Writing Masterclass: Structures (Strategy 3 in the Writing Masterclass Series) | Rachel Leroy | Skillshare

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Writing Masterclass: Structures (Strategy 3 in the Writing Masterclass Series)

teacher avatar Rachel Leroy, Stop Striving and Start Thriving

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction (Please note the whole series is broken down by one Strategy per course, not two strate

    • 2. Introduction and Writing Structures: Sentence Length Strategy 3 Technique 1

    • 3. Writing Structures: Sentence Flow Strategy 3 Technique 2

    • 4. Writing Structures: Emphatic Words Strategy 3 Technique 3

    • 5. Writing Structures: Punctuation and Pace Strategy 3 Technique 4

    • 6. ClosingThoughts

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About This Class

 If you enjoyed this course, please like it and share with others. Honest reviews are welcome and appreciated. 

In this course you will learn to hone your style and craft in the fundamentals of effective writing.

  • Practice effective word usage and economy
  • Implement proactive sentence structure
  • Utilize effective word order and sentence flow
  • Create strong intros, conclusions, paragraph order, and variety
  • Strategize your purpose and unity with maximum effect
  • Convince your reader through strong logic and presentation
  • Understand what attitudes will give you an edge in your writing
  • Practice effective habits that will help you create the writing quality you desire

This course is intended to be part of the series, Become a Writing Masterclass: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Mastery. "Writing Structures" is Strategy 3 of this series:

Strategy 1, Writing Words

Strategy 2, Writing Sentences

Strategy 3 Writing Structures

Strategy 4, Writing Paragraphs

Strategy 5, Writing Purpose

Strategy 6, Writing Presentaiton

Strategy 7, Writing Attitudes

Strategy 8 Writing Habits

Meet Your Teacher

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Rachel Leroy

Stop Striving and Start Thriving


Rachel Leroy BA, MA, MFA

Writing Professor and Personal Growth Teacher


As a teacher and lifelong learner, I'm excited to engage my creativity and expertise to help students and other learners engage in empowering learning experiences that will help them succeed in their careers, education, and lives. With thirteen years experience as an Assistant Professor in English, writing, and composition at Georgia Southern University, I have acquired experience teaching writing and composition, creative writing, critical thinking and logic, online learning, research methods, first year college experience, student-centered learning, editing, grammar, and literature.

