Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft[Download] ➺ Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft By Brooks Landon – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Based on the bestselling series from The Great Courses Building Great Sentences celebrates the sheer joy of language and will forever change the way you read and writeGreat writing begins with the sen Based on the bestselling series from Sentences: Exploring PDF Æ The Great Courses Building Great Sentences celebrates the sheer joy of language and will forever change the way you read and writeGreat writing begins with the sentence Whether it s two words Jesus wept or William Faulkner s word sentence in Absalom Absalom sentences have the power to captivate entertain motivate educate and most importantly delight Yet the sentence oriented approach to writing is too often overlooked in favor of bland economy Building Great Sentences teaches you to write better sentences by luxuriating in the pleasures of languageAward winning Building Great PDF/EPUB or Professor Brooks Landon draws on examples from masters of long elegant sentences including Don DeLillo Virginia Woolf Joan Didion and Samuel Johnson to reveal the mechanics of how language works on thoughts and emotions providing the tools to write powerful effective sentences. I don t make my living as a writer, so my rating of this lecture series is mostly irrelevant.Brooks Landon offers us a the opportunity to understand the construction of great sentences, but to do so he has to take us on a journey In twenty four lectures he covers many aspects of sentences including Grammar, Rhetoric, Propositions and Meaning, Adjectival Steps, The Rhythm of Cumulative Syntax, and How Sentences Grow.For me, it was too much information Perhaps similar to wanting to learn ho I don t make my living as a writer, so my rating of this lecture series is mostly irrelevant.Brooks Landon offers us a the opportunity to understand the construction of great sentences, but to do so he has to take us on a journey In twenty four lectures he covers many aspects of sentences including Grammar, Rhetoric, Propositions and Meaning, Adjectival Steps, The Rhythm of Cumulative Syntax, and How Sentences Grow.For me, it was too much information Perhaps similar to wanting to learn how to fly by dissecting bats, insects and birds If I were Leonardo da Vinci, I might be able to turn all those parts into an ability to soar Alas Landon knows his stuff, and is eager to share it I d hoped to be able to understand a bitabout the writer s craft Having that as a goal, I m not sure that I will ever use what I have learned in any review I think this course would have been better titled, The Joy of Long, Cumulative Sentences The professor is especially enad with this particular sentence structure, and with the ability for sentences of this nature to take the reader on a journey, a journey that he believes to becompelling and expressive than the oft touted simple and direct writing style advocated by Strunk White.This has been the most successful of my admittedly half hearted attempts to learn about grammar and s I think this course would have been better titled, The Joy of Long, Cumulative Sentences The professor is especially enad with this particular sentence structure, and with the ability for sentences of this nature to take the reader on a journey, a journey that he believes to becompelling and expressive than the oft touted simple and direct writing style advocated by Strunk White.This has been the most successful of my admittedly half hearted attempts to learn about grammar and sentence construction I think this is because of the professors apparent allergy to describing grammar in terms of rules, believing this to take the life and joy out of the craft of writing Instead, he focuses on giving ample examples of various forms of sentence construction, and emphasizing the importance of learning to tune your ears to understand the proper rhythm of correct grammar On the down side, I think this course could have been about a third shorter without losing much of the substance A lot of that space was taken up by railing against conventional writing wisdom, of which I was mostly unfamiliar, and at least some of which I suspect is known only to professionals Overall a great course, as long as you have a fair bit of patience This lecture was a lot of fun Mr Landon was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topic It might be a little controversial though as he preaches a form of writing based on addition where a lot of other instruction focuses on concise sentences and subtraction Personally, I loved it. The course in my eyes starts to get stale towards the end as the focus shifts from cumulative sentences to style and master sentences I graded it so well because it really helped me shift paradigms I had since a child that said less is , short is better, trim, trim, trim After reading this I feel I got a sort of license to write for longer sentences