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.
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 mohamed m•
par Ryheb Y•
par wisdom f•
par Favour W O•
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par sameer k•
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par Wanda J•
I enjoyed this course very much. The professor's lectures were easily understood and followed, and the guest speakers made each module much more clear. My only problems with the course were actually not with the course itself, but rather with the way the course is presented. Some things have been changed since the last time I took a Coursera course, namely the discussion forums, and personally I don't like the change. (Maintaining the same discussion forum, rather than having a new one for each successive group of learners. ) Learners are already being presented with a lot of information which, in some cases, can be difficult to grasp, and now they are also being asked to search through the forums to find someone they can ask for help, who may or may not still be around. Between that and trying to figure out where/who to ask for reviews so that you can get a grade for your work, it's a bit frustrating, All in all though, it's a good course.
par Yuko M•
Great course with clear instructions mostly by watching a video (with text). I truly enjoyed this course and how thorough it was. I especially like the structure of the video--introduction, example, and interview with a novelist. Contrary to the course description, it's not meant for non-fiction writers. It's meant exclusively for aspiring novelists. I would recommend this course if you are a beginner. Intermediate or advanced students would find this too basic. It's beneficial mostly if you want to earn a certificate and mention it on your resume. If you're looking for a comprehensive course, I would look elsewhere because the course only touches the surface. Workshopping lacked constructive input from peers so if you're looking for peers to review your work, don't count on it. Teachers don't critique your work either. But, overall, course is well made, clear and a great boost for aspiring writers (beginner stage, though).
par Julio B•
Among the best online introductory plot courses you're like to find. Brando Skyhorse is an outstanding teacher and writer. And the guest lecturers were outstanding as well.
As a teacher myself, I thought some of the assignments needed some tweaking, but, overall, they were solid exercises. And the students seem lovely.
1) Make it a LIVE WORKSHOP style class. It would make for a lot of fun. Of course, you'd need the teacher present and interacting with the students, and that might prove problematic and impractical.
2) Make a certain level of English language proficiency a prerequisite for enrolling in the course. This is probably impractical as well given the open access nature of the course, but it would make understanding the stories less challenging. Still, I love the open access aspect of this offering, because I love interacting with students from around the world, both as a student and lecturer.
par Elizabeth P•
I learned a lot about the basics of creative writing through this course. If you're thinking of writing, but you're not sure where to start, or if you have been writing a while but need more direction, this is a great course to take. The instructor, Brandon, explains the concepts in a way that's easy to understand and uses examples from common literary works. My only problem with the course is the peer review system. It's a great opportunity to reflect on your own writing while reviewing others' work, however I feel that not many people took advantage of this opportunity. I've had some good feedback, some not so helpful, and some people who just put a single letter "z" in the feedback answer boxes just to get through the peer review section. Maybe implementing a minimum word count for the peer review would help.
par Ryan K•
Brando's guidance through the course was insightful and easy to digest, and the module assignments were enjoyable. Some of the 'Shop Talk' videos felt a little unstructured and it wasn't always evident just what they added to the learning experience -- other than reinforcing the topics described in the direct teaching segments.
The primary challenge with this course is the feedback system. Even though the approach to feedback is detailed in a standalone video, the substance of each review varies from one-word answers that offer zero tangible feedback, to detailed responses with a clear understanding of the course material. This is ultimately a critique of the Coursera platform, however as peer feedback is a vital part of this course, more emphasis could be made on the value of offering a substantive review.
par Peter P•
This "Craft of Plot" class--taught by Mr. Skyhorse--covers the ABDCE method, the 21 point checklist, etc. Stories written in this class must have dialogue, at least ten points of rising action, and must begin with an action sequence. No, this is not an "organic" story writing method. This class teaches students how to use formulaic writing to artificially engineer stories efficiently and effectively. I was very disappointed with this class. I enjoy reading literary fiction, especially stories in The New Yorker. So it is no surprise that I was appalled by Mr. Skyhorse's strong focus on, and praise of, the Harry Potter book series. If you plan on writing formulaic genre fiction, then perhaps this class is for you. Even though I disliked the class, I must admit it was well taught, hence the 4/5 star review.
par Yogesh N•
The video lectures are very nicely done. They outline the basics of how a story line (Plot!) should be, how the characters should be developed and how scenes should be depicted.
