[MUSIC] Okay, welcome to the second week. You read that James Salter story. It was wicked good, right? Did it go where you thought it was going to go? I bet it didn't, and then I bet it didn't again. And I also hope you listened to the Thomas McEwan reading of it in the Deborah Freedman conversation. That's really wonderful, McEwan is such a great reader. I wonder, did you find that that story made the surfaces of the experience come alive to you? If it did, it did so in word choice, and that's what the theme of last weeks was. Likewise, I hope that your assignment was not too painful, and that you got some good feedback from your peers and gave some good feed back. Now, without exercise, you should feel free to use it for your Capstone story as you are composing it throughout the course of taking all of these courses, or just to throw it away. I mean if you felt that you wrote what you wanted to write, and then you wanted to put it aside, that is perfectly great. One of the things that we're trying to encourage you all to do in this process is to keep writing. To write something one week, and then write something another week, and then keep on doing it. The practice of writing is really the only way to learn how to do it. All right, the theme of this week as you shall soon see, is extremely basic and yet extremely important. First we're going to talk about parts of speech. This will be boring. I know it will sound like second grade or second form right at the beginning, except that what we're dealing with is really the elements of how a sentence gets put together. All right, what are the parts of speech, do you remember from school? Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, conjunctions, verbs, prepositions, adverbs, and interjections. Do you remember what those are? Nouns, persons, places, things, ideas. Pronouns are those words like he and she, it, that stand in for nouns. Adjectives are words that modify nouns, like for example, the green fountain pen that Salter told us about. Conjunctions are the pieces of speech that link other pieces of speech. The apple and the orange. Verbs are the thing that's happening. I ran to the store. I ran. The thing that took place, all right. Prepositions are words like up, down, in, to. Adverbs modify, but unlike adjectives they can modify more things. Adverbs can modify verbs, they can modify adjectives as in, a very good day, the very is an adverb. And they can also modify other adverbs, he walked extremely briskly. And then interjections, wow, right? Or anything of that sort. All right, brothers and sisters, some of these parts of speech are more important than others. Nouns and verbs rule the roost, why is that? Well when we talk, and when sometimes when we're doing first drafts of things, we will throw in all kinds of words that might help us get the ideas moving, but they're not the central elements of what we're trying to say. That they're really serious, I could say dangerous to relying too much on the other parts of speech. Why don't you want to rely on some of these other forms of speech? All right, first of all, pronouns. You've got a conversation between two men or among three women, and you start throwing your he's and your she's around and your he's around and very soon people don't know who saying what, right? And in that sense, in those places the nouns, the names in those cases, those are called the proper nouns are really important just for the sake of being clear. Well, what about prepositions? Sometimes prepositions can just clutter things up. In conversation we often say, well I went down into, I went down into the hole, or I went up over the, things like that. Very often, if you got two prepositions if you're looking for a place to cut as we'll say later on in the section on economy. One preposition will almost always do. When we speak of adjectives and adverbs, we often refer to them both as modifiers. Now why are they modifiers? Because they change slightly the meaning of the things that they modify. In the case of an adverb, it can modify the meaning of another adverb which is modifying the meaning of a verb, and boy that already starts to sound pretty complicated. Why is it a problem? Because very often, especially in English which has this tremendous vocabulary that we often neglect, there is a verb somewhere out there that is just the right word. Okay, here's an example. You could say that I, ran very quickly up the hill. Ran very quickly, is three words, a verb phrase. Two of those words are adverbs. Ran very quickly. Then you sit there and think, is there a verb that is more specific? That is more, that works better to meaning sense and clarity level, but then maybe also has the right connotation and the right sound. How about shot? Say, I shot up the hill. Boy, that sounds a lot better, and it's also arguably going to be more evocative. Or another example you might say, cruelly you might say, he was a very stupid person. Well you've got three words there all modifying person. Why not say he was a dolt or an idiot? Now those are sort of crude things to say about a person, but you get the idea. All right, now the point is not really to write without prepositions or without modifiers, which certainly have their place, finally. James Salters' beautiful word, after all, was an adverb. But the key thing is that nouns and verbs are the substance of the story. And as you've seen in Brando Skyhorse's plot course, for example, keeping things going, having things happening, that is really the soul of narrative. Verbs are in some ways the engines of a story, nouns are the substance of the story. So when we talk about writing with nouns and verbs, we don't mean to necessarily denigrate all the other parts of speech. But just to keep us focused on what's really important in the story, write with nouns and verbs. That's our theme for this week.