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Dan Brown's worst sentences

 
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:10 pm
The Lost Symbol and The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's 20 worst sentences
The Lost Symbol, the latest novel by The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, has gone on sale. We pick 20 of the clumsiest phrases from it and from his earlier works.


Quote:
If Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol is anything like his previous works, it will not go down well with the critics. Famously, comedian Stewart Lee mocked him for using the sentence “The famous man looked at the red cup” in his bestselling The Da Vinci Code.

In fact, Lee was making that up " the sentence never appears in the book. So are the critics unfair on Brown?

They’re certainly harsh. Edinburgh professor of linguistics Geoffrey Pullum says “Brown's writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad.” He picks out some excerpts for special criticism. The female lead in Angels and Demons learns of the death of her scientist father: “Genius, she thought. My father . . . Dad. Dead.” A member of the Vatican Guard in the same book becomes annoyed by something, and we learn that "his eyes went white, like a shark about to attack."

Below we have selected 20 phrases that may grate on the ear. It’s not a definitive list. It couldn’t be: he has published five novels, each around 500 pages long, and the arguments over which are the worst bits will go on for a while. But it’s our list.
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:13 pm
@Robert Gentel,
My favorite:

Dan Brown wrote:
"The Knights Templar were warriors," Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.


One of the comments on the article, trying to write like Dan Brown:

Quote:
Author Dan Brown strode through the brass lobby of a bar and ordered a beer, his eyes white as something white. The bartender had eyes too.

"What'll it be?" asked the bartender with his mouth. He raised the tone of his voice towards the end of the statement to express that he was asking a question 'cos when someone speaks to you you can't see question marks. "What'll what be?" replied author Dan Brown, answering a question with a question and putting the emphasis on the what part of the reply, showing that the question he just asked is related to the question he was just asked. The bartender shifted his eyes. A little too shiftily, thought the author (Dan Brown); was it a challenge? Did he recognise me? Was he expecting me? Was I expecting this? Of course I was, I'm Dan Brown. trust no-one Dan. Disassemble him with your brains.

The bartender's silence spoke leaflets. After what seemed like a long time, he unsilenced and spoke again. "What would you like to drink?" he said slowly, a little too slowly. Almost like it was in code. If there was one thing Dan Brown could do, besides bookery, it was being able to pull hidden codes from seemingly nowhere, at least to anyone who wasn't he - Dan Brown. Their eyes stood locked onto each other's eyes. It was an anagram. The author began calculating. "Lout, hoodwink a Wild Turkey," He sounded out to the bartender, confident he'd cracked the code. The bartender folded his arms and said "I'm not sure what you're talking about." Dan, with his pointy sharp-like wit, replied "Well, I'm not sure what you're listening about."

The bar man walked away (hopping always led to questions, questions he could do without) and all of a quickly Dan "Author Man" Brown realised in his brain what was going on (not what was actually happening, just his perception of things)... it was a double-cross (like what traitors do, not a symbol of two crosses. Dan feckin loves symbols!)Straight away he called his agent "Agent, it's me, Symbol Simon. I've been double-crossed." "No you haven't Dan. You're not a clever master of symbols who has been drawn into a world of espionage and secrets too important for the world to know. You're a writer. And barely that. Now leave me alone, I'm on the loo." Dan Brown(ed off) sneered at the camera (which wasn't there) "So, they've got to you too."

He left the bar in search of a bar, with a less confus-...even greater controversial mystery hidden within inside; one where he could find answers to riddles he hadn't made up yet, by himself in singular aloneness. Walking down the wet rained-on street he observed the night setting in, making day go dark. Street lights shone and puddles reflected, like candles and wobbly mirrors, but outdoors. An attractive, slender woman in her twenties stood on the street corner as Dan Brown strode up to her side. "Excuse me, miss," He began, and the girl yelped. "Yelp!" she yelped. "I never noticed you behind me there, how'd you do that!?" Dan had been waiting for a situation such as this (a woman startled by his sneak-...stealth) to try his new line. "Brownian Motion baby - it's elementary." The girl was awestruck, but with his wit or celebrity recognition? Dan could not be sure. Both. "Point me to the most dubious, suspect-looking bar you know of, madame."

She fingered a thumb over to Brecks Bar.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:19 pm
Giggle.

I can't do that, I didn't get past one book.

but I've just read Sue Grafton's R is for Richochet. Half the book is descriptions of clothes, and secondarily, scenery. This is annoying since I foreswore her years ago, but cheap thrillers at hand, I'm a creampuff.

However, I'm regaining, via Goodwill, an appreciation of a writer I eschewed, Grisham. He's doing well for me in the battle of the bestsellers.

I'm working toward Herodotus, my last purchase, but slowly.
Merry Andrew
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:20 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you for posting that, Robert. When you see the individual sentences excised like that from the rest of the text you begin to appreciate just how mind-numbingly, stultifyingly bad this guy's writing is. And yet his books sell in the millions. Amazing.
ossobuco
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:20 pm
@ossobuco,
Sorry, that was a distraction. Back to Brownian movement..
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Merry Andrew
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:23 pm
@ossobuco,
Osso, compared to Brown, ole Sue is Nobel Prize material. I'll be soooo disappointed when she's finally finished with the alphabet.
ossobuco
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:25 pm
@Merry Andrew,
The book from Dan Brown that I plotzed at was Angels and Demons.

