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

4,758 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


Nov 4, 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.


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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1501 - 1525 of 1,607 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

By Sophia G

Feb 18, 2022

Super good. But just a few videos.

By María d P E A L

Oct 8, 2021

Assignments were of high value


Sep 4, 2020

I learn a lot about this course

By Nicolás G

Aug 6, 2021

Very good, but too short

By Rima A

Nov 2, 2017

Its a wonderful course.

By Eternally P

Apr 10, 2020

Very engaging course

By Sukanya K S

Oct 12, 2016

Beginner level..

By Norrarat S

Sep 25, 2017

good to know


May 9, 2020

Good Course

By Deleted A

Oct 17, 2017

Pretty good

By Nazma P

Sep 14, 2022

Its good


Jan 10, 2021



Aug 30, 2020


By Justin S

Nov 21, 2020

The course pursues an agenda more than teaching to inform or instruct. The topics are listed to the subjective agenda of the course creators, and the excuse given is that too many people signed up for the course, so, it has to be peer reviewed. Scientific papers are peer reviewed, for obvious reasons and in the most objective context. The only time creative writing should be peer reviewed is in pursuing a graduate degree and before a qualified degreed panel.

This method could be attributed to laziness on the part of the course creators, but based on the excuses given, it’s social engineering. For example, for the second writing assignment, the students should be given a choice on what they want to write about, so long as they meet the syntax criteria and for written grammar and creative writing. The ABDCE method is not the only method for creative writing

Further, most of the students doing the peer review do not have the qualifications a seasoned professional teacher or teacher’s assistant has. The review is subjective and not objective. Subjectivity is not the best nor a good standard for grading someone.

By denise p

May 4, 2022

I think course content and assignments were very good. I am not thrilled with the peer reviewed grading either from a submission point of view or from a reviewer point of view.

Some of the writing is so bad it's hard to even begin to give feedback. One story I tried to review was just a stream of characters and one was a copied page from Orpheus in the Underworld complete with links to subplots.

Some of the reviews given to me didn't make any sense in regard to what I wrote. Some reviewers leave comments that aren't even english.

Also, I found the software in the app terrible. I would write my stories in Pages and then cut and paste them to find all of my formating gone. I would reformat it in the coursera app but it would all disappear upon submission. If I tried to use the website, things were a bit better.

I wanted very much to love this course and continue, however, between peer reviewed grading in both directions and a poor app, I decided to not continue through the other four modules.

Good content and instructors, poor online experience.

By Sarah S

Feb 29, 2016

The videos are quite interesting, though I think they are overly committed to very specific techniques. I did not, however, find the assignments and peer review system very helpful. People had a tendency, particularly on the first assignment, to read in requirements that were not actually stated or written down and failed people accordingly. There also does not seem to be enough people to review all of the assignments, either--perhaps due to the paywall for assignments. The very nature of the peer review system also guarantees you see a real range on the individual criteria you are evaluated on and the depth of the review. This exacerbates the very harsh "0 or 1" point option for all assignments (i.e. either you get a 1 and pass or you get a 0 and fail).

Bottom line: I think the course materials are useful and at the very least interesting for developing writers, but I'm not sure it's worth the $79 entry fee to gain access to the peer review, unless you really need or want the course certificate.

By Cherie R

May 19, 2021

Hello I have found the craft of plot very helpful, especially following the classic formula of ABDCE. It was very enjoyable to do the assignments that all fulfilled the points of each lesson. It was also enjoyable reviewing my fellow students' work. I learned a lot from their examples. However, the course did have weaknesses as well as the above strengths. I thought some of the guest appearances were not as interesting and informative as I initially hoped they would be. (However, the presenter was very good and spoke with clarity.) Finally, I have found it difficult to make my way around the web pages for each week. For example, now that I have finished the course, I can't seem to access my fellow students' assessment of my assignments. Very frustrating. I think overall Coursera needs to review its website from the point of view of the end users -- i.e. students!

