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Meaning, Sense, and Clarity
Here in the first module we focus on putting pressure on your words so that they mean what you intend. We balance abstraction with the need to make good sense. And we discuss the first and last stylistic difficulty of any prose writer, being clear.
Writing with Nouns and Verbs
In the second module we look at the various parts of speech and how two of them—nouns and verbs—are the building blocks of good style and good narratives. By relying on nouns, we make the people, places, and things of the narrative world vivid. By relying on verbs we keep the story alive and in motion.
In the third module, having practiced putting words in, we learn to take them out. And why: for humor, for clarity, for cleanliness, and for that fleet quality of wit that makes a style irresistible.
"No Ideas But in Things"
In the the final module of the course, we learn to balance the drive to get at ideas and feelings, with the need the story always has for concreteness, realness. We learn to express ideas in the form of physical things in a narrative world, to produce a style that speaks as much to the world of the senses as to the world of the mind.