Get ready. You are about to learn how to write better—far better.
Whether you are a student, a teacher, an aspiring novelist, a freelance writer, or simply a lover of the written word, the S.O.S. Writing program will show you the secrets that professional authors use to achieve clarity and style. You will learn how the magicians of writing—writers like John Updike, E. B. White, J. K. Rowling, and Michael Crichton—do their tricks. And best of all, these techniques apply to all kinds of writing, including fiction, academic essays, blogs, journalism, even poetry. All good writing has Style, Organization, and Specifics.
Let’s take a moment to get oriented. There are two components to the S.O.S. Writing program, this website and the textbook. As you see at the top of this page, there are several links that will help you further understand the lessons from the textbook. In the Samples section you will discover dozens of sentences by real authors that illustrate the techniques presented in each chapter of the book. The Exercises link provides worksheets that will allow you to try your hand at writing like those authors.
The Forums link will take you to the discussion board, where you can exchange ideas, ask questions when things aren’t clear, and make suggestions that will benefit future learners. Both students and teachers are welcome to join in the discussion, in the spirit of exploration and collaboration. Your participation here is very important.
The S.O.S. Writing textbook contains nine Chapters and twenty-five Sections, each Section beginning with a brief video lesson followed by text that offers interactive pages, more examples, and review. This approach is perfect for the “flipped” classroom, as well as for any learner traveling the road independently. I am hoping that the textbook will be available at Apple iBooks bookstore early in 2014. Also great news is that, with the newest Apple operating system, Mavericks, it will be viewable on any Apple device.
As mentioned earlier, the S.O.S. Writing program wants to teach you how real writers write, so you will immediately notice that we use real sentences from those real authors to demonstrate each new technique. Think of it as learning a few bars of a Beethoven symphony, or a riff by Jimi Hendrix. By studying how the masters do it, a little piece at a time, you will learn how to do it too. Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery; it is also the fastest way to learn something new.
As you make your way through the course, you might come across in your own reading a wonderful sentence or paragraph that demonstrates one of the techniques that we are discussing. It might be from a newspaper or a magazine, or from a novel or an essay, even a travel brochure. It does not matter. Great writing is worth noticing, and we want you to share your discovery with others. So drop it into the Discussion for others to appreciate, and maybe we’ll even add it to the Samples.
So, that’s it. Are you ready? We hope you will have fun, learn a lot, and share your new writing discoveries with the entire S.O.S. Writing community.
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