Nov 16, 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.
Jul 14, 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.
par Marisela M•
Dec 01, 2016
Great course to take as the first step in the sequence of the "Creative Writing" certification. Exercises are fun, professor provides useful methodology, load is manageable for someone with a day job.
par Charles T•
Jun 15, 2017
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 Timothy P•
Jan 05, 2018
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•
Nov 07, 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.
par Liz K•
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.
par Charlotte V•
Sep 27, 2016
Very basic course with an extremely limited view on what makes a good plot.
par 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!
May 11, 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.
par Lola J•
Jun 19, 2020
lame, plus they charged me even though I didn't want to pay for the certificate.
par Shraddha R•
Jun 13, 2020
Did not want to continue this course futher
par Benjamin W•
Sep 20, 2020
Signed up for Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot on a whim, not knowing the Coursera Platform or much about The Wesleyan Creative Writing Certificate Track.
I was ever in for a TREAT!
This has become the first step forward in my professional writing career. During the first course, I finished a 25-page Fan fiction manuscript. Quick disclaimer, I came with 3 of 7 chapters to the class. But used the four-module assignments to write and perfect the next 4 chapters of my Superman Fan Fiction story. I’m elated with what I have now.
I have decided to continue the track and I enjoy give peer reviews so I’m looking into creating a Coursera Account to apply to become a Coursera Mentor in an upcoming course.
Brando Skyhorse is absolutely wonderful to learn from and his lectures are all logical and easy to follow. You get what you put into this. Go ahead and apply yourself! And do the entire track!
par Erica R•
Apr 30, 2018
I thought this course was very good in breaking down the basics. I learned a lot of helpful information. I highly recommend it, especially for those new to the writing craft.
As a suggestion, it would have been helpful to know all assignments are peer reviewed. Meaning you are responsible for not only writing your homework, but critiquing 3 others as well. Some how I missed this in the course description. You are not done until your reviews are done, then you can move on. If you are like me and don't have the type of job where you can write or even view your course while working, this can be time consuming. Especially when the reviews you need to submit have a deadline. Sometimes it doesn't take much time. Other times writers submit a thesis when the assignment limit was 500 words. Those take much longer. If you are pressed for time, it can be quite frustrating.
par Christie Y•
Aug 01, 2020
This was the first Coursera course I tried and enjoyed it very much. I found the instruction very informative and practical. The writing exercises were helpful as far as forcing me to practice writing and exercise my creativity, which I don’t tend to do on my own. The only thing I was disappointed about is that I didn’t find other users’ feedback/reviews very helpful. I see the value in the process and understand that those individuals who may not yet have advanced writing (or English language) skills can improve those skills through feedback offered by users with better writing skills; however, it’s not really a two-way street. It would be nice if the platform could somehow be improved to ensure everyone benefits equally, such as by matching users by region and/or skill level (whether self-assigned or based on ratings assigned by other users over time).
par Michael H•
Oct 22, 2016
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•
Aug 22, 2020
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•
Jan 22, 2017
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!
Dec 24, 2019
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 Marian F•
Oct 12, 2016
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•
Jul 21, 2020
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•
Dec 18, 2018
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 Sebastien M•
Jul 22, 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.
par Nancy L 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.
par 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. :)
par 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.
par 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.