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Author Topic: Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences  (Read 8227 times)
Ed
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« on: September 21, 2009, 03:30:43 PM »

Seems like the writing's not getting any better as the novels roll off the presses, but does it really matter? Are these observations just nitpicking? Do you agree with the critics, or do you have worse phrases in mind?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/6194031/The-Lost-Symbol-and-The-Da-Vinci-Code-author-Dan-Browns-20-worst-sentences.html
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2009, 03:36:56 PM »

I've posted this list on a few forums and the results have polarised opinion into those people whose reaction is, 'See, I told you he was awful,' and those whose reaction is, 'See, he's gloriously awful -- that's why I love his writing'. I belong to the latter camp.
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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2009, 04:08:01 PM »

I've been sticking up for Dan Brown recently in a few places. Sure, some of the writing in the DVC is awful, but the story-telling is great, and the older I get the more I realise that it's all about story. Get into a good story and pretty soon you forget about the writing. That said, I read the DVC and probably won't be reading any more of his books. It's a little too  unrealistic for my liking. But I think we can all learn masses from him, and others like him, about how to spin a yarn.

Derek
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2009, 04:37:01 PM »

Got to agree with Del - the man cannot write a sentence correctly, but he sure can weave a wonderful yarn.  I've read both DVC and Angles and Demons and will probably read his new one too.  It is the story that matters - if further proof is needed, look at the Harry Potter and Twilight series.  Neither of those were written well, but both have a huge following.  It's the story - nothing more.

Kat

who tried to read the Digital Fortress by old Danny boy and never got past page 30 - the story isn't there.
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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2009, 04:59:59 PM »

These are pretty funny, although when I read stuff like this, it makes me think someone at the publishers isn't doing their job properly...  grin
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 07:30:52 PM »

He's captured the difference between commercial and literary fiction. The former makes money. Two dimensional characters I wouldn't like to emulate but short chapters I'm now doing that. Yep, and the cinematic style, the hook at the end of each chapter - damn it.
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 02:40:03 AM »

Oh, I'm so pleased to find I'm not the only person here who enjoys his writing  cheers
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2009, 03:48:41 AM »

No, you're not the only one, delph. The actual sentences may be terrible, the characterisation laughable, the plot stupid, but the way that he makes it all zip along is awesome. It's kind of a literary equivalent of Muse - and I love the fact that they're both topping their respective charts at the same time.
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2009, 10:31:33 AM »

I think several of the points mentioned are just nitpicking, and things one could find in the writings of most other authors if their commercial success justified the kind of attack that's been leveled against Brown. Robin Cook and Clive Cussler are two best-selling authors I can name whose writing should be much higher on the scroll of shame than Dan Brown.

The old "show don't tell" is a feeble argument when used for a quick description of a character. In just a few words, the reader has been given a mental image of Langdon, and Brown is free to expand on the characterization at leisure throughout the story.

And picking on stuff like "formulaic sentences" is crap if the sentences on their own work. I think his opening sentences are dramatic and work well as hooks. Why not use what works again and again? Oh, no, let's use something that doesn't work--that'll make the critics happy.

Some are legitimate gripes, such as the mixed metaphor or the transitive verb used without an object (though that objection would really have been better raised as a "said bookism"). And it's true that if a character is seen in silhouette, one can't simultaneously perceive the color of his irises. I agree with the Rev that Brown's editor must not be doing his or her job (either that or it was *really* awful before it hit the presses).

I thoroughly enjoyed all the Dan Brown books I read. They kept me turning pages, and if there was an occasional error, it wasn't apparent while I was reading. I was left feeling impressed with his research, whether about the Arctic or cryptography or Rome or the Illuminati or whatever.
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Ed
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 04:04:47 PM »

I agree with the Rev that Brown's editor must not be doing his or her job (either that or it was *really* awful before it hit the presses).



 grin Yeah - they caught 98% of the rest and, fifteen drafts later, this is the end result.

Must admit I'm surprised by how many people here are in favour of Dan Brown's methods. I thoroughly enjoyed The DVC, for the same reason Del stated. Great story. There were quite a few places in the text that felt heavy handed, overdone, overwritten, oversimplified, but I just scanned over them as I came to them, had a little tut to myself and carried on.

Apparently (dunno if this is true or not), the average reading age of the adult population is something like 12, so it stands to reason that these sorts of books are going to outsell literary fiction by millions, no matter how much the critics and scholars whine about it.
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 09:10:31 PM »

Personally I believe it is the court of public opinion that counts, and makes the money for the author. All I've got to do now is find the right court! 
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2009, 12:34:57 PM »

And if I may...

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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2009, 03:07:44 PM »

I haven't read any of Brown's work.  I can say that I'd be personally embarrassed if some of those sentences were published under my name.  I'm far from perfect but I take a lot of pride in my craft and strive to do my best. 

That being said, I have no problem with Dan Brown publishing them under his name.  I do think there's a place for simple, escapist fiction and as he seems to be accomplishing the goal of entertaining his audience, more power to him.  Judge him personally by whatever standards you care to set, but judge him publicly by his success.

 
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