same sentence copy/pasted in every section) and someone failed me for not understanding my intentions because he was not an English speaker.

Away from that, I really liked Brando, his style, and his involvement.

By Geoff N

Feb 9, 2017

The course itself has been really useful, although I'm not sure it has taught me much that is truly new. What It has done, though, is to fill in gaps, and to give me a big helping hand into understanding how to tackle what to write about. Beforehand, I suffered somewhat from blank canvas syndrome, but this course has given me ideas to get past that. The Coursera site and app could still do with some work, since collaboration with other students is not as easy as it could

By Tania R F

Nov 26, 2019

This was a very good course, but I struggled with it initially, as I felt I had somehow fallen into the deep end of the pool... and had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around some concepts.

This was my own experience of it, but I wonder if students could somehow be 'eased' into it a bit, with more basic concepts, and take off from there.

This is another course that I feel could extend to 6 weeks, or even 5.

The instructor was very good and passionate about his subject.

By Daniel R

Mar 23, 2019

I enjoyed this course and think the material and exercises helped me get going writing for the topic at hand. I think however, I'd like to get more valuable feedback sometimes. I don't think we have any control over it, but it felt that sometimes the peer feedback was just a one word answer. For example, when asked if a submission included "this" or "to identify pieces of the story", I felt most of the answers I saw were "yes". I'd like to get more helpful feedback.

By Melissa C

Mar 2, 2016

The content of the course is very useful and delivered in a structured and effective way. I enjoyed the writing assignments and feedback opportunities. My only complaint is that there are a great number of people auditing the course and we had to create our own google community to share and get feedback as the assignments and feedback sections of the course are locked for all of the non-paying students.

Other than that is was very enjoyable and informative.

By Jane D

Jul 16, 2019

The course was really helpful and cleared a lot of things for me, answered numerous questions I had had about the writing process. Additionally, it gave me lots of useful tips and tools to use in difficult situations.

The downside is the people who are supposed to give you feedback and do not really feel like it so they just leave the spaces for feedback with a letter or just give very short replies (some of the peers are very helpful though).

By Almira S H

Oct 10, 2018

I thought this course was excellent, it offered a lot of concrete ways to improve writing. I always like courses that can take abstract concepts especially in writing and break it down into lists and steps. I do wish that at least one of the assignments could be reviewed by the actual professor for feedback, rather than just peers. Some of the peer comments were very helpful, but others were just basic one word answers that didn't really help.

By Jorge C R C

Aug 4, 2020

The only reason I don't give it a 5-star rating is that I would like some kind of interaction with the mentor-professor of the course. Besides, there were a lot of foul play scenarios when expecting a review of my assignments: often received answers from students stating that they had reviewed my assignments but they actually didn't, tricking you into believing you were one step closer to achieve revisions, other than that, I love the course

By Rebecca P

Jan 10, 2023

The course is very well planned and I enjoyed the modules with Brando Skyhorse. My suggestion would be to set up small groups at the beginning of the course so that there can be more banter and questions answered during peer review time. Although I think peer review is very valuable in the learning process, it would have been nice to have at least 1 assignment 'graded' and feedback given from a mentor/teacher. Someone who really knows.

By Sandra J G

May 1, 2024

Course content and exercises are so good = they are worth 5 stars. However, the peer reviews on exercises are failing miserably in that most people don't even bother filling in the answers to the questions with any real content, just a few nonsensible characters to get past the required field system checks. Thus, I down graded overall to 4 star. Disappointing peer but I will pursue genuine feedback in writing groups. Recommend.

By Anete W

Dec 9, 2020

The course really helped me learn more about creative writing and how to organise my thoughts and ideas on paper. I liked that we were able to read the works of our fellow learners and learn from each other. I would have liked if somebody from the University (teaching staff) had also evaluated my work, not only other people who have signed up for the course. That would have been even more valuable for me and my future writing.

By Daniel C N T

May 22, 2023

The content of the course is good, it is very dynamic and interesting. Interviews with other professors and authors complement the instructor's proposals. The only thing that can be improved is the feedback on the tasks, since on occasions I have had to rate tasks that contain nonsense letters. The course was launched in 2016 and it would be convenient for the instructors to update the contents to the present, if possible.

By Kaveh V

Mar 6, 2016

While this course was interesting, it seemed very light. There was only about 10 or so minutes of 'content' a week, plus some interviews (which were very interesting, but didn't feel as though they taught too much). The assignments were all good except for the third one about the physical object. It was a weird prompt and not in a good way.

I would recommend this course, but I'd also love to see it expanded a bit.

By Sarah L

Sep 7, 2020

Get back to the basics with this course! An excellent foundation and a good reminder of what may have been learned in school many years ago. The work is only peer reviewed, so the feedback was hit and miss. Some of the co-learners lacked basic English language skills, so reading the material and feedback submitted was a bit more challenging. Overall, if you are looking to hone up your skills, take this class!

By Deleted A

Apr 11, 2019

This course was good for giving me ideas about how to write and develop a plot for writing. It was also good for connecting me with people who could read my writing and give feedback. I'm not sure that should be considered an actual full college course, but it was definitely helpful. I have more confidence now and I am currently taking the second course in the Creative Writing specialization.

By Siddharth G

Sep 18, 2018

It is well structured course, and allows students to have better understanding of the core concepts that play out in writing. Moreover, this course would be more helpful if they provide feedback tailored to each student's essay. While having students asses each other helps improve their writing style, the personal feedback from a professional can highlight points that other may have overlooked.

By Becky C

Aug 2, 2017

Great lectures; excellent springboard for crafting scenes and plots. Good practice with the concept of "show, don't tell." Peer review is a great way to keep cost down, but can be difficult because it's possible to finish the course so quickly. In the last two weeks it was difficult to find a peer reviewer and it seemed like many of the more skilled writers in the class had already moved on.

By Varun U

Aug 7, 2019

The course helped me learn to apply some structure to my writing, which I felt I was lacking before. However, the motivation behind the rules that were set down in the lectures and assignments were not made clear, in my opinion. I would love to see more bad examples showcased, for instance, where the writer has flouted some/all rules of writing a good plot, and how it affects the reader.

By Umair N

Nov 6, 2017

This course was great, the coursework and professor included. The only thing that cost this course one start from me was that the peers are mostly not qualified for this type of work, and considering this is a peer graded course, if there are errors in your writing, maybe you should take a course on English grammar and vocabulary rather than an advanced creative writing specialization.