Don’t read this if you’re a Dan Brown fan

I have never read a Dan Brown novel.  But that didn’t stop me from laughing at this column in the Telegraph.  Here’s a sample:

Renowned author Dan Brown hated the critics. Ever since he had become one of the world’s top renowned authors they had made fun of him. They had mocked bestselling book The Da Vinci Code, successful novel Digital Fortress, popular tome Deception Point, money-spinning volume Angels & Demons and chart-topping work of narrative fiction The Lost Symbol.

The critics said his writing was clumsy, ungrammatical, repetitive and repetitive. They said it was full of unnecessary tautology. They said his prose was swamped in a sea of mixed metaphors. For some reason they found something funny in sentences such as “His eyes went white, like a shark about to attack.” They even say my books are packed with banal and superfluous description, thought the 5ft 9in man. He particularly hated it when they said his imagery was nonsensical. It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.

So I looked at the beginning of The Lost Symbol on Amazon and saw this:

Robert Langdon jolted upright in his soft leather seat, startling out of the semiconscious daydream.  He was sitting all alone in the cabin of a Falcon 2000EX corporate jet as it bounced its way through turbulence. In the background, the dual Pratt & Whitney engines hummed evenly.

Elsewhere in the chapter we find out that the Eiffel tower’s elevator was made by Otis and had articulated pistons, and the Washington monument is 555 feet high. I call this “index card” writing.  You can see the writer getting out the index card containing his research on corporate jets or the Eiffel tower’s elevator and making sure he jams every detail into his prose.

It works for Dan Brown, I guess.

4 thoughts on “Don’t read this if you’re a Dan Brown fan

  1. I was somewhat forced to read “The DaVinci Code” when an elder in my church tried to convince me Dan Brown was the Second Coming of Christ. I concur with the critics. Not only is he a heretical charlatan (making boatloads off phony religious conspiracy theories), he’s also just a very, very, very bad writer.


  2. I agree that Mr. Brown is not a great writer. If faced with the choice of being a great writer that no one ever reads of being a bad writer that has hundreds of millions in sales. I think I will choose the second option.

    What Mr. Brown does really well is develop a good story. He has a talent for taking a couple of non related facts and weave them together while making them plausible. That is his genus and that is what I try to emulate in my writing. Hopefully, with better writing and a without a religious conspiracy theory.


  3. Pingback: Dan Brown. Dan Brown. Dan Brown. And other pitiable aspects of the writer’s life. | richard bowker

  4. Pingback: Backstory | richard bowker

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