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Would you rather be yourself or Dan Brown?

September 21, 2009 2 comments

Most writers will never receive critical approval or fame. But suppose you could choose one or the other? Would you like to create masterpieces which are not appreciated (until you’ve died, probably) or would you like to earn scads of cash for turning out dross?

The latter, according to experts, is where Dan (Da Vinci Code) Brown finds himself. I have no idea how many millions of books he has sold, and I don’t have the desire to research the matter.

According to Edinburgh University professor of linguistics Geoffrey Pullum: “Brown’s writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad.”

Sour grapes? I don’t know. But it raises the question: what exactly is bad writing, especially if millions of people seem to like it. Was Jacqueline (Valley of the Dolls) Susann a bad writer? Archer? Rowling?

Anyway, the Daily Telegraph newspaper has picked out a list of Brown’s clumsiest bits of writing, and there is certainly stuff in there we’d all be wise to avoid.

As Professor Pullum said: “It has the ring of utter ineptitude.”

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Categories: Technique Tags: ,