Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers

Spellbinding Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Achieving Excellence and Captivating Readers

by Barbara Baig


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Elevate Your Writing From So-So To Spectacular!

Great writing requires more than an original idea, compelling characters, or a scintillating plot. An author needs all of these to be successful, but writing—and writing well—also demands an entirely different skill set.

Spellbinding Sentences arms you with the tools you need to master the power of the English language. In this book, you'll learn the different qualities of words and the many ways those words can be combined to create sentences that hook readers. You'll emulate sentences from your favorite writers, practice proven techniques, and develop your skills one step at a time. The result? Your ability to craft excellent sentences will become second nature—and those sentences will hold your readers spellbound, page after page.

"Barbara Baig's Spellbinding Sentences is a tribute to the pleasure and vitality of the English language. Never prescriptive and always clear, this enlightening book is sure to help all those wishing to add grace and strength to their writing." —Jane Brox, award-winning author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, one of TIME magazine's top ten nonfiction books of 2010

"Spellbinding Sentences is sophisticated and down-to-earth at the same time. Barbara Baig has distilled decades of experience into this wise book." —Edward Dolnick, New York Times best-selling author of The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599639154
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/07/2015
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 292,259
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Barbara Baig is a writer whose passion is teaching writing. She created the position of Writing Instructor at The Divinity School at Harvard University, where she taught for two decades. She now teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University, one of the top-rated low-residency programs in the country, and for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. She offers free writing lessons at www.WhereWritersLearn.com and is the author of How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play, also from Writer's Digest Books.

Table of Contents

Welcome 1

Section 1 The Mastery Path

1 Mastering the Craft 7

2 Claiming Your Power: Learning Through Practice 14

3 The Basic Sentence Craft Practices 24

Section 2 The Power of Diction: Choosing Words 32

4 The Word Hoard 35

5 Making Meaning 45

6 The Qualities of Words 55

7 The Language of the Imagination 71

Section 3 The Power of Function: What Words Do 95

8 Parts of Speech 98

9 Making Phrases 136

Section 4 The Power of Syntax: Ordering Words 153

10 Making Spells: The Magic of Sentences 156

11 Elaborating the Basic Sentence 179

12 Extending the Basic Sentence 211

Section 5 The Power of Composition: Putting It All Together 232

13 Making Sentences Move 234

14 Writing in Rhythm 251

Section 6 Using Your Power 275

15 Power and Responsibility 276

Appendix 286

For Further Reading 286

Acknowledgments 288

Notes 289

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