Week 1: Why Clarity Matters
If clarity is required for good writing, why is so much of what we read dull, difficult or simply thrown together? We will cover a brief history of the beautiful mess we call written English and consider what clear writing means by drawing on selected examples of good prose.
Week 2: Playing by the Rules
Yes, the rules of writing mean grammar. But, no, grammar needn’t be either daunting or boring. We will view grammar as a toolbox in which the tools are well used but razor sharp. We will also see how English is alive with its rules in flux.
Week 3: Choosing the Right Word
To create a piece of clear writing you need good, solid blocks, much as when one literally builds something. We’ll explore how to choose words that hit their targets, and how to avoid clunkers that can slow down or even put off a reader.
Week 4: Writing Sentences that Work
You may have wonderful words to express your great ideas, but if you can’t craft them into effective sentences, how is the world ever going to know? We will examine the architecture of sentences and discuss ways to write them with more power and grace.
Week 5: Drafting Paragraphs for Style
A delicious meal isn’t wolfed down whole, and you can’t read a work of writing all at once. Paragraphs are the bite-sized chunks we need to make reading a pleasure. Our consideration of overall structure will give us a chance to explore the elusive concept of “style.”
Week 6: Editing for Clarity
The first draft is the necessary first step, but what happens next is crucial. We will explore how to become our own best editors, using the same methodical approach as professionals. Writing clearly, as we will see, is, in effect, all about the art of rewriting.