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Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

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Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot

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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.


Creative Writing: The Craft of Plot is course 1 of 5 in the Creative Writing Specialization.

This Specialization will cover the elements of three major creative writing genres: the short story, the narrative essay, and the memoir. You will master the techniques that good writers use to compose a bracing story, populated with memorable characters in an interesting setting, written in a fresh descriptive style. You will learn how to analyze and constructively evaluate peer writing. In the final Capstone Project, you will draft, rewrite, and complete a substantial original story in the genre of your choosing. Upon completion of their first assignment, learners in each course will receive an 80% discount from our sponsor, Write Bros, to use on any of their software designed for facilitating the process of writing.


Week 1

Plotting a Course

  1. What Is Plot?
  2. How Plot Works in Harry Potter
  3. Character + Action = Plot
  4. Assignment
  1. Assignment: The Escalator
Week 2

The Power of Structure

  1. What Is Structure?
  2. ABDCE Structure Examples from Famous Works of Literature
  3. Visiting Writer: How Structure and Outlines Can Help Organize Your Plot and the Story You Want to Tell (with Douglas Martin)
  4. Assignment
  1. Assignment: What's Up, Doc?
Week 3

A Scene in Motion

  1. What Is a Scene?
  2. Examples of Effective Scenes
  3. Shop Talk with Amity Gaige: How Setting and Description Make a Scene Come Alive
  4. Assignment
  1. Assignment: Show, Don't Tell
Week 4

Cut It Out

  1. Editing and Revision
  2. Shop Talk with Amy Bloom: Defining Wants and Needs; Creating Characters with Strong Motivations and Desires
  3. Shop Talk with Salvatore Scibona: Language that Gets Rewritten vs Language that Gets Cut Out
  4. Assignment

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Video Quality

4 weeks
1-2 hours/week