Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft : The Great Courses: Writing

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Brooks Landon
  • Series: The Great Courses: Writing
  • 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Why do some lengthy sentences flow effortlessly while others stumble along? Why are you captivated by the writing of particular authors? How can you craft sentences that reflect your unique outlook on the world?
This lively, 24-lecture course introduces you to the myriad ways in which we think about, talk about, and write sentences. Reviving the sentence-oriented approach to studying writing, Professor Landon provides a greater context for what makes sentences great - and how you can apply these methods to your own writing.
You'll look at the kernels from which sentences grow - minimal base clauses - and how adding words or phrases creates larger, cumulative sentences that lead toward great writing. You'll explore sentence constructions that make writing more complex and add exciting levels of suspense, and see tactics that create balance and rhythm.Recognizing and appreciating these and other eye-opening aspects of sentences helps you understand the work that goes into creating an effective, pleasurable sentence, which can make you more aware of why particular lines, passages, or phrases in the poems, novels, or articles you read so enchant you.
Professor Landon draws abundantly on examples from the work of brilliant writers, including Don DeLillo, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Johnson, and more. With its passionate approach to writing and reading and its indulgence in the sheer joy of language, this journey gives you unique insights into the nature of great writing-and also teaches you how you can achieve some of this greatness yourself.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very well presented... but with poor pronunciation

What made the experience of listening to Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the presentation of the information in easily absorbed 30+ minute chapters, Mr Landon has a wonderful presence and effectively introduces the subject matter with humor and intelligent simplicity.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft?

By breaking down, and then rebuilding well known and well written sentences, it allows you to perceive the structures involved, giving it the sense that I too could someday write!

Any additional comments?

The only problem concerning this lecture, is the man needs tutoring on pronunciation. Listening to him say 'senences' instead of 'sentences' repeatedly, put my teeth on edge. This was the subject of the ENTIRE lecture, and he couldn't find the 'T' within the word! Once you have latched onto such a glaring mispronunciation, you discover yourself finding more, especially when the word 'senence' is used well over a thousand times during the lecture. I understand there are many out there who will consider this nit-picking to the extreme, and many will have not even noticed, but imagine reading a book where all of the 'r's' have been omitted, it is not that much different.
A means to purchase the notes mentioned would be nice as well.

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- Cynthia

Write longer sentences and throw out "The Rules".

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Brooks Landon?

I would listen to another of the great courses, but not another by Prof. Landon.

If you’ve listened to books by The Great Courses before, how does this one compare?


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Brooks Landon?

Really any professional narrator would have greatly improved the audiobook. While some listeners were bothered by his accent and pronunciation, what really drove me to the brink of abandoning the program was his constant amusement at his own writing, amusement evidenced by involuntary little giggles, tiny chuffs of air really, that precede the first word in a clause and that signal to the reader that the author, prescient of the clever wordplay about to be communicated, is on the verge of some tidbit of witty banter. Unfortunately, most of the time, these linguistic gems fail to deliver the goods hinted at by the author's little chuckle. Like the pronunciation problems that some reviewers have mentioned, these mini giggles, once I had focused in on them, became a persistent source of exasperation as I listened.

Any additional comments?

The material is quite good and I believe it would be useful to a broad spectrum of developing writers. There is enough good advice and information to have filled 5 hours. Unfortunately, the course is more than double that. The extra time is taken up with repeating the valid points over and over again as well as by reciting mind-numbing strings of alternate sentence constructions. For example, if the point is that a sentence with a base clause and four free modifying clauses can be rearranged in any order, the author actually spends several minutes rearranging the clauses to demonstrate the point. Even the slowest pupil would have gotten the point after the third or fourth alternate version, but on they go.

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- Robert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses