- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Pearson; 1 edition (January 18, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0205296327
- ISBN-13: 978-0205296323
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader's Perspective 1st Edition
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Most of the advice is specific to writing. The confusion with which the book helps becomes much less important for spoken words that come with tone (to show emphasis) and pauses.
A secondary goal of the book is to explain how to organize sentences to minimize the reader's need to hold information in working memory. For example, putting lots of words before the main subject and verb as this sentence does (unless you really want to slow the reader down, such as when telling someone they're fired) is something he teaches us to avoid.
I found the explanations fairly clear and moderately surprising. Learning from them depends very heavily on repeated practice at rearranging words within sentences and evaluating how the changes affect readers' reactions.
Not only interesting as a textbook, "The Sense of Structure" will remain a reference book for the rest of my writing - and audience reading - life. Thank you George, for casting a rather harsh, but forgiving, light on my prose. It can only get better from here.
His techniques are largely structural, based on current research into how readers of English read. His techniques, moreover, are objective, which solves the problem of how to edit your own work so that it will mean to a reader what it means to you. Gopen also provides practical tips on how to structure both sentences and paragraphs for proper emphasis. He demonstrates how to manipulate the story being told to ensure the reader is not left in the dark about what is being communicated. He concludes with a non-dogmatic guide to punctuation and grammatical tools, designed to improve communication under various circumstances.
To learn the specific techniques, read Gopen's book. I assure you that you will never have encountered a better approach to writing.
Aside from working closely with mentors who carefully critique your writing, there is nothing I have come across that will improve the clarity of your writing more than "writing from the reader's perspective"
Would suggest to all professionals or students who write regularly - this will likely make a huge difference in your ability to communicate to your readers.