How I Relate to Students--Stop Striving and

Start Thriving

I know what it's lik... See full profile

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1. Introduction (Please note the whole series is broken down by one Strategy per course, not two strate: hello and welcome to writing that sales techniques that transform your writing. This course offers you an opportunity to improve your riding style through specific techniques that you can apply right away to your writing process. Now this isn't a course on how to sell your riding directly, but it's a course on how to improve your riding style itself, which will increase the chances that you're riding will sell itself. In addition to specific marketing strategies that you may use, the course covers different sections of the writing process and nuts and bolts techniques on how to improve your writing process and your riding style. It covers all the way from the word level, all the way to global issues, all the way to habits and attitudes. The course is set up into four sections, one section on words and sentences, so it starts with words and then builds into sentences. Then there's another section on paragraphs and structures, and so it's scaffold and build into paragraphs in structures in terms of larger chunks of the writing process. And then it goes into purpose and presentation, which is looking more at global ideas, combining paragraphs and combining host structures of your piece to see what it looks like as a whole, and then stepping back from your writing pieces individually and looking at them as a group . You will also have a section on habits and attitudes that can help maximize your writing process, help you to improve your riding style and help you to increase the chances of succeeding in your goals as a writer. Now, this course is for anybody who wants to improve the writing style. It's targeted more for beginners, but it could also be useful for intermediate riders. Whether you're a business writer, a creative writer, someone who writes poems, short stories, poetry, someone who blocks someone who writes academically. Whatever the case, maybe there's a little bit of something for everyone in this course. If you're an advanced writer, you may find things that will help you here. But this is more, of course, for in intermediate and beginning writers, the goal of this course and what it will do for you, this course. Like I said, we'll help you to improve yourself as a writer in a way that will be techniques that you can apply practically and specifically and, um, each course section. Like I said, it's set up into two strategies per section. There's eight strategies total several techniques per strategy and each technique. For most of them. There is an explanation. First a rule and then an explanation, a demonstration or an example and then an application of it in some way so that you can put it into practice right away. The example helps you to see that particular technique in practice, and then the exercise and or the quiz at the end of each particular strategy will actually help you to apply that technique so you know how to use it in your own riding, and you can apply it right away. Keep in mind that none of these techniques are necessarily catch alls. For example, if we say use active voice, that doesn't mean that you use active voice 100% of the time. So keep in mind that these techniques are not all out rules, even though that word may be used on occasion to describe these techniques. So if there's a case where active voice is not appropriate or it doesn't flow, well, then don't use it. So this is like I said, Each technique is not a catch all but a general rule of thumb. In each situation, you'll need to look at the context of the situation to see what's most appropriate, like anything, for example, a musician. First, you have to learn the rules before you can break them, and then once you understand the nature of them, that's when breaking them becomes appropriate because you understand the context of a situation. So keep that in mind as well. Um, but this course is unique because it covers a wider range of techniques than some of the similar courses that air included on this side and similar sites because it includes a wider range of techniques in many cases, and also it covers habits and attitudes. I think it's important not just a look at the Senate's level and the word level, the paragraph level and the whole work level. But to stand back and look at your works as a whole and look at patterns in your own riding style and patterns in your habits that influence those techniques, and so we'll talk about and cover that as well. The course is set up in terms of each of the sections in each of the techniques in each of the strategies. For each section, there will be two videos with talking over slide shows, so they'll be to slide shows per section, and there will be a talking head video over each one that will guide you through that process. At the end of that talking head video or slide show, there will be either a quiz or a some kind of technique or exercise to apply to that. In some cases, there may be both, but in most cases it will be either one or the other, depending on which is more appropriate in that situation. So let's go ahead and get started and welcome to the course writing that sales techniques that will transform your writing. 