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.
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 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 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.
Lots of great information. Most helpful for me was the story structure. My whole life I've been taught the same structure, either the 3-Act Hollywood Standard as told by Blake Snyder and Vikki King, or Chris Vogler's The Mythic Structure. It was nice to have a new approach. My only disappointment is that many genres, although follow a similar story structure, each genre has genre-specific elements. I was hoping that I'd learn the particularities of horror, mystery, comedy, and others. There doesn't seem to be much genre-specific information available online, except fantasy and erotica.
par Jessica O•
I enjoyed this course. Brando did a good job in breaking down the important aspects of plot and providing examples. I liked that lessons were concise. Each one contained roughly three videos, most less than 10 minutes. I thought this was very beginner friendly. I found Feyman's pyramid and Alice Adam's ABDCE of plot structure particularly useful and I especially enjoyed the Shop Talk videos where fellow writers discussed their approach to writing. I only audited this course, but it bugged me that my board kept displaying overdue assignments when that feature was locked.
par Surabhi P N•
I finished this course in a single day in roughly about 8 hours, including taking notes and doing writing assignments. The material is quite good, more geared towards the beginner to the concepts of Plot. But, in my favorite parts - the interviews with Amity Gaige and Amy Bloom, I discovered new sides and tones to Character and Setting. And, they now compel me towards doing the rest of the courses in this specialization.
I really wish I could submit my assignments even without the certificate version of the course.
Thank you Mr. Skyhorse and the Coursera team. :)
par Kajal B•
This is a fantastic course especially when it comes to learning regarding the technicalities of plot and how to structure your plot in various ways. The best part of the course is it dares you to change your narrative style from passive to active, which could be quite difficult but is a great experience. The course is intriguing and instructions are clear with amazing examples. Not only did I learn to structure my plot and my story coherently, this course enabled me to acquire a deeper understanding of various texts that I read, which is fantastic!
The course contains valuable essential information, clearly delivered. I appreciated having regular assignments and deadlines. I would have preferred that my work was reviewed by mentors, and not by peers. As students, we are all trying to learn as we go; and I could have benefited from more experienced guidance. I also wish there was a direct way to ask for content clarification, rather than the Discussion section. Perhaps there was, and I just didn't see it. Over all, the course was absolutely worth my time and I would recommend it.
par Gabriel L L d S•
This is a very well crafted course! I enjoyed it a lot and now I'm more excited to keep going with the specialization. Also, Brando Skyhorse is such a nice teacher!
As other people have reviewed, I did miss professional feedback. I mean, I really enjoyed all the tips my peers gave me and I'm really grateful for them. However, professional feedback would be so helpful.
In summary, this course has helped me a lot to start developing the habit of writing and writing every draft better. Thank you so much for everyone involved in this amazing course! ;)
par S J P•
I loved the course. The videos were concise and helpful. The assignments had tight word counts, but they were purposeful. I’m really pleased with what I was able to produce. The only drawback for me was the lack of conscientious feedback. For the first three assignments, I received a few thoughtful comments from one or two of the reviewers. For the last and most important assignment, the feedback was perfunctory, one word sentences like “yes” and “good.” I plan to complete the whole 5-part creative writing specialization.
par Sampo B•
This course is great for everyone interested in working on their writing skills, whether you're a beginner or more experienced. As a novice writer I learned about several useful tools that will help me improve my writing, got a lot more practice, and having a schedule helped me improve my daily routine for writing. For me the most valuable part was getting feedback and learning through analysing other people’s work. Oh, and just because the description says 1-2 hours of work per week doesn't mean you can't do a lot more!
par Elizabeth E•
The exercises are good, and the material is clear. I really like that the students have to review each other's work. I found the feedback helpful, and I found reading other people's work helpful too. I really would like a teacher to grade me as well though. There were a couple of times that I wasn't certain that I fully understood what I was doing, so to have me grade someone else left me feeling unguided and unqualified to assign a grade. I believe I got feedback saying just that at least once.
Pretty good class; good information. The classmates are engaged and have good feedback to give.
I'm frustrated at the lack of instructor (or even staff presence) until at least week 3, when finally a staff member answered *one* of the many student questions that have been piling up.
Students are a great resource for critiquing work, but we can't help each other with technical questions, or with assignment clarifications. So there *definitely* needs to be staff on hand for that.
par Gabriel T•
Brando did a great job in presenting a structure for plot. I think his insights are valuable and he did tried to offer practical guidelines writers can use.
What I didn't like was the reviewing of the assignments. Some times I didn't receive valuable feedback ( the same sentence copy/pasted in every section) and someone failed me for not understanding my intentions because he was not an English speaker.
Away from that, I really liked Brando, his style, and his involvement.
par Geoff N•
The course itself has been really useful, although I'm not sure it has taught me much that is truly new. What It has done, though, is to fill in gaps, and to give me a big helping hand into understanding how to tackle what to write about. Beforehand, I suffered somewhat from blank canvas syndrome, but this course has given me ideas to get past that. The Coursera site and app could still do with some work, since collaboration with other students is not as easy as it could
par Tania R F•
This was a very good course, but I struggled with it initially, as I felt I had somehow fallen into the deep end of the pool... and had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around some concepts.
This was my own experience of it, but I wonder if students could somehow be 'eased' into it a bit, with more basic concepts, and take off from there.
This is another course that I feel could extend to 6 weeks, or even 5.
The instructor was very good and passionate about his subject.
par Daniel R•
I enjoyed this course and think the material and exercises helped me get going writing for the topic at hand. I think however, I'd like to get more valuable feedback sometimes. I don't think we have any control over it, but it felt that sometimes the peer feedback was just a one word answer. For example, when asked if a submission included "this" or "to identify pieces of the story", I felt most of the answers I saw were "yes". I'd like to get more helpful feedback.
par Melissa C•
The content of the course is very useful and delivered in a structured and effective way. I enjoyed the writing assignments and feedback opportunities. My only complaint is that there are a great number of people auditing the course and we had to create our own google community to share and get feedback as the assignments and feedback sections of the course are locked for all of the non-paying students.
Other than that is was very enjoyable and informative.
par Jane D•
The course was really helpful and cleared a lot of things for me, answered numerous questions I had had about the writing process. Additionally, it gave me lots of useful tips and tools to use in difficult situations.
The downside is the people who are supposed to give you feedback and do not really feel like it so they just leave the spaces for feedback with a letter or just give very short replies (some of the peers are very helpful though).
par Almira S H•
I thought this course was excellent, it offered a lot of concrete ways to improve writing. I always like courses that can take abstract concepts especially in writing and break it down into lists and steps. I do wish that at least one of the assignments could be reviewed by the actual professor for feedback, rather than just peers. Some of the peer comments were very helpful, but others were just basic one word answers that didn't really help.
par Jorge C R C•
The only reason I don't give it a 5-star rating is that I would like some kind of interaction with the mentor-professor of the course. Besides, there were a lot of foul play scenarios when expecting a review of my assignments: often received answers from students stating that they had reviewed my assignments but they actually didn't, tricking you into believing you were one step closer to achieve revisions, other than that, I love the course