I may have to review how lame it was...
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Robert Gentel
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:27 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:
Thank you for posting that, Robert. When you see the individual sentences excised like that from the rest of the text you begin to appreciate just how mind-numbingly, stultifyingly bad this guy's writing is. And yet his books sell in the millions. Amazing.


I've only read one of his books, The Da Vinci Code, and it didn't leap out at me the way they do when highlighted like this.

Like I said in the other thread, I don't think most people read for the way the words are put together, but for the story. But yeah, this stuff is pretty damn bad.
ossobuco
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Which is why I'm noticing Grisham as a story maker.



But, I like something well written that makes sense, such as Happy Birthday, Turk, short .

http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Birthday-Turk-Exit-Years/dp/1842431501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254447862&sr=1-1

Oh, gads, back to Brown.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:45 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I listened to Da... and on tape, the reader corrected that which was "stultifying". There was a bit of pomposity scurrying about though, which the reader was unable , despite his efforts , to squash with his tongue.

Follet's "pillars of the Earth" was kinda stultifying too, as are most books written by SImon Winchester. The ony reason i like WInchester is that he spends time scrounging for facts. Then he presents all his evidence in huge trains of mind numbing detail
Sglass
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:56 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Hell of a story.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:56 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I just can't read him.

I have truly tried, and forced myself through about 20 pages, but my pupils went white like a ploar bear about to attack only that would be red with its mouth open and all anyhow I could no longer see the words on the page.
farmerman
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 08:58 pm
@dlowan,
You write like im. Twisted Evil
Setanta
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:07 pm
A few years ago, i read a novel by a professor at a small university in California, Judith Merkle Riley, entitled The Serpent Garden. It was published in 1996 or 1997. In the novel, the main character learns of a secret society in Paris who hope to place their own candidate on the French throne--it is set in the first half of the 16th century. However, the plotters are a secret society of Knights Templar, who meet in abandoned Roman baths under the streets of Paris. They want to supplant the Valois with a descendant of the Merovingians. The main character has a manuscript in her possession which both this secret society and an English "demon-master" are willing to kill her to get their hands on.

Now Miss Riley's book has a summoned demon, an apprentice angel and a pack of cherubim in it, and it has none of the Mary Magdalen-Jesus bullshit. But Brown's work is so lacking in imagination (for those with some knowledge of history, and of the history of the Merovingians, the Templars and Opus Dei it is rather boring) that when i had read The Serpent Garden, i strongly suspected that Brown's work was inspired by Riley's novel. I don't for a moment suggest plagiarism, of course--the two books have different settings and slightly different conspiracy theories in operation. Nevertheless, i suspect that Riley's novel was Brown's inspiration.

************************************************

The most appalling thing about Brown's success, though, is the number of dimwits who think it's all true.
Sglass
 
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Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:12 pm
@Setanta,
That is slander Setana. Sahame, shame on you.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:17 pm
@dlowan,
Then may I recommend Shadow God by Aaron Rayburn

Quote:
"Trapped under a beam with the countdown ticking away, the monster just on the other side of the battered door, and my friends are trying to free me, I look up at them and yell, "Go on without me. I'll be alright. I'll hold him off while you escape!" And my friends, because they know my sacrifice won't be in vain, make their getaway and when the monster breaks through just as the explosives go off, I know I died saving the lives of my dearest friends."

That pretty much sums up my experience reading Aaron Rayburn's novel, THE SHADOW GOD. I took one for the team, so the rest of you would NEVER have to be subjected to this beast. I beg you, don't let my selflessness be for nothing. Heed my warning. This is the worst book ever written.

The back cover copy reads "Craig Johnson had two best friends, two caring parents, a hot girlfriend, and a nice truck--not bad for a twenty-year-old." Already we're in trouble. The author photo shows Rayburn in all his mid-20s virginal glory. Manson contacts, a black cap turned backwards with a red 666 monogrammed on it, he's posing next to what looks like a rubber demon. His bio includes the line "He also says that he owes a great deal of gratitude to the Devil . . . for filling his mind with such horrific images."

If this book is the most horrific thing the devil can come up, I think humanity is safe from the threat of hell.

There are so many things wrong with this book, I decided to keep notes so I could present them in an orderly fashion, with quotes to back me up. I don't want you to take my word for this novel's horridness, I'm going to let Rayburn speak for himself. We'll start with the plot.

Craig Johnson was cursed at birth when his parents left the town church led by the possibly-evil Father Spiers. Spiers then tricked Craig's father Matt into strangling him, only in the end, Matt had killed, not Father Spiers, but one of the doctors. So Matt's been in jail Craig's entire life. Shortly after Craig's 20th birthday he begins to notice a blue light emanating from his bedroom closet. He calls for his mommy (I'm not making that up, it's on page 14), but she doesn't see any light, so he plays it off like he'd seen a rat, and asks her to check in his closet. After she leaves, Craig is compelled to enter the light, which takes him to the Dark World, which is sometimes like a vast black void, paved of course cuz you have to have something to walk on in a void, and sometimes is like Craig's own neighborhood, complete with the houses of his friends. Those friends, Todd and Mark, are also pulled into the Dark World, but they make their escape and then begins the action as the three try to solve the mystery of the blue light and the dark world. To sum up--this book is 454 pages, okay?--Craig is the reincarnation of Abel, the Shadow God is