2. Introduction and Writing Structures: Sentence Length Strategy 3 Technique 1 : Hello and welcome to Strategy three in the second section. The second section covers structures and paragraphs, and it builds on what we were talking about in the last section and in the last two strategies. Strategy one was words and strategy. Two was sentences, and now we're building from those more brass tacks, smaller structures and components into what those become, where words become sentences and sentence has become paragraphs and paragraphs become overall structures and structure is, um, looser term. That's used in a way that is anything that's not a paragraph or any combination of paragraphs. So Strategy three is structures and strategy three says pace and order words and sentences for appropriate emphasis. Notice that we're still talking about words and sentences, but we're talking about how they're used overall as a whole when you put them together and their effect there, um, explanation of strategy three Use word order and Senate's pace to impact, emphasis, mood and flow of ideas. Your word order does influence the emphasis in the mood and the flow of your ideas, as does the Senate's pace. The Senate's pace can have a different influence on emotions on emphasis on what you're trying, Teoh, make the reader get out of that particular situation, and so pace and order your words for appropriate emphasis. Now there are four techniques that go, um, with strategy. Three. Technique. One is the first and that one states to vary links for appropriate pace and float very Senate's links for appropriate pace and float. The explanation here is the very Senate sleet links for increased effect. Mixed short, medium and long sentences to create a lyrical flow. In most cases, it's appropriate to mix, um, short and simple sentences in with some longer compound complex and compound complex sentences. It creates a nice organic flow as a riding instructor of same students that use both extremes. They might have used ah, lot of short, choppy sentences, short, choppy sentences, and it just had this, um, it was just a pace about it that was hard to follow because it was just choppy and the technique wasn't natural, and so it didn't have that nice flow to it that was organic and natural. Likewise, I've also had students that would have these long, tangled sentences that were hard to follow and so sometimes you would get lost in the thought and forget where you began. And so sometimes those can be hard to follow is well, so it just depends on the situation. But in most cases, you want to vary your Senate slates. Makes sense, um, short sentences with the long ones. Think about what you're trying to say and how you're trying to break it up. Where do you need to have a pause or a breath in the ideas where you need some kind of breaking? That's where you would want to include Senate's breaks and or breaks within a sentence, for example, commas with coordinating conjunctions or semi colons or dashes, which will get into those later so strategy threes to pace in order words and sentences for appropriate emphasis. Then that emphasis is both in terms of what you want to be emphatic what you want to stand out in the Senate's for your reader, but also the emotional effect and the just rhythm of its sentences have ah, ah, flow in a rhythm to them. And then when there's that nice organic mixture of sentences, it has that lyrical quality that we're talking about an explanation here or actually an example um, this memoir here there's, ah passage from it, and it varies sentences to create the right pace, emotion and float. Something that it stands on its own is for emphasis, or it has more of a terse quality to it. And then some of the longer ones are more for like a meandering, slower pace, where you're trying to emphasize more complex thoughts or or concepts. We rode to town in the afternoon when Mon Granddaddy finished gathering and sorting eggs. We went to the grocery store where high pitched elevator music played as I kicked my legs on the buggies, metal grates for ran up and down the cold white floors, tugging at malls bellbottoms. When we arrived at check out, I let the conveyor belt got glide under my hand. But this one started and stopped, Unlike the one mind granddaddy used to sort eggs after the grocery store, I always big to eat it. Captain Dese. They always humored me. The same elevator music played as I pretended to skate on icy floors. I thought the bathroom was a waiting room with more cold air and elevator music, like the previous rooms are flute arrived. I put catch up on everything now, the just to reiterate. There, certain things were used for emphasis, and so they stood on their own in a shorter sentence, something that is used for urgency, emphasis, speed. Those are the things that you want in simple sentences, things that are more meandering, things that are more experiential, those air more drone out. Those are the ones that you want to use with the longer sentences or, in some cases, the more medium length sentences. So make sure that you very Senate's links for appropriate pace and float, and that is technique one of strategy three structures. 3. Writing Structures: Sentence Flow Strategy 3 Technique 2: Hello and welcome to technique. Two of strategy three structures. Technique to stakes that you want to start sentences with a subject and in action verb Like always. This is not a catchall, but it is something that you want to try to do more often as much as possible. Start sentences with a subject and an action verb, and the reason for that is because you want to allow weaker constructions to follow the subject and the verb that puts the emphasis on the subject and the verb. And usually in most cases, that is what you're emphasizing, the subject and the verb. And that's what you want to put first, because that puts it in the reader's mind. First, experts call such sentences right branching, mostly because the descriptors and minor words come after the subject and the verb. Not all well written sentences followed that structure, but riders like Steinbeck, known for tight prose, use that technique frequently, so trying to use the subject in the verb first emphasize what you want to emphasize at the beginning, so the reader is left with those thoughts an example of that as the wind beat branches and vines. Jessica jumped from the cliff into the rippling current. Okay, that one does not do so. It's not right branching. A lot of those descriptors are at the beginning, for example, as the wind beat branches and vines. That is a subordinate clause, and there's no subject and there's no verb. And so it takes us a little while to get to the beginning of the Senate. And so what should be emphasized in it isn't necessarily emphasized in the right place there. So this is a better way of correcting the Senate's Jessica jump from the cliff into the rippling current as the winds beat branches and bonds. The most important part here is Jessica Jump from the cliff, and so the subject and the verb. Our first. And we get that image in her mind first so that it is emphasized and it's a stronger sentence. And then ask The winds beat branches and vines comes last, and that still gives us some clarifying details. But they're