We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft Lecture

Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

Regular Price:$34.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

4.1 (452 )
5 star
 (224)
4 star
 (120)
3 star
 (64)
2 star
 (26)
1 star
 (18)
Overall
4.1 (385 )
5 star
 (188)
4 star
 (94)
3 star
 (62)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (17)
Story
4.2 (400 )
5 star
 (213)
4 star
 (105)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Zachary L Weintraub 12-29-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hedrick 12-20-15
    Hedrick 12-20-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Dembroski Prescott, AZ 10-04-17
    Adam Dembroski Prescott, AZ 10-04-17 Member Since 2016
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor teaching to explaining ratio"

    I could not finish, so maybe it improves, but I lost faith after 4 lectures of glorified glossary and repitition of examples ad nausium. Nothing stated in the first 4 lectures is instructive, only examples of the self evident maleability of English. I could only stand to hear the same sentence repeated with slight variation for 2 minutes at a go so many times. The point had been made the first time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Galloway Murray, KY United States 09-08-17
    Brad Galloway Murray, KY United States 09-08-17
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    38
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too complex for the average listener "

    Good subject matter but the ideas aren't expressed in a simple, straightforward manner. I think if the subject matter was simplified it would be better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly S. Morris 08-28-17 Member Since 2017
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent perspective on sentence formation"
    What did you love best about Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft?

    I loved the entire book! It made me pause and reconsider aspects of grammar instruction. As a writer, I found it to be very insightful. I believe that by using this method of sentence formation I will create sentences that are more meaningful for my readers.


    What did you like best about this story?

    One of the things I really liked was how the professor gave analogies and creative examples.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Brooks Landon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I would suspect they are all good.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to keep listening, but I needed to pause in places to consider the points and strategies that were revealed.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are interested in language, this is a book for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Allen-Poole 08-12-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    78
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good, but was a little hard at times."

    There were a lot of spoken repetitions, his attempts to illustrate differences in form, and style, and structure, and these repetitions, often, were not as easy to follow as one might hope, but I found the course to be an invaluable help, and am working to practice what he preaches.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-21-17
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "landon teaches in person!"

    loved it. Landon delivers great teachings personally hearing his treasures of sent structure. hear it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sharie patty 02-17-17 Member Since 2016
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book"

    It is challenging to gather all the information presented in this course and the printed companion would be useful, but even so much insight is gained and I will listen to it again to fine tune my writing even further.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith 02-02-17
    Judith 02-02-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    78
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exceptional"

    I have read many books on writing. This was the only one that gave me something different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miguel Negron 01-27-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    15
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dense and Daring"

    I became aware of the box we have lived in of writing rules and regulations keeping away liberty of expression. I consider this book essential for any educator. My writing will benefit from having this empowering information.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Dottie
    4/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How to write a sennanse!"

    I have arrived at chapter 8; I feel this is an achievement. A pretty hefty achievement because the narrator is punching my brain with side swipes in his pronunciation.

    The word is sentence so why does he insist on pronouncing it as SENNANSE?

    My head hurts!

    Otherwise, pretty good.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • hearne
    Warrington, United Kingdom
    3/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you learn through Repetition then this for you"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The content - make it snappy, it seems as if the authors want to make books longer as well as sentences.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Nothing really


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Not the narrator as much as the looped clap tape


    Could you see Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Aimed at at 14 to 15 year olds

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • sin sin minkin
    the future
    1/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor advice"

    There are some decent hints in here but overall he hits the same wring headed nail so many times I could stand it no longer.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Kitty cat 17
    8/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't listen to this"
    Would you try another book written by The Great Courses or narrated by Professor Brooks Landon?

    Not by this narrator. I had to stop after ten minutes due to the mid-pronunciation. For an audio book all about sentences you could at least pronounce the word correctly! There is a 't' in it so why say 'sen-ance-ees'. It was so irritating I switched off.


    Has Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft put you off other books in this genre?

    Not really. I still enjoy books about language and writing. Just not this one!


    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Brooks Landon’s performances?

    No! See my statement above re the pronunciation of sentences. It was infuriating!


    Do you think Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes by someone who knows how to say sentences.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mel
    9/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good"
    What did you like most about Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft?

    It goes to the nuts and bolts of building a sentence.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There was none.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Brooks Landon – was your favourite?

    Himself


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth listening to.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.