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Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft Lecture
Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft
Written by: 
The Great Courses
Narrated by: 
Professor Brooks Landon
Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft Lecture

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

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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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (318 )
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4.0 (267 )
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Story
4.1 (279 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tracey 12-12-13
    Tracey 12-12-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    56
    6
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    "Easy to listen to."
    Would you listen to Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft again? Why?

    The professor obviously enjoys what he teaches and that comes through in his narration, making listening to these lectures enjoyable and easy to learn from.


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

    His enthusiasm


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pirate Girl 06-24-16
    Pirate Girl 06-24-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Speech Impediment"

    The man does not know how to pronounce
    Sen-TEN-Ces. I wonder if he still says besgetti!
    I was going to play this to my students, but cannot because the man repeatedly says senances......
    It is so annoying I can't even get any information from the text because my mind keeps rooting for him to say sentences correctly, just one time. Ughhhh
    PHD's apparently mean nothing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Memphis, TN, US 06-20-16
    Amazon Customer Memphis, TN, US 06-20-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    81
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Story
    "Great"

    Writing talent is often thought of as something you have or you don't, a magical mystery bestowed on a few fortunate individual who go on to write great books and can called themselves WRITERS.

    This book calls bull on that notion and teaches, yes teaches you how to be a better builder of sentences.

    I don't think any other book I've ever read teaches writing-- and I graduated college with a degree in writing. Most other books just give vague advice like 'write concise sentences' or 'avoid adverbs' or 'write every day' or 'get feedback from other writers.'

    This is fine, but it doesn't improve you writing consistently. It's hit or miss because you can't see the underlying principles.

    This book explains how to write a better sentence, building it the way a mason builds a house, brick by brick, step by step. It's exactly what is says on the tin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sr 06-17-16
    sr 06-17-16
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    5
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    Story
    "Incredibly longwinded and boring texts."

    Although the subject really interests me, I found this book really slow and poorly crafted exactly in the things the author should be skilled in: crafting great sentences and writing. The narration also isn't great. After listening for 4 hours I had not learned a thing about crafting better sentences I could use to improve my writing. I heard a lot of the authors opinions but no best practices or evidence. Not my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Eierud 06-04-16
    Erik Eierud 06-04-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    2
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    "If you want to write right!"

    It was fun and easy to follow Dr. Landon's lectures. He focuses the spotlight at the important points, making your next document much more expressive, precise, with ease you could not imagine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian McFarlane Los Angeles, CA 03-19-16
    Ian McFarlane Los Angeles, CA 03-19-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    7
    3
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    "What School Was Missing"

    I wish my English classes had approached writting like this. Not only was the material clear and illuminating, but it was material I have never seen covered throughout my high school or college education. I will definitely be listening to this a second time to wrote my own sentences in parallel as practice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary L Weintraub 12-29-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "30 minutes of material in 12 hours"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Brooks Landon’s performances?

    Professor Landon is seemingly unable to express ideas without also fully exploring every possible permutation that follows logically from his original proposition. Though this is occasionally useful, more often this strategy treats the listener as if he or she is incapable of making simple logical connections. Moreover, lover of long sentences as he may be, Professor Landon uses unnecessarily long sentences for his examples when short sentences would do just as well to illustrate his points. This is compounded when he repeats those sentences ad nauseum with only minor variations to illustrate other points.

    Add to this his issues with pronunciations detailed by other reviewers, his laughing at private moments of wit which are rarely as clever as he frames them to be, his clear personal interest in certain types of sentences, and his long digressions into topics wholly unrelated to the lecture material meant to illustrate a point that is itself unnecessary to convey the thrust of his lecture, and you get a nearly unlistenable series. Having made the commitment in time and audible credits, and being very interested in what is ostensibly covered by this series, I have suffered through 7 hours thus far, but I'm wondering more with each lecture if my time wouldn't be better spent cutting my losses and finding a better series.

    Needless to say, I will never be trying another of Professor Landon's performances.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft?

    Through 14 lectures, I believe there was been enough content to fill perhaps two 30-minute blocks. Probably a third of each lecture is filled with re-readings of sentences already given with minor variations. Cutting these sentences down by removing half of the unnecessary clauses would save no less than 5 minutes per session all on its own.

    The series is also filled with digressions that serve no purpose relevant to the material. One example that comes to mind, though there are many spread throughout, came when, in a lecture on the riddle of prose rhythm, Professor Landon discusses a song from the musical Roberta, explains that he continually misremembers the title/main lyric of the song "I Won't Dance, Don't Ask Me," talks about how Fred Astaire notably could dance and how his misremembering the lyrics perhaps relates to an episode from the Muppet Show with Ms. Piggy, how the original lyrics were rewritten once upon time, and that the rest of the lyrics in the song go on to discuss other reasons for the Astaire character to not dance. The purpose of this 2+ minute digression, as explained by Professor Landon, is simply to preface his statement that he himself can't dance, aside from shuffling around at bat mitzvahs and the like. Of course, this was also in purpose of explaining that, though he can't dance, he does have a good ear for rhythm in sentences.

    Now, if anyone believes that rhythm in dancing and rhythm in sentences are one and the same, a proposition that is fairly unlikely for an audience that seeks out a lecture series on exploring the writer's craft, Professor Landon could have dispelled that idea by simply stating "Rhythm in sentences and rhythm in dance are different," and perhaps giving some examples of how, without costing the listener 3 minutes of nonsense.

    Of course, at this point, the listener still has no actual information about what makes for a rhythmically pleasing or functional sentence. The rest of the lecture does little to change that. By the conclusion, all that I was able to ascertain is that the cumulative sentence tends to lead to pleasing rhythms, something that Professor Landon had already hammered on for the preceding twelve hours.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomster 12-22-15
    Tomster 12-22-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Secrets of the Iowa Writer's Workshop"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Crafting sentences, until I listened to this lecture series, narrated by the entertaining and engaging Professor Brooks Landon, no longer intimidates me; furthermore, I now actively read with a greater appreciation of the skills demonstrated by our best writers.


    What did you like best about this story?

    A partial list of goodies: coordinate, subordinate, cumulative sentences, base phrases, first modifiers, second modifiers, third modifiers, left side and right side cumulative sentences in relation to the base phrase (it just goes on and on).


    What about Professor Brooks Landon’s performance did you like?

    Professor Brooks makes difficult concepts comprehensible, not only because he actually knows what he is talking about, but because his passion energizes you.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    The dot-dash Morse Code approach to reading prose.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hedrick 12-20-15
    Hedrick 12-20-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    Overall
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    Story
    "Good info, bit dull"

    I wanted to try one of these educational series books. Had some good info but over all a very hard listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Erdman Huron, South Dakota 11-30-15
    Jonathan Erdman Huron, South Dakota 11-30-15 Member Since 2011

    The Theos Project

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Advanced "

    I'd recommend this only if you are already a grammar geek or are looking for more advanced instructions on the art and science of sentence construction. If you are, then the Professor will not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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