not as emphasized as the part that we really need to know about. And then another example. Beverly, for as long as she could remember, had been working on her novel. That's one of their sentences. You understand what it means, but there's something a little off about the structure, so if you correct it, it works better this way. It has once again a more active form, a more, um, correct emphasis. The part this emphatic is at the beginning, and it just clarifies what's going on. And it pops. Beverly had been working on her novel for as long as she could remember, and you don't have that chopped up feeling that the Senate's had before. And so you've got the subject Beverly had been working on. Her novel had been working the verb or the verb phrase, which are at the beginning, and so that strategy three structures technique to which is start sentences with a subject and an action verb, and that will increase the strength of your sentences, the emphasis of them, and give them that tight feel that everybody wants in the riding 4. Writing Structures: Emphatic Words Strategy 3 Technique 3: Hello and welcome to Strategy three technique. Three. We're moving right along in the courts, and I hope you're enjoying it, and I hope you're getting a lot out of it. And I hope that you're able to apply the techniques that you need to cover in the course. If there's a particular section that will help you more than it might be good to skip ahead to that section, even though a lot of this course is built in a sequential sort of Skaff voting building on the previous step process. But you can still use each of these sections in a sense where it stands alone. For example, if you feel like you need to work more on your habits and you have a weakness with sentences, you might go back and just rewatch those particular videos and presentations and go through those sections extra times, or go through those sections first. Whatever works for you, that's what you should do for the course. But technique three is place words of emphasis at the end of the Senate's. Now you might be scratching your head thinking, doesn't that contradict what was said before? And that would be a reasonable thing to assume at first, but when you look at the explanation, it clarifies it a little more. And this is from classic grammar scholarship and classic grammar Senate's diagramming, and this is how you should emphasize the words in your sentences. And by the way, if you spend time working on tight poetry, even if you're not a poet, it makes you a better prose writer because you're forced to compress your language, you're forced to compress your words. You're forced to simplify, simplify, simplify without dumbing down, and then so but poetry. This also applies to place words of emphasis in specific places in the line. So it says, building on the previous technique, the elements of style states and the elements of style is a classic handbook and technique of style riding. And it's been around for a long time. It says Place emphatic words are worse for emphasis in the Senate's at the end place emphatic words in a sentence at the end. In other words, emphatic words should go at the beginning and end of a sentence. So remember this way to 31 start with the Senate's start, the Senate's with the second most emphatic Freis. So you're still starting it with what you want emphasize. But it might not be what he emphasized the most. Hide the weak elements in the middle and then put the most important words last. When you have a compound or complex Senate's, this especially holds true. And if you take some of your sentences that aren't structured this way and restructure room once again, there are exceptions. But in most cases you'll find that your Senate's blows better that you're trying, Teoh. It's more on an unconscious level for the reader, but when you consciously change the structure of the Senate's in this way, you'll find that your writing flows better and your sentences are stronger. And so follow the 231 emphasis to being the second most emphasized element in the Senate. Three being the most minor and one being the most emphatic idea word or phrase in the Senate. And so poetry puts emphatic words at the beginning and ends of lines as well, and so just listen to the lines here. It doesn't do it in everyone, but in most lines you'll find that the emphatic words are at the beginning. Indians of the lines follow along As we read this poem, My Life Has Stood a Loaded Gun by Emily Dickinson My life had stood a loaded gun in corners till a day the owner passed, identified and carried me away. And now we Roman sovereign woods. And now we hunt the dough. And every time I speak for him, the mountains straight reply. And do I smile such cordial light upon the valley globe? It is as a vasu V and face had led its pleasure through and when at night are good day done , I guard my master's head. It is better than the eater ducks deep pillow to have shared tufo of hiss. I'm deadly photo. None stir the second time on whom I lay a yellow I or an emphatic thumb, though I then he may longer live. He longer must. Then I for I have but the power to kill without the power to die Emily Dickinson. And if you go through there, you'll notice that in the majority of the cases, what needs to be emphasized the most is at the very end of the Senate's, and that especially holds true in poetry or at the end of the line in this case. But in many cases it's also true in sentences 231 two in the middle three, the least emphasis, one the most emphatic. And that is Strategy three and thats technique to emphasize what needs to be emphasized the most at the end of the Senate's. When you take it in the context of the previous technique to emphasize what's at the beginning, you put them together. It makes a lot more sense. Look at the context of the situation and see what needs to be emphasized. 