Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

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Description

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About this course: In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires. We will examine the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. We will learn how to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arc, pacing and reversals and reveal the inevitable surprise: connecting the beginning, middle and end.

Created by:  Wesleyan University
  • Taught by:  Brando Skyhorse, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

    English

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Creative/Fiction Writing, Reading & Writing, Journalism, Digital Publishing & Editing, and Copy-editing.

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires. We will examine the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. We will learn how to outline and structure a plot, discuss narrative arc, pacing and reversals and reveal the inevitable surprise: connecting the beginning, middle and end.

Created by:  Wesleyan University
  • Taught by:  Brando Skyhorse, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

    English
Basic Info Course 1 of 5 in the Creative Writing Specialization Commitment 4 weeks of study, 1-2 hours/week Language English, Subtitles: French How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.6 stars Average User Rating 4.6See what learners said Coursework

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Wesleyan University At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Plotting a Course



In this module, we'll learn essentials about plot definitions and mechanics. What is plot? How does plot shape a narrative? What makes a strong plot? How is plot different from a story? We'll also discuss how plot works in actual books you're probably familiar with, such as the Harry Potter series, how character and action equals plot, and the five key questions you should ask yourself when creating a dynamic character.


4 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Video: What Is Plot?
  2. Video: How Plot Works in Harry Potter
  3. Video: Character + Action = Plot
  4. Reading: A Note on Assignments
  5. Video: Feedback Expectations for the Specialization
  6. Reading: Promo Codes

Graded: The Escalator

WEEK 2


The Power of Structure



In this module we're going to learn what story structure is and how by understanding structure you can learn how to sequence the events in your plot to help maximize your own storytelling abilities.We'll talk about Freytag's pyramid, the five act structure, how that structure can be found in works of classic literature, and have a conversation about how structure and outlines can help organize the stories you want to tell.


3 videos expand


  1. Video: What Is Structure?
  2. Video: ABDCE Structure Examples from Famous Works of Literature
  3. Video: Visiting Writer: A Conversation with Douglas Martin

Graded: What's Up, Doc?

WEEK 3


A Scene in Motion



Scenes are the building blocks of storytelling. But what is a scene? And how does a scene move plot forward? In this module we'll learn about the difference between telling and showing, the five key elements each scene should have, offer some examples of effective scenes, and have a conversation about how setting and description can make a scene come alive.


3 videos expand


  1. Video: What Is a Scene?
  2. Video: Examples of Effective Scenes
  3. Video: Shop Talk with Amity Gaige

Graded: Show, Don't Tell

WEEK 4


Cut It Out



This modules deals with the specifics of editing and revising your work. This process of revision starts with the first draft (which will now become your second draft) and continues until the manuscript’s ready to send to an agent. Included here are a twenty-one point checklist on what to do once you have a completed first draft, and conversations about creating characters with strong motivations, and how to define language that gets rewritten vs language that gets cut.


4 videos expand


  1. Video: Editing and Revision
  2. Video: Shop Talk with Amy Bloom
  3. Video: Shop Talk with Salvatore Scibona
  4. Video: The 21st Point

Graded: The Whole Story
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