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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Write Your First Novel by Michigan State University

253 ratings

About the Course

WRITE YOUR FIRST NOVEL From - The 30 Most Popular Online Courses of 2020 "Write Your First Novel" made the list at #15 If you’ve ever had the dream, the desire or even just a vague notion that you would like to write a novel, this course is for you. Whether you are a full-time student, have a full-time job, a family to take care of or all of the above, you can do it. Really! And I will help you get there. In this Course, you will write your first novel. Many people say they have often thought about writing a novel and are planning to do it someday, but very few ever actually do. However, in this course, you will do it. You will learn how to form a basic idea, any idea, into a structure and discipline that will allow you to create, write and complete a fully-realized novel ready to submit for publication. If you have any concerns regarding the protection of your original work, Coursera's privacy policy protects the learner's IP and you are indeed the sole owners of your work. Here is a link to a trailer for the course. To view the trailer, please copy and paste the link into your browser. Learner review: "It was a great experience, I really enjoyed it." In Write Your First Novel, you’ll learn to break down your creative endeavor into components and you’ll discover a process that will allow you to do what few have done: produce and complete a full-length work of fiction in the form of a 50,000-word novel. Learner Review: "You teach storytelling like no other teacher. I cannot put in words how much I appreciate it. This daily writing, and the product that comes with it, have been a great mental support during the pandemic time. Art is a support for life, as Stephen King said, and thanks to you I experienced it first-hand during this time. I think I will keep writing 500 words per night for the rest of my life. I owe it to you. You taught me how to write a novel, and it works every time. Huge thanks, and wishing you all the best." I am a proponent of experiential learning (also known as active learning). My lectures are short and to the point, designed in a step-by-step process essential to your success as a writer. I will guide you, I will show you how to get there, hopefully I will inspire you. You will learn through your own activity - which is writing! I firmly believe that the only way to become a writer is to write, write, write! Learner review: "As a published author, I took this course to relearn the skills. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every lecture and quiz. This course was very, very helpful and the videos were very well executed. Cheers!" Writing fiction is a truly beautiful thing. Putting your own words on a page to tell a story which enters your readers minds and allows them to share the thoughts, emotions and lives of your characters is a very satisfying, rewarding experience. Learner review: "BEST TEACHER EVER! LOVE THE COURSE."...

Top reviews


Oct 10, 2022

This course provided the structure and accountability I needed to write my first novel. It was low pressure and fun. I loved reading the comments from my fellow writers and reading their submissions.


Dec 7, 2022

I loved this course! The pacing was good. The instructor was clear without being too wordy and the feedback was helpful and appropriate. I would definitely recommend this course to a friend.

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1 - 25 of 108 Reviews for Write Your First Novel

By Joy T

Oct 23, 2020

This course does nothing to teach me how to write a novel. "Write an idea. Write a logline. Write a character description. Write chapter one." Yeah, I can manage that without somebody telling me. It teaches me NOTHING about plot development, character interaction, how to create any obstacles or conflicts that echo or feed the plot. There isn't even a mention of using things like character development templates. We are supposed to write chapters with nothing but a logline and a character description to base it on.

This is not a class, it's just a set of assignments with no useful instruction or support. I am very disappointed.

By Mare

May 12, 2020

No teaching and no deadlines. Didn't work for me.

By Gabriela H

Jun 15, 2020

First 2 weeks of the program were great, really god. But after that, the teacher repeated the same stuff. I would ONLY RECOMMEND the first 2 weeks.

By Shikha P

Jun 1, 2020

This was one of the worst classes I've ever taken. Interacting with other students was difficult and I couldn't drop the class when I got sick and fell behind. I had all these reviews to catch up on and never managed to. The stress made it very difficult to try and fix things when my file wound up getting deleted. I enjoyed all his other classes and this is the first I've had problems with.

By Leonie V

Aug 4, 2020

Non-existant content, lack of usable feedback from peers, writers' group mechanism is not workable on this platform, and long periods of time that a section cannot be completed (if at all) because there is nothing to review.

