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

4.7
stars
4,018 ratings
1,352 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

SD
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.\n\nThe instructions are easy to follow, the insights are priceless.

BM
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.

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51 - 75 of 1,343 Reviews for Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

By Elizabeth S

Nov 6, 2016

I couldn't take the instructor seriously. There were too many comparisons to Harry Potter and various three and five act formulas. I wanted something that would be practical and adaptable to the ideas that I'm working on. This just wasn't the right course for me. The assignments felt like they were pointless as well.

By Liz H

Oct 24, 2016

Too prescriptive and prone to lists. "Do these 21 things when editing a novel". If that's what I was looking for, I could search the web for blogs. Maybe this was too beginner focused for me, but I'm not sure I learned anything really useful here.

By Charlotte V

Sep 27, 2016

Very basic course with an extremely limited view on what makes a good plot.

By Justine B

May 4, 2021

Some helpful material but a lot of it was superfluous. Also, you cant 'complete' the course until 3 other people have to review your final assessment before you can pass. This took a very long time and there are lots of posts up on the forum begging for people to review their work. This is a poor format and I would avoid doing classes like this again in the future. Also, because all your submissions are marked by peers, rather than anyone with any actual writing knowledge or experience (and with English as a second language in a lot of cases), the feedback you get often isn't helpful. Peer feedback definitely has it's place, but tutor feedback would have been the most useful. I am really disppointed I paid for this and would strongly discourage others from wasting money on this course or tutor.

By Betty A

Jul 30, 2016

Course is a little formulaic, had trouble making my submissions follow the structure outlined but still, I learnt some useful tips and actually got to just write something orderly.

Liked some of the visiting speakers (the third speaker who talked about character - mature lady, dark hair) was quite good. So was the first gentleman.

Overall, the course is ok but given the strict methodology and requirements for writing, I don't know if I'll make it through the specialisation.

Thank you for reading!

By Morgan

May 10, 2018

Instructor had no idea what he was talking about in his examples. Misused examples routinely, didn't understand their structure or plot. It was like he hadn't even read the examples he was using, someone just gave him notes he was reading off. The other courses have good instructors, I can see why they didn't offer this guy a permanent teaching job.

By Lola J

Jun 19, 2020

lame, plus they charged me even though I didn't want to pay for the certificate.

By Bloody C

Jul 4, 2019

this is great course

By Sebastien M

Jul 21, 2017

There was a lot of great information on this course, so I recommend taking notes. The only down side to this was there is no way of contending a zero mark from peers who do not have good English skills or even a knowledge of how to critique. I had a perfectly good piece which I spent a whole day on working out intricate rhetoric and correct structure, which failed. The peers who failed me said they could not understand the English and another could not recognise the literary form of lyrical narrative. I did, however, put together another piece in less than 5 minutes which passed.

I learnt a lot of great things though from all the professors and look forward to the other courses in the specialisation.

By Cynthia D

Dec 21, 2020

I found the course very helpful. I hadn't taken a creative writing class since High School which was a very, very long time ago and felt I needed a refresher course to start writing fiction again. I balked at the idea of assignments at first but they were very helpful. Student feedback is mixed but for each assignment I was able to get one student reviewer who was very discerning and able to give me both encouragement AND constructive feedback.

I like the structure of the class. In each segment there are short lectures, demonstrations of what the principles and guest writers who are interviewed. The main instructor was very clear. I enjoyed the class and will likely take the other classes.

By Drea H

Oct 21, 2020

I really liked the contents and assignments of the course. It helped me improve my writing. Nevertheless, I think the way peer review is applied in this course needs to be reconsidered. Some people don't seem to take this very seriously or would need more examples of what helpful critiquing is supposed to look like. Unfortunately, this means one doesn't learn much from peer's feedback as quite a few people write just “good” instead of giving real feedback. It's not okay to be able to get a certificate if people don't really do the work that is necessary getting it. Also, it's quite a bummer if you have invested time to write a detailed feedback for someone and get “good” back.

By Nlee L

Oct 10, 2018

I enjoyed the course. The structure of the lessons was easy to follow and understand. The videos of such accomplished writers sharing valuable information was not only helpful but also entertaining.

I've wanted to try my hand at writing for many years. This was an affordable and effective way to do it from the remote Redwoods in California. Reviewing other learners work was more helpful than I had expected it to be. Perhaps the most difficult part of the module, I hope I was as helpful to others as they were to me. I will remember the ABDCE format and hopefully be able to apply it to all my writing in the future. Thank you Brando Skyhorse for you leadership.

By Nancy B

Jul 20, 2020

The course is fabulous and the platform so easy to use. This is the first online course I've taken and I'm surprised how much information was packed into the videos. No time was wasted. Almost every sentence in the transcript of the narration was useful. The guest writers were interesting and their experiences in writing and their own "rules" made it almost feel as if I was in their company. The instructor, Mr. Skyhorse made me wish I had professors that good, and that relaxed, in college. Thanks go to all and to the digital people behind the scenes who made everything work so well even during a pandemic where I'm sure the usage was much higher. :)

By Alicia E

Mar 14, 2020

Submitting assignments in this course was the first time I had ever put any story of mine on the internet for people to read. I had always been self-conscious of my work, but having the assignments as motivation really helped my push past this obstacle. Thank you!