The tips given are practical and clearly defined - even for noobs
The course motivated me to write, to refine my thoughts while writing and since there was always pressure of peers reviewing my work - I always revised what I wrote. I discovered that revision helps immensely, and I found I could express the same things in better ways and using lesser words
Some students did have difficulties in understanding assignments - something that can get better with time. Also, I felt some learners received the brunt of bad grading since the grading guidelines weren't clear. Shaving off 1 star due to that
par judy t•
I would have given this course 5 stars except for the grading. The only reviewers of your work are fellow students. Some of them do a good job telling you what they liked about the writing and some do not just answering "yes or no" to questions asked. It would be nice if a TA or other students actually in the writing courses at Wesleyan read your work. I have learned a lot and I have liked the assignments but that is where the value has stopped. I know there are too many students for the faculty to grade or even read our work but it would be much more valuable if we really knew how we are doing. The discussion board is sporadically attended and really of no value. Feedback is important in writing and this is the part of these courses that is missing.
par salima h•
Good class, good lectures. The plot devices taught are very specific, but helpful for beginning writers for whom conflict, and movement are not easy. I'm a beginning writer and I struggle with finishing a story because at some point I just think, well now what? what's supposed to happen?
The class helps you push the characters into conflict, and make choices, which is the heart of a good story.
My only complaint - the assignments were so structured that they were tedious. the peer reviews in this class were also painful. Reading other people's work, I felt like perhaps we needed less structure and more space to practice simpler techniques.
But overall, i'm using what I've learned in my writing, and its definitely helped!
par Ineke H•
The content of the course deserves 5 stars. Usefull content presented in a logic and comprehensive way. The story I´m working on now benefitted from what I learned during this course.
Doing the peer reviews was a quite frustrating experience. Many students didn´t write in accordance with the given instructions. When you take the time to write a story I expect you try to do your best, at least when you know others have to spend time on reviewing your story.
The feedback that was given was sometimes nothing more than a yes or no to a question asked. Quite disappointing. I´m interested in the readers experience and that´s why I do my best when I write my submission.
3 stars at most for this part of the course.
par Sumita F•
The first 3 weeks of lectures were really useful for starting off the writing process with focus-very clear material with very clear instructions. The remaining lectures flagged a bit--too many guests made it distracting. I think it would have been more useful to keep reinforcing the Rising Action-Scene structure and ABDCE structure with more solid examples. I did like the questions posed for reviewing other writers works, it made the review very constructive. However, it was also evident that some students were not following directions for the assignment and submitting "something" in the hopes of scoring a 1. How does Wesleyan university maintain a standard for submission?
par Karen P•
I really enjoyed this course. Brando Skyhorse is an excellent teacher and provided a lot of practical advice on how I can improve my writing. The writing exercises/prompts were also very insightful and made for good practice. The only aspect I found lacking was the peer reviews on the exercises, which is no fault of this course's creators. I received several one-word responses in the feedback section which benefits no one. If you're going to take this course and expect others to read and analyze your work, please return the favor! So just a caveat, you may not receive any (useful) feedback on your work but you will be provided with helpful materials in the course itself.
par Klurisa H•
The course work is easy to follow, full of great information and very clear. The only thing I find inconsistent is the reviewing of others work. It seems no-one ever gets reviewed by the same person twice, which means the standard of reviews is varied and inconsistent. Also, many people may not be/feel qualified enough to review or feel bad about failing someone so wont. There can be a great deal learned by having mentors or qualified teachers review the work. Given that, I have learned a great deal in this course and understand, and think it's one of the best online courses I've seen. I also understand you get out what you put in. Thanks for the opportunity.
par Kelly K•
I learned so much through this course! And am excited to be moving on to the next one. Take the time to really absorb what you are being taught. Make sure to watch the author "Spotlight" videos - so many good lessons are in them. The reason for 4 instead of 5 stars is because of the Peer Review system and the forums in general. Both systems need work and the forums need a moderator. Sometimes feedback consists of "good", or "k" and as a writer, how am I supposed to use that kind of critique to improve my writing? Forums are rampant with "REVIEW MY STORY!!!" and very little actual discussion about what we learned that week which was disappointing.
par Rachel S•
I enjoyed this course. Brando's videos were great, I took lots of notes and used them to help complete the assignments. Over the years I've picked up books on the craft of writing but I find the motivation of deadlines to be a big help in actually creating a writing practice. The videos are short- the time commitment is really not bad. Reader feedback can be more or less involved, I did find a pretty good mix. It'd be nice if you could keep pace with the same group of students but people are entering at different times within a range so you can't keep up with individuals unless you want to spend a lot of time tracking them down.