If I have to learn from other online sources and use other platforms to get and give feedback on my and my peers' writing, why bother doing this course?! And I made the mistake of paying for the course - total waste of money.

By R R

Jul 28, 2020

The lectures are nothing more than the “instructor” stating the next assignment. It is a free course, so I suppose this shortcoming falls under the heading of “you get what you pay for”!

By Tommy D

Apr 14, 2020

Fantastic course! The lectures are easy to understand and they give all the necessary information needed to make your first novel! You don't just listen, you actually learn and do activities. You can also get great feedback from your fellow peers and aspiring authors. Definitely worth joining!

By George F

Nov 2, 2020

The course is a catastrophe and demonstrates the parallel of coursera's new policy of barring unenrollment.

By Sylvia D

Jun 7, 2021

Excellent course.

Would like to see some type of follow up. course.

Character development? Plot ideas? Creative writing?

Thank you, Professor Wheeler!

By Jerusha N

Jan 30, 2021

If you have No Idea how to start a novel, and need constant hand-holding, need constant validation from strangers, and don't mind having zero support from the "instructor" (in this case, a couple dozen recorded videos, but not really any involvement from anyone other than your "peers") then this is the course for you! I don't really have confidence in the "honor system" being the only safety net for your ideas not being stolen, but if you trust it, go for it.

By Judy P M

Aug 26, 2020

I received so many great comments form other the writers. I tried to give uplifting positive advice in return. I am so glad I took this course. Thank you to all the writers who read my work. My debut novel, Still Crazy is coming April 1, 2021. I can't wait to post my certificate from Michigan State University on all of my social media accounts. Thank you for your dedication to our writing careers. Best, Judy Prescott Marshall.

By Andrew M

Apr 6, 2021

This course is a fantastic idea. I have studied half a dozen creative writing courses, such as by Iowa Uni, but this takes the urge to write to the next logical step. Given the availability of self publishing it has the potential to take amateur enthusiasts forward to taking that step. BUT, a course with no content has no value. The premise of this course is that the mentor just needs to encourage, and the resulting motivation, discipline of daily writing, and feedback from peers will do the rest. This is huge contrast to the teaching, assignments, literature references and community discussions on courses such as that on compiler writing. It is not explained by any difference between creative and technological courses. Worse, it fails as an approach as the peer review is beyond poor, unstructured and often not timely. The approach taken by the course is just as haphazard as, say, uploading text to WattPad and hoping for the best. The practical problems with the course are: a) APPALLINGLY BAD, VERY THIN ON THE GROUND, UNSTRUCTURED FEEDBACK, EG, "Seems good, nothing to add" b) No way to correspond directly with those providing feedback c) no way to edit or correct chapter submissions d) no way to correct formatting errors when you cut and paste text for submissions e) No way to control the selection of work you get to review or follow chapter by chapter those you have reviewed earlier (other than pop luck) f) No help setting up groups or support for those in groups that fail f) No practical guidance other than have a beginning middle and end and stick to 500 words a day g) The discussion fora are mostly about frustration and confusion. Where is the tutor intervention and feedback? I joined a Slack group in Week 1. It was closed down by its administrator before Week 2 as she told me that one or more of the others in the group had no work ethic, could not take positive criticism and were rude and insulting. I doubt this was an isolated incident. I have completed 30+ reviews in the first few weeks, and excepting non sensical or blank submissions, I have tried to write several paragraphs in feedback covering impressions, my personal response and ideas relevant to a better experience for the generic reader. I get a trickle of reviews on my own work, only two out of, say, ten have offered anything useful. Most are one or two sentences. Overall, to date I am hugely disappointed by this wasted opportunity. If I were paying to get a certificate, I would be angry.

By Phoebe C

May 2, 2020

This course helped me as a writer because of the teacher. He was not a quick talker, but he was not a slow talker. He was very understanding. I really would love to get teached by him again.

By Ian F

Mar 1, 2020

Great format. I'm already making progress. Some discipline to write certainly helps but I like the presenter's style.

By Rebecca M

Nov 19, 2020

This course felt very unguided I didn't even know what I was suppose to do it was a jumble of text with different options and no clear guidance as to what I was suppose to do no video no clear start page etc. There is literally no teacher. Didnt like it I didnt even start it as I could tell it would be very complicated and confusing.

By lesley g

Jun 23, 2021

an excellent course for the fledgling writer. Broken down into manageable weekly targets and teaches that focus and organisation really help towards achieving that dream.

By Gemma T

Aug 31, 2021

The course it's been really disappointing... I put long reviews to my peers, giving as much constructive feedback as I can and in exchange I get really short 'well done' 'good' or nothing at all. Still waiting for a review on chapter 2 which I published more than a week ago and for chapter 1 just two short ones that don't help me at all. I think the algorith should not allow short reviews as people do it to just get them done but not really read your work. And also make sure everybody is going to get at least 5 as we are forced to give 5 also... The creation of groups is a disaster, there is no way to do it via the platform... why? People ar not constant at all via email which is really frustrating and a waste of time :( Leaving the course because it's not providing what I expected. A shame.

By Deleted A

Apr 20, 2020


By Growlithe

Jun 16, 2020

It's a very good course, it has a set structure that helps me stay dedicated. It also provides feedback for your work via peer reviews. Peer reviews are great because so many people are helpful and thoughtful, additionally you don't need to wait that long to get reviews. Overall I think its a great course but I would have liked more assistance in terms of writing/character development.

By Mary H

Sep 11, 2020

I would lessen the peer review number we have to do. Reading 5 chapters a week is a bit much for someone who has to write, work, family, and other things going on. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the course.

By Crystal V D A

Oct 14, 2020

I thought the professor provided great insights and education surrounding the writing process. I ended up un-enrolling from the course due to the lack of in-depth feedback. The only feedback given is peer-review and unfortunately most reviews were very short and unhelpful. I have chosen to seek a writing group outside of Coursera

By Ayan C

Sep 21, 2020

It is a course which teaches you punctuality, time table/ Daily routine management, and ofcourse helps you to write a good novel. The course format is very easy to understand and its elements like peer reviews, weekly work submission, table read round helps the learner in the best possible way. I would highly recommend it to those who want to be a part time or a full time Author. I learned a lot from this course. Thank You!

By Dee K

Aug 1, 2020

I like the course structure and the videos. But, I am lacking feedback for my work. This is frustrating after putting in a lot of effort to complete the assignments. I have also seen claims in some of the discussion forums that plagiarism is occurring. This is troublesome. I would appreciate some guidance from the instructor about my concerns.

By Gertrud T M

Jun 25, 2021

I wondered why I never got personal feedback on my novel from a professional writer. I would have loved to get professional feedback. However, on the other side, the process to stick to 500 words per day 5 days a week, submitting each week a chapter, and doing the group reading each act turned out a good process I was able to stick to. I have to admit that I have taken in parallel the four modules of the creative writing course. I would have never been able to write the book I wanted to write for years. Now I ended up with one first volume of three in a total.

Thank you for having me brought up to this level.

PS: the technical process that one cannot edit a chapter is cumbersome, that Coursera repeatedly shut down the saving process.... this is very hard to take.

Much feedback has been not helpful, and some are, so, I took those and indeed they inspired me to change things.

By Danial S

Oct 3, 2020

This novel writing course was impressive where I have learned how to use my creativity to convey to others what I want to share as a writer with them. I took this course with pleasure through the entire step-by-step process that helped me complete a full-length piece of fiction in English. Of course, this process helped me write my novel. Writing regularly helps to keep yourself in good shape, teaches to be disciplined and promotes orderliness. Without a doubt, I will use these tools and techniques in the future in my writing and teaching practice. Thank you for such a thoughtful and quality course.