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Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft
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Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  28 reviews
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 write.

Great writing begins with the sentence. Whether it’s two words (“Jesus wept.”) or William Faulkner’s 1,287-word sentence in Absalom! Absalom!, sentences have the power to captivate, entertain, motivate, edu
Published 2008 by The Teaching Company
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Sep 23, 2014 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: asyndetonics, alliteratists, epanalepsisists, symplocians, tricolonists
To put it another way, propositions are the atoms from which the molecule of the sentence is constructed.

So here I go reading another one of those "How to write" books. Except this one was different, and before I get into the gritty-nitty of it, I'd like to talk about prose. Specifically, prose style. Because that is what Brooks Landon is really talking about when he talks about sentences.

Those of us who read a lot, and especially those of us who assay/aspire/pretend to be writers ourselves, pro
Jason Koivu
Indispensable! Once you've built your foundation on solid stuff like Strunk and White's The Element of Style and put in a good deal of practice when you first start up, then Building Great Sentences is your next step.

This lecture lays down a comprehendible road map for proper structure that flows like a German sports car winding along the autobahn. Before you know it, you'll be constructing high-flying sentences as amazingly acrobatic as a Cirque du Soleil act.

Just be careful you don't go too f
Wow! Brooks Landon’s Teaching Company course, “Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft,” which I just now finished, is one of the most outstanding and, frankly, fun courses I’ve ever taken, Landon being a superbly gifted teacher who lectures with wit and clarity, with insight and imagination, with enthusiasm and verve, leading the student through not only an historical and enlighteningly academic discussion of the development of sentence writing but also a step-by-step examination ...more
I loved this book. Dr. Landon brings things to mind about the construction of a sentence that I had never considered before. I am very interested in writing and have done a bit of amateur writing myself. It is something I would like to do more of in the future, and having read this book, I now believe I have a better chance at being good at it.

Dr. Landon is funny and serious, having a great way about him that holds the attention, which allows the learning to take place. This book is certainly no
A text on sentencecraft that proudly sings the praises of language for language's sake, examines and exalts the sentences of Pynchon, Gass, and Marguerite Young (!), and offers in its opening chapter an exuberant dissection of Gertrude Stein's "Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?" is a text on sentencecraft that probably deserves your attention.
Professor Brooks Landon urges writers to create more elegant and stylish sentences in this book by adding free modifiers, and he provides several wonderful examples from great novelists, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and even Earnest Hemingway. Professor Landon also discusses the use of literary techniques, such as simile, metaphor and alliteration. He especially wants writers to improve their style, and he suggests many ways in which to do this.

He provides lots of helpful exerc
Aug 14, 2013 Craig rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to learn the tools of a writer.
This will make you a better wordsmith.

Note: I'm basing this off the audio version of "Building Great Sentences" (which was a treat to listen to, Landon is very engaging).

What it is: Building Great Sentences is simply fantastic. It is laser focused on just sentence structure, beautiful sentence structure, sentence structure that makes you swoon. You'll learn ways to make big, beautiful sentences, loose sentences, balanced sentences. You'll also learn a variety of tools for adding your detail to s
Jay Bostwick
Landon explores a topic that is often overlooked in writing instruction: the craft of building sentences. The last time I remember discussing sentences specifically in a formal writing course was in seventh grade, and there our attention was mainly on diagramming sentences rather than composing and refining them. For writers and non writers alike, it's as if sentences are part of the air we breathe, so abundant and commonplace that we hardly pay them any attention, despite how essential they are ...more
Washington Post
Landon’s earnest primer hews to the more-is-more approach to composition, in which a basic declarative sentence is merely a platform for an entire superstructure of subclauses and qualifying phrases. This works well for William Gass or Thomas Berger — two writers Landon idolizes — but seems potentially hazardous in the hands of lesser mortals. Landon admits that “everyone who writes about prose style advances a particular view of it.” Read the rest:
I wished I had read this a long time ago. This is a terrific exploration of different sentence structures that is beyond grammar. It gives me a greater insight into how literary greats create flow and mood in their stories. I have to go back and reread this again.
I am very satisfied with the course. I can happily say that I have obtained a deeper and fuller understanding and grasp of sentential-level writing.

It was also nice to revisit, strengthen, and refine what I had previously learned from my initial, first-time encounter of these kinds of stuff through The Stewart English Program—Book 3 Writing Plus… by Donald Stewart back in December of 2009. I think initially having been introduced to those stuff through that Stewart book seems to have made it eas
Lewis Cunningham
May 05, 2013 Lewis Cunningham rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
This book is basically the print version of the video course available from The Great Courses. I ran into the great courses a couple of years ago when the had a pretty nice sale going on. This course was the very first that I bought. I have bought a couple more since. The course on black holes is pretty good.

Anyway, Brooks Landon, the author/instructor, comes across at first as fairly pompous. On the video, I had to get to the third or fourth video before I quit being distracted by his pomposity
Bob Nichols
This course challenges some widely accepted advice (e.g., Strunk and White) that short sentences stripped of chaff are the key to good writing. Landon says that approach removes richness and personality from prose. Rather, Landon advocates the enrichment of writing by adding modifiers and strings of modifiers to the base clause and kernal sentence. Landon states that very, very long master sentences even have a place. Along the way, he adds other suggestions to help the writer, e.g., rythmic wri ...more
Alissa Thorne
I think this course would have been better titled, "The Joy of Long, Cumulative Sentences". The professor is especially enamored 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 be more compelling 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 a
Jason Forbus
One of those titles I find myself referring to again and again, much like Strunk & White. What makes this five stars is that, once I've located what quick info I need, I end up reading for fun. It should come as no surprise that a book about great sentences is a pleasure to read.
Jeff Yoak
I made it about a quarter of the way through. I might come back. There is clearly something the author understand here that I'd like to know, but I'm not terribly motivated by the writing style he so strongly advocates, and there is a lot on top of the pieces that I would like to know. Further, I'm not sure how to execute this stuff is actually going to be explained enough for me to get it.

Kip Johnston
Technical but not overbearing, practical but not merely a manual, this book serves as the perfect antithetical companion to the ever-popular Elements of Style, defending the use of masterfully-written longer sentences over the short, journalistic, tough-guy prose championed among style guides. I will keep coming back to this one.
Jamie Clegg

I could say more, but. Eh. How's that for a great sentence?
Highly recommended for anyone who writes whether they be a novelist, journalist, or corporate executive.
A bit verbose at times, this is nevertheless a valuable tool in the armamentarium of every writer. Destined to be one of the classics of writing and composition alongside the works of Zinser and Barzun.
The next time he reads a sentence 20 different ways to illustrate how many different ways there are to write it I think I'll be quitting. I GET IT. GO ON.
Uh, yeah, so I quit. This would probably be good for people who want to be writers but are not big readers.
Bry Willis
I'm not a writer, but I write. I bought this to see if it might offer some ideas. It does, but it might be more interesting to someone with more motivation to write, especially fiction.
Edelhart Kempeneers
Deze tips zijn misschien goed voor Engelssprekende landen, maar het maken van ellenlange zinnen vind ik geen goede stijltip. En dat is het enige advies waar het boek het over heeft!
L. Lawson
Changed my perspective on writing at the sentence level. Recommended for writers.
I didn't finish this-- it was good, but didn't hold my attention at this time
Rebecca Lawton
Lots of valuable insight. And it's very modern. Highly recommended!
Mar 25, 2012 Jim marked it as to-read
Shelves: try-again-later
Completed the first set of disks at library. need to get second set.
Getty Hesse
Indispensable. Helps me so much.
Ollie is currently reading it
Mar 28, 2015
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