The course has helped me organise my plots better. The structures outline in the modules are easy to understand, and the examples used are well-thought out.

The interviews were the most helpful. The discussions Brando had with the authors were insightful and filled with advice. As someone who still struggles with writing (despite loving it dearly), this was invaluable.

By Joseph S

Oct 28, 2019

I find the videos of Professor Skyhorse to be well-done. In fact, I enjoyed going through them and listening to him talk. There were no difficulties on his part in delivering the material in an organized manner. However, I would have enjoyed getting feedback from the instructor or someone, who has worked closely with him. As students just learning creative writing coursework, none of us really know what we have produced meets the highest or above-average coursework. I would like to know more about the things that work and don't work now instead of learning that I have much to fix down the road.

By Christine W

Sep 1, 2018

I got as much out of this class as I put into it, which is to say, I learned a lot. That being said, I also supplemented what I got out of the lectures with material that I found elsewhere on the web.

This is a really good starter class for creative writing and I would recommend it, but something has to be done about the lack of reviewers since whether learners pass or fail the class is based on those reviews. I'm not sure what the solution is but I do know that it is necessary to go ISO writing clubs on the web or real life with like-minded people seeking feedback on their work.

By Hope M V

Jun 20, 2016

I am very much enjoying how my professor breaks everything down to the simplest form. I find myself applying what I have learned to my everyday writing as well as things I read and watch. He is upbeat and energetic and the assignments are fun! Although he asks for 200 words and I find that difficult because I am accustomed to writing a small novel for each answer, as you can clearly tell from my review of this course.

I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to begin writing or to writers who want a fundamental understanding of what they are already doing.

By Jennifer D S

Jun 7, 2016

Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot is simply one of the best video courses I have found on the subject. Easy to follow, great examples, clearly explained, engaging presentations and assignments, tips from the experts; all those things made this one course I couldn't "put down". Brando Skyhorse comes across as a phenomenal teacher who really knows his subject and truly cares about it, that alone makes the course worth watching. I will definitely be referring back to this again. Keep an eye on the dedication should my novel ever hit the shelves!

By Fernando S

Sep 14, 2020

The videos by writer and professor Brando Skyhorse are very to-the-point, informative and easy to follow, and the interviews with fellow writers help shed light on various aspects of the craft. However, the most important part of the course in my opinion were the writing assignments, and I think they do a good job of challenging students and making us apply the techniques learned. The only problem I think is that there could be more feedback from teaching staff, the only feedback we ever got on our assignments came from fellow students.

By Rochelle S

Aug 20, 2016

Didn't pay to unlock the assignments but still enjoyed it. Lecturer explains points clearly and gives examples from familiar literature. Even if you aren't an aspiring (or struggling) writer, you'll still learn a lot about the structure of good storytelling. Ever wondered why movies and novels seem to follow the same pattern, yet it always works? You'll find out here. Great course. My only regret is that assignment reviews are locked until you pay for them. It would've been nice if only the capstone project required payment.

By David S

May 4, 2018

Retired from a career as writer and occasional editor of technical and non-fiction articles, memos and magazines, fiction writing has for four decades presented an insurmountable obstacle against which I have repeatedly failed to achieve the least understanding... until Wesleyan University offered Creative Writing: The Craft of the Plot. Regardless of my love of fiction, taken both in print and audio, I have never understood the structure underlying the classics and modern works I so adore UNTIL this course. Thank You!

By Tania Y K R V

Feb 5, 2020

If you are a natural writer but still find yourself stuck in hesitation or lack of confidence, this course will help you and encourage you to go deeper into your capacities to challenge yourself and get the best out of those images you are still unsure how to put up into words and share with others. I loved this course, and I urge you to join it and start polishing those ideas wandering in your mind, put your heart and effort to get the best from each insight, and you'll discover the beauty you can produce into a story.

By Dayzzel B

Mar 21, 2017

I love this course. This is the first time I have ever attended a Creative Writing course in University level and the first course I took here in Coursera. The lecture delivery was outstanding, and the content is very essential, very helpful for people looking to find structure in writing. I have re-written a piece I wrote based on the knowledge I learned from this course, and indeed, my re-write is so much better than the original re-write I did. People who have been informally writing will benefit so much from this.

By Nathaniel C

Aug 16, 2021

I got a lot out of this course actually...I did find myself thinking that there should be levels. Perhaps students could selfidentify and be grouped by writing ability. The idea being that then students could be more likely to recieve at least some of their feedback from peers at a similar level or better. It would also be great if Mr. Skyhorse and other faculty were able to provide feedback from time to time. I recognise that these suggestions may not be feasible from a resource standpoint, but...in an ideal world.

By Anna A

Sep 23, 2016

The course materials are really useful as they are not just oversimplified guidelines, but practical skills that I can really utilize in my writing. The constraints in every writing assignment gave me new inspirations as I must come up with something that fits into the constraints. I especially like the interviews with other writers, which are included as part of the course materials. They serve to give me another perspective on the same matter discussed by the teacher and hence to stimulate my own thoughts on it.