5. Writing Structures: Punctuation and Pace Strategy 3 Technique 4: Hello and welcome to strategy. Three. Technique for technique. Four is still part of structures and structures is a broader term that encompasses paragraphs in some cases, but it can also emphasize smaller units of information and sentences and words. Or it can also emphasize larger ones that might be multiple paragraphs within a larger work technique for states. Allow punctuation to set the pace. Allow punctuation to set the pace. I once wrote a piece of nonfiction, and it was satire, and I used each type of punctuation as a character, and each character followed the characteristics that it is given in grammar, in language and in sentences. For example, a question mark is a punched over been over tired person who doesn't ever have any confidence and doesn't declare anything straight out. And then an exclamation point is erect, sure, confident, loud and in some cases, too aggressive. And so each particular kind of punctuation obviously emphasizes a particular kind of rhythm , a particular kind of lyric, a particular kind of emotion or a particular kind of emphasis, and so allow punctuation to set the pace. The explanation here is punctuation isn't just rules. It sets the readers pace and groups words, phrases and sentences. So it's not just grammatical rules, but there's a finer craft to it that you want to think about in terms of the context of a situation making the right choice. It's not always right or wrong, even though in many cases it is because its grammar. But it's also technique, just like we're talking about here. Through this whole series of talks. Use punctuation creatively. Periods creates stops, commas create pauses, dashes create longer pauses for emphasis and semicolons stop ideas for a moment. So, um, example here you've probably seen on Facebook or in other places some of those silly means about how important punctuation is. So I will use one of those. Note the difference. Neither one is correct or incorrect. But the meaning is different because off the punctuation in this one, when do we eat Grandma? Question mark. When do we eat grandma and then the other one? When do we eat comma? Grandma, When do we eat Grandma? In that case, commas are very important because I don't know about you, but I'm not going to eat my grandma. And then in the other case, Grandmother is obviously cooking dinner and you're asking her when are we going to eat? And that when it's fun So punctuation can save lives in many cases. But it also emphasizes something different in the Senate's. In the this case, Grandma becomes the thing or the person that is being eaten, and I don't think we want that. So the comma makes her the object of the question. Um, and this is the best here. Here's Here's another example where the change of the punctuation changes the emphasis of what you're saying, it actually changes the meaning. This is the best time of your life to thrive and create something for yourself, period. Love yourself and have fun. So this sentence is talking about maybe someone who is young or someone who is in a period of their life where they're free and they're saying, You know, this is a time where you should really basically live it up, Thrive, Have fun. Love yourself on Ben. Here's another sentence. Same words. Set of sentences. It's the same words, but it's a different emphasis, slightly different. This is the best time of your life, period to thrive and create something for yourself. comma, Love yourself and have fun. So this one emphasises the like lifestyle or the mindset that she wanna have instead of the time of your life. This is the best time of your life, period to thrive and create something for yourself, comma, love yourself and have fun. And so that someone giving life advice to someone about how to do that and so you can see the emphasis is different and safer strategy. Three. Keep in mind that punctuation can set the pace of a sentence or a set of sentences, and so think about what each particular kind of punctuation does where it's appropriate. For example, if you use a semi colon instead of a dash, you're gonna have more of a stop in the middle of a sentence. A dash is more of a long pause. So think about how were your line? Breaks your Senate's breaks and you're different punctuation in the particular situation where it might be corrected more than one way. Think very consciously about the kind of punctuation you're putting in in terms of the pace , and the emphasis is like driving. Is it a stop sign? Is it a speed bump is it a, um maybe a roadblock. So think about how you need to pace there for the emphasis and for the emotional effect, the rhythm, the poetry and the lyrics of your sentences. And that is strategy three Technique four. 6. ClosingThoughts: Hello, my dear students, I want to thank you for taking this course in the series on riding master class and at the end of each of thes courses in the Siri's Ah, large portion of them will have an exercise and you'll see that in the documents section of the course is some of them may not, but many of them wheel if he would. I encourage you to do the exercises, take the quizzes and put your results to the exercises in the project area of the course that allows us to see what you're doing. I can give you feedback on your exercises so that you can see how you're doing in terms of mastering the class concepts and also includes some edited pieces that you have done or riding pieces that you have done based on the class. Police put those in the project section so we can see, and I can see the wonderful things that you're doing to improve your riding so you can see real results occur. And also, if you wouldn't mind if you have enjoyed the course. If you've gotten something from the course, police check the box that says I would recommend. This course will probably see it at the top of your screen or somewhere popped up on your screen near the end in the last lecture of the course. If you would do that, I greatly appreciate it. And police leave an honest review so that it will allow me to help you and to make better courses for other students in the future. Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to seeing you there. And also, if you have questions, police post them in the discussion area. I love to talk about riding. I love to help you with your riding. And while I don't have time to give full critiques on rotting, I will be more than glad to comment on your responses to the questions there that are exercises in the course. So if you have any questions in general police, feel free to write right me and reach out to me as well. You can also find my contact information in my faculty profile, and I look forward to getting to know you have a great day