and it opens up a whole new approach to building sentences and paragraphs I m not a pro and I d like to think pros know this already, but t The course in my eyes starts to get stale towards the end as the focus shifts from cumulative sentences to style and master sentences I graded it so well because it really helped me shift paradigms I had since a child that said less is , short is better, trim, trim, trim After reading this I feel I got a sort of license to write for longer sentences and it opens up a whole new approach to building sentences and paragraphs I m not a pro and I d like to think pros know this already, but this kind of approach can benefit any writer and by that I mean practically everyone since we all use writing in one way or another as we go through life The best way to describe the contents of this magical course is to begin by listing the lecture titles.1 A Sequence of Words 2 Grammar and Rhetoric3 Propositions and Meaning4 How Sentences Grow5 Adjectival Steps6 The Rhythm for Cumulative Syntax7 Direction of Modification8 Coordinate, Subordinate, and Mixed Patterns9 Coordinate Cumulative Sentences10 Subordinate and Mixed Cumulatives11 Prompts of Comparison12 Prompts of Explanation13 The Riddle of Prose Rhythm14 Cumulative Syntax t The best way to describe the contents of this magical course is to begin by listing the lecture titles.1 A Sequence of Words 2 Grammar and Rhetoric3 Propositions and Meaning4 How Sentences Grow5 Adjectival Steps6 The Rhythm for Cumulative Syntax7 Direction of Modification8 Coordinate, Subordinate, and Mixed Patterns9 Coordinate Cumulative Sentences10 Subordinate and Mixed Cumulatives11 Prompts of Comparison12 Prompts of Explanation13 The Riddle of Prose Rhythm14 Cumulative Syntax to Create Suspense15 Degrees of Suspensiveness16 The Mechanics of Delay17 Prefab Patterns for Suspense18 Balanced Sentences and Balanced Forms19 The Rhythm of Twos20 The Rhythm of Threes21 Balanced Series and Serial Balances22 Master Sentences23 Sentences in Sequence24 Sentences and Prose StyleThe guidebook ends with a glossary, bibliographical notes, and bibliography 23 pages in all The first question one might ask is why an entire course with focus on sentences is needed Here s Brooks answer The sentence is where we must start if we hope to understand why some writing captivates us and other writing leaves us unmoved As an aside, this is the umpteenth time I have stepped outside my areas of expertise and comfort to learn something new, each time returning amazed of the rich variety of areas of scholarship I could not have imagined and the myriad of researchers who work in those areas, agreeing and disagreeing with each other, unbeknownst to me A key take away from this course is that bad sentences are usually long, but not all long sentences are bad In fact, while there are examples of brilliant short sentences in the works of masters, beautiful sentences tend to be long So, it s not the length of a sentence that make it bad but how the sentence grows to become long There are but three ways to grow a kernel sentence such as She raised the flag Connective She raised the flag, and she Subordinative Realizing she was the lone survivor, she raised the flag , and adjectival She raised the flag which was tattered by bullets.One of the most effective ways of building compelling long sentences is through cumulative syntax According to Francis Christensen, an English professor at USC, who defied conventional wisdom of his time about effective writing and began looking at what great writers actually wrote, a cumulative sentence tends to develop by downshifting through increasingly detailed levels of generality, replacing the previously advocated simplicity with a textured presentation, in which adjectives and adverbs, not just nouns and verbs, play key roles by introducing movement.Let me clarify the concept of a cumulative sentence by means of two examples, both beginning with a base clause which is followed by modifying phrases In the first example, the modifying phrases are all at the same secondary level, so they can be reordered, put before or after, or even in the middle of, the base clause The elated Girl Scout went home, having sold all her boxes of cookies, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wantedcookies to sell The second example has modifying cluases at multiple levels, with tertiary clauses modifying secondary ones The elated Girl Scout went home, having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, recognizing some who came to their doors as friends of her parents Of course, it s quite easy to overdo this by adding less compelling details that turn the cumulative sentence into a mess, rather than an object of beauty Also, cumulative sentences tend to be loners string several of them together, and you are bound to lose your reader s patience and interest.Once we have read and written enough cumulative sentences, they come to us quite naturally In fact, one of the most effective ways