Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Online Course

Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description

Wesleyan University via Coursera

1.6k
  • Provider Coursera
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Duration 4 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

In this course aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that masters of fiction use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe the physical world in sharp, sensory detail. We will also learn how to build credibility through research, and to use creative meditation exercises to deepen our own understanding of our story worlds, so that our readers can see all that we imagine.

Syllabus

Persuasive Settings: Why Description Matters
-Writing a great short story is like conveying a dream. As we will see from studying one famous master, a "persuasive" setting is necessary in order to build mood, character, and even plot.

If You Build It, They Will Come
-Pack your fiction with "vitamin-rich" detail. Looking at the work of both masters and students, we will discuss how funny, meaningful, and powerful details can be.

Credibility and Research
-Create settings both familiar and unfamiliar to you, while avoiding common missteps. You will be guided through several meditation exercises as you practice "imaginative research".

Realities
-Setting and description works in realist and non-realist fiction, as well as across literary genres. Consider how to write about your own "primal landscape".

Taught by

Amity Gaige

Tags

Help Center

Most commonly asked questions about Coursera

Reviews for Coursera's Creative Writing: The Craft of Setting and Description Based on 12 reviews

  • 5 stars 33%
  • 4 stars 25%
  • 3 stars 17%
  • 2 stars 17%
  • 1 star 8%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
Clifton P
4 years ago
by Clifton completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
It's not really a free class, but class-central listed it as a free course when I searched for this subject matter. I didn't know until a week into it, that I would have had to pay almost $400 US dollars to get a decent level of access. Without that access, I can't submit my assignments and nobody else can see them, so there's no opportunity for feedback and therefore less incentive to keep going.

It's eerily quiet on all the course forums. I can't quite determine whether the majority of the discussions among classmates are hidden from me because I'm not a paid member, or whether…
13 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Cyn G
4 years ago
Cyn is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very disappointed. The examples of contemporary literature used as illustration are, to use the vernacular, total snore-fests . What has happened to the craft of writing? Incomplete and run-on sentences are fine for dialogue and poetry, not prose, yet this class uses example after example of this shoddy style that ultimately comes across as being full of itself.

If you want to learn how to write well, take a different set of classes.
6 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Zoe A
4 years ago
Zoe completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
The instructor Amity Gaige was very professional and interesting. Taking writing instruction from a published author gives one confidence that they know what they are talking about. It's a shame the writing exercises are only available for peer review if you are paying for the course but it doesn't stop you from working on them yourself just without the option for getting feedback.
3 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Pj H
3 years ago
Pj completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
All I can say is I tried. I really did. I didn't find anything in the class I couldn't find much better expressed by various published writers for free and in classes offered by Writer Associations such as RWA or others from free to 10 or 20 dollars to members.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Abigail P
3 years ago
by Abigail is taking this course right now.
The responses and results are certainly not free, but the content itself is good. I am going to work through it and have one of my contemporaries give me feedback instead of paying for the feedback.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Tyler S
2 months ago
Tyler completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course didn't feel as useful as the previous courses in this series. The week on research was the most informative for me which is very much worth the effort. I must admit though that I only watched the video's in the syllabus and didn't actually sign up and pay for it. Getting some peer reviews, which I have done for other courses which was almost always highly disappointing, didn't seem to be worth that amount of money.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kathryn P
3 years ago
by Kathryn completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Elizabeth E
4 years ago
by Elizabeth is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
David F
4 years ago
by David completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Brandi D
3 years ago
Brandi completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Vida V
4 years ago
by Vida completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Regina R
3 years ago
Regina completed this course.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free