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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Building Great Sentences by Professor Brooks Landon

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 exercises. One exercise which I thought was fun was changing a sentence around to see which is the best construction.  I did this with my favourite quotation: 'There are always flowers for those who want to see them'. (Henri Matisse)  Matisse could have said: 'Those who want to see them will always see flowers', or 'Flowers will always be there for those who want to see them'.  As you can see, this wonderful artist definitely chose the best construction for this sentence!

The only issue which I had with this book was that Landon favours cumulative sentences, and I found some of the examples from writers really just too long.  Perhaps, this was because I am not a big fan of stream-of-consciousness writing, or Earnest Hemingway - even when he does write longer sentences.

I thought this was an excellent book for writers, and I highly recommend it if you want to improve your writing.


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