to test a cumulative sentence is to read it aloud and listen to the flow of the sentence Having been exposed to and practiced writing cumulative sentences, we develop an intuition for spotting problematic syntax or less than compelling rhythm.Cumulative sentences can also be used to create suspense by delaying the delivery of the most important or surprising pieces of information Here s an example sentence with an unexpected ending He drove the car carefully, his shaggy hair whipped by the wind, his eyes hidden behind wraparound mirror shades, his mouth set in a grim smile, a.38 Police Special on the seat beside him, the corpse stuffed in the trunk Good prose has a rhythm, and cumulative sentences provide an excellent mechanism for supplying such a rhythm Landon recommends quite a few sources that have inspired work in this area or that would form good sources for additional study They include George Orwell s 1946 essay Politics and the English Language and Carl Klause s 1968 essay Reflections on Prose Style Here is a link to Orwell s essay I could find no on line version of Klause s essay.https faculty.washington.edu rsoder Let me end my review with three examples of cumulative sentences from great writers The radiators put out lots of heat, too much, in fact, and old fashioned sounds and smells came with it, exhalations of the matter that composes our own mortality, and reminiscent of the intimate gases we all diffuse Saul Bellow The San Bernardino Valley lies only an hour east of Los Angeles by the San Bernardino Freeway but is in certain ways an alien place not the coastal California of the subtropical twilights and the soft westerlies off the Pacific but a harsher California, haunted by the Mojave just beyond the mountains, devastated by the hot dry Santa Ana wind that comes down through the passes at 100 miles an hour and whines through the eucalyptus windbreaks and works on the nerves Joan Didion When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation Thomas Jefferson, US Declaration of Independence This has the distinction of being the only time I ve asked for a refund on any of The Great Courses I made it through the fifth lecture before packing it up and sending it back I was hoping forof a refresher course in syntax or perhaps a comparison of styles Really, I was just hoping it was interesting It was not Landon seems to think that the longer,complex, andtortured a sentence is, the better it is That s only true if one is being paid per word. If you like to build long sentences, this work is great I adopted some of the techniques, though have shied away from overly using cumulative sentences It takes talent and skill, and a style that will suite some authors, but not others.Whatever the case, it is a good read, or should I say listen Practising the techniques will be better than just listening Whatever the case, such practise will help shape your own style of writing A recommended title to develop the craft. I ve gone through this course twice, as from a writer s perspective I found this both helpful and fascinating, and I particularly enjoyed the rich set of examples and insights provided It drilled to, and sustained, the level of detail that I hoped. This lecture series is a great exploration into written rhetoric at the level of the sentence I gained much from it The professor s grasp of the mechanics of writing and his way of explaining it will make you a better technical writer In a writer s education, this book has a place for sure. In my perception, the audio format was not suited to the topic I have listened to two other lecture series from the Great Courses and found them very useful however, this one could not captivate me in the same manner Grammar and word order are best studied on paper I struggled to follow the many examples from literature andso the many variations of the same sentence in different word order It was hard to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the reformulations in the brief mo In my perception, the audio format was not suited to the topic I have listened to two other lecture series from the Great Courses and found them very useful however, this one could not captivate me in the same manner Grammar and word order are best studied on paper I struggled to follow the many examples from literature andso the many variations of the same sentence in different word order It was hard to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the reformulations in the brief moments in which they were read out before the lecturer continued speaking It was far easier for me to follow a printed book on the same topic.Beyond this first point, I wish this particular course had been allowed to divert from the 24 lecture minimum that appears to be the rule for the Great Courses In each lecture, only one point was made and then illustrated and rephrased so often that it became too thinly spread Aconcise series of 12 lectures would have appealed to me .I may give the print edition of this course a try