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Why writers should leave Dan Brown alone

As you may or may not know, there’s a link to an article called ‘Dan Brown’s worst 20 sentences’ doing the rounds. Elsewhere, someone’s posted a Reader’s Guide (as in sarcastic commentary) to his latest book, The Lost Symbol, on their journal. I checked them both out, but you won’t get a link to either of those web pages from here.  


Honest criticism is one thing, but these two pieces aren’t looking to be helpful, they’re designed to encourage other people to make snide remarks and join in the laughter at Dan Brown’s expense. The ‘worst twenty sentences’ article tries to dress itself up as a serious critique, but one look at the title tells you the writer’s real intention.


According to the list, Dan Brown’s most heinous crime was choosing to call his novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’, because, as every smart person knows, Leonardo Da Vinci, actually means ‘Leonardo of Vinci’. 


So what? Before the book came out, if you’d asked just about anybody in the western world if they knew who ‘Da Vinci’ was, I guarantee you the vast majority would NOT have said, “Oh, hah, hah! You poor, cretinous fool, there’s no such person as OF Vinci.”    


I don’t understand why some people feel the need to play this ‘Bash the successful author, because we’re so clever and he’s so stupid’ game. If you don’t like a book, by all means say so, but the moment you invite others to join in with the public mockery, you’ve crossed the line as far as I’m concerned.


“Yeah, but he’s a famous author,” they, and a big chunk of their followers say. “He’s not supposed to write crappy sentences.”


Really?   Can any of us, with hand on heart, claim that we’ve never submitted something to an agent/editor/publisher that, when we look back on it later, didn’t contain a single ill-turned phrase? I know I can’t. 


Along with millions of others, I read The Da Vinci Code and enjoyed it. I also read Angels & Demons (which I preferred). I’m about sixty pages into The Lost Symbol, and so far, I like that too. 


If the people who try to pull other writers down spent more time trying to improve their own work, and less time demonstrating their complete lack of class to the rest of the world, maybe they’d have a better chance of ending up as successful as Dan Brown one day. Of course, before that can happen, they’d need to grow up. I hope they do.


What do you guys think?


Am I being unfair? Are famous authors fair game for ridicule, or should we focus on improving our own work?


As for me, I continue to pursue my dream of becoming a successful writer, derided for my lack of talent.  I'm already halfway there, now all I need is a best-seller.

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Sep. 26th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
My issue with Dan Brown - and I'm one of those who wants to beat him to death with his own book - is structure and the hype.

Now, it's nice work if you can get it that allows to you publish a book that breaks every "newbie" rule known to man and make ginormous money off of it. But... that's not anyone I know.

I have problems with his book on the "info dump" level. The "cop out" level - he builds up all this suspense in the bad guys then...here he is. I felt cheated. We did NOT need to know as much about the Templars as he put in.

And the fact that people are taking a FREAKIN' NOVEL as GOSPEL FACT. Which then creates the controversy. I had problems with the "facts" he put out there, except they were perceived as FACTS and CONTROVERSIAL FACTS as that. There are other Templar books out there that even put forth the same ideas that maybe Jesus had children, and all that stuff that didn't get the HYPE and the UPROAR this one did - and frankly are much better stories.

Do I begrudge him his fame and money? Not really. Other people pushed his book into the spotlight. Do I wish he'd written a BETTER one to deserve it? Heck yeah. Or do I wish those who DID writer the better books got their cut? Heck yeah. Would I do it? In a heartbeat - but only if I wrote the better book. Though I wouldn't mind having his marketing team. They apparently can sell ANYTHING.
Sep. 26th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed The Last Templar, by Raymond Khoury, though they made a dreadful hash of the movie version (imo).

I'm with you on wanting Dan Brown's marketing team :)

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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