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

Great Lessons If You are Ready for them

Would you consider the audio edition of Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft to be better than the print version?

Cannot say, since I don't have the print version.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Not applicable- non fiction book


What does Professor Brooks Landon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I don't know


Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

not applicable


Any additional comments?

I have listened to this book over and over throughout the years, having first downloaded the series from the Great Courses website, and as I gain in knowledge, about the writing craft, I find this series more and more valuable to my growth as a writer, picking up new details I'd previously missed, with each listen. For those who find the lectures too pedantic, I'd suggest checking out Writing123 dot com, which too is based upon the same concepts presented in this series, as laid out by Francis Christensen. You will get a simpler graded set of lessons to help you master the cumulative sentence structure. This is a college level course, and the professor has to present a complete background in order to make it academic, but the 123 website, on the other hand, offers a simpler road to the treasure,The brilliance of this book is in the details, and details are perfect for the writer-philosopher. Please do not rush through the lessons, but instead, take one at a time, then master the concepts, and then move on to the next lesson. That is my opinion on how to best gain from this audible book. Have paper and pen at hand.

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- ddsharper

Book Details

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