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.
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.
par Michael H•
I audited this course after completing two books - a novel and a memoir - that were going nowhere and fast.In both cases I knew I had a great story to tell, but I was telling it poorly. After taking Brando's course, I believe the biggest weakness in each story was my failure to appreciate not only plot generally, but the finer points he discusses here: show, don't tell; the five-act story; the 21 points of editing, and so forth. I've read Stephen King's "On Writing," but too often have dismissed the valuable information therein. Brando's course, both his own teaching and the valuable interviews, I know will make me a better storyteller and, will help me write compelling, plot-driven stories. Whether or not this leads to me getting published - well, hopefully someday I can thank Brando in an "Acknowledgements" page :)
par Patricia H V R•
El curso en general, me hizo aportes muy valiosos que pude aplicar de manera práctica en los ejercicios académicos y creativos que realicé durante el proceso, los cuales me ayudarán mucho en mis producciones narrativas futuras. La metodología me pareció bastante buena, formativa y productiva.
Gracias al instructor, la Universidad y la Coursera, por este capítulo de conocimientos enriquecedores.
Patricia Helena Vélez.
The course in general, gave me very valuable contributions that I could apply in a practical way in the academic and creative exercises I did during the process, which will help me a lot in my future narrative productions. I found the methodology quite good, formative and productive.
Thanks to the instructor, the University and the Coursera, for this chapter of enriching knowledge.
par Erin H•
Thumbs up! I haven't taken a writing class at university before, but I've written a lot over the last few years - I'm a bit of a self-taught amateur. I was looking for guidance in growing my storytelling abilities. I thought this class was fantastic for that, and I feel that I have some more tools in my belt moving forward. Not only that, this class made me excited about writing! I enjoyed the interviews that Brando did with other teachers. Brando as a teacher is fantastic, he is clear and concise, and you can tell he is passionate about writing. On top of that, he has a lovely kind demeanour, which made the videos a pleasure to watch. I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for tools to advance their writing. I'm looking forward to the next class in this series on Character!
The instruction is both brief, very practical and valuable. Assignments get right to the heart of the subject and developing essential skills. As the main instructor said, he worked on a book 18 years revising and reediting. It's great fortune to have access to his lessons learned and encouragement to meet the high standard of writing that makes for a readable/sellable book (not just something that gets published). I found the feedback from the three fellow writers who are t asked with reading and commenting on your samples in the course to be worthwhile. Students were generous with their time and tactful with feedback. It's a good way to be able to anonymously share writing and learn from each other. Great value if you're serious about improving your writing!
par Suzanna D•
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.
par Charles T•
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.
par Valentina B•
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.
par Rahsaan E•
I found the course helpful. I would have loved feedback from the instructor in addition to peer reviews.
par mathieu j•
I thought that your courses were available for free if you were not looking for certificate.
par Frank S•
This course sucks and I am beginning to hate Coursera and everyone associated with it
par Marian F•
A good course that I would recommend to everyone that want to follow a career in creative writing or to improve their passion.
It helped me to acknowledge things that you have to take in account when writing a book.I could not imagine some of this things when I was thinking about an action,and,how to put it on paper and sound good for the reader.
The assignments are very good and you can also complete them in audit only mode , but only for yourself , no one will revive you.
It`s not that easy to write something when you don`t know much things about the structures , how to build a character and so on , but , here you have everything you need and it`s free.
I finished the course in audit only mode but if you have the possibility to buy it , don`t hesitate.
par Vidhi D•
The course in itself is really great. The writing assignments were particularly enjoyable, and even though the lectures consisted of only the basics of good writing, they really did help me with improving my writing skills.
I do have a word or two about the peer reviewed assignments. I have reviewed more than 40 assignments in the time I spent completing the course, and a few assignments were shoddily completed. Moreover, many peers did not give fruitful feedback on assignments. Few gave feedback that gave more insight than "." or "yes". Furthermore, in one week I submitted my story well before the deadline, yet received my grade late.
Apart from the peer review system, I really had a great time with the course! Thank you for reading.
par Anuprava B•
As is repeatedly mentioned, the best part about this course is that it makes you think and get's you to start writing. The little points made (and advice's given) in the short lectures are useful. Like 'Show, don't tell', or the ABDCE structure. The fact that sometimes your developed character just does not want to do certain things and you should have the flexibility to do so. It is all very useful :) The only thing which I perhaps did not like was the quality of some reviews, which I felt were rushed. This is not the course Instructor's fault but maybe Coursera can find a better way to monitor it? Like perhaps flag the reviews that are half-heatedly done so that the author can get more serious reviews on their work.
par Timothy P•
While it was good to get me writing, I didn't feel like any of the exercises really challenged me to think differently about plot than I already did. They felt a little tacky, 'use these ten words in a story' felt like I was in elementary school again. The one assignment I liked was when we were given a scenario (a poisoning happens halfway through the writing and the main character has to choose between getting what they want and the antidote), I liked that and think those prompts help you really think about plot and how to work with it.
par Elizabeth S•
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.
par Liz K•
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.
par Charlotte V•
Very basic course with an extremely limited view on what makes a good plot.
par Betty A•
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!
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.
par Lola J•
lame, plus they charged me even though I didn't want to pay for the certificate.
par Shraddha R•
Did not want to continue this course futher
par Davis M•
this is great course
par B E•
Excellent course material. Brandon Skyhorse is an excellent teacher. I truly enjoyed the work and progress I have made with my writings.
BEWARE! If you are paying for this course or the specialization that comes with four other courses. BEWARE! If you are visually impaired and have your laptop or computer set up for visually impaired. BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE!
The app nor the online through google chrome do not work well when set up for the visually impaired. Buttons you need to see and click disappear so that you have to click around in a dark blue banner and hope you can find the forum.
Your grade and your payments depend on other students. STUDENTS that you have no control over and no way to get them to do work. YOUR work MUST be reviewed by other students to receive your grade and for the charges to your credit card to stop.
So, if you are visually impaired and autistic and not interested in being 'study buddies' with people you do not know and will not ever meet, I suggest you only get the free class and forgo getting any specialization or certificates as you will not be able to find the forums to ask for help when you need them and your credit card will charged over and over until you get a student to do the work of reviewing your work.
par Sebastien M•
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.
par Cynthia D•
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.