By Gordon W

Sep 9, 2023

I learned a lot and enjoyed the video lectures. I feel that my writing skills were strengthened by working through the exercises. I have two suggestions for improvement:

The peer review process. (1) was disappointed in the feedback of some of my peers who did the bare minimum, or did not respond to the questions. Students who don't complete good peer reviews should not pass the course. (2) I think four is too many peer review assignments. Two would be more reasonable.

There should be at minimum a screening for English language ability to enroll in the course. It is wonderful that the Coursera community is so multilingual, it is frustrating to try to give feedback to a story with limited English. I had more than a few of these stories in my peer review.

Overall, it is not worth $49 a month.

By Kyle M

Aug 17, 2020

The instruction part of it was ok, but the peer review aspect was severely flawed. Asking us to peer review items with people that are not native speakers and do not have a handle on sentence structure, meaning of words, grammar, etc. was difficult at best. I am convinced a lot wrote in their native language and then just used a translator software and called it good. I'm not knocking non-native English speakers taking the class. It had a lot of good information and they should absolutely benefit from the course. However, asking native speakers to grade their work is unfair. Out of the 12 that I was supposed to grade, 10 of them weren't native speakers. Frustrating ... especially when I had to wait weeks after the course to get my items peer-reviewed and wait to end the course ...

By Otto M

Mar 9, 2021

Basically I'm satisfied. I gained some useful insights into building a plot for a story. The assignments forced me to think creatively within a well-defined and challenging set of requirements. Those were good exercises. I have booked the next package (Character Development).

EXTREMELY UNSATISFACTORY is the feedback from some other "students." Some feedback clearly came from real students who read my submission and offered constructive critical comments that directly addressed my submission. But too often the feedback was just a one-word comment: Yes, Good, Fine (never No, Bad or Poor). That is not feedback. I don't even believe it's real, in the sense that it comes from someone who actually read my submission. Coursera - this is something you can fix.

By David E G C

May 10, 2016

-Made on 10/05/2016- Low quantity of information and resources. For the cost , is not even near to other moocs. Block the sending and sharing of activities, and unable the peer evaluation because of a required payment, really handicap the learning and the quality of the course. If I pay a Mooc, is becouse of a strong quality and substantial learning; this two lacking in this course. I can give you a list of other moocs around this and other subjects (film, writing, mat, entrepreneurship, photography...) for you to make relations and compare structures. Please revise this course, you have nice video edition and the teacher is good, and willing to teach, but the global course is missing several things. I encourage you to take my words.

By Christian B

Jul 30, 2022

You can argue whether Freytag's Pyramid or ABDCE are the best way to go about teaching structure to write a novel, but that's a side quibble. My main issue with the course is the feedback system: I am at a stage in my writing journey where my main need is feedback from somebody who knows what they are talking about, and I am willing to pay money for it. I would have expected that at least the capstone course would provide that kind of feedback. Student feedback can be fine IF the prof is sitting at the head of the table and steering the conversation to the real issues. I don't need to know that "this reads well, I enjoyed it" - I need to know where it can be improved...

By Annie D

Mar 24, 2016

Overall, I sincerely think this course was useful to me. I did learn, and that is great. I got some good advice from the reviewers. And I appreciated most of the videos, especially the shop talks.

But I wish the instructor or his staff were more present in the discussion area, and I would have preferred a better written material. The transcripts are not formatted. They are completely raw and difficult to use.

Furthermore, I don't think it is normal that people duly registered to the class have difficulties to get their 3 reviews. Too many people have to ask for it in the forums.

In conclusion, a good course with good video material, but a lack of presence and organization.

By Michel L

Jul 19, 2019

The lectures are pretty good, and the assignments as outlined in the course are good as well. My criticisms are: 1) No actual interaction with the instructors of course, as suspected of course, I suppose; 2) There don't seem to be enough moderators, because the concerns I've raised in the past (in one of the other courses in the specialization mainly) go unanswered; 3) coursera support are useless for anything nontechnical; 4) Peer review is no enforceable at all, and since (2) and (3) are limited, you're left begging on the discussion forums for more reviews as time passes by, i.e., as you inch closer towards paying for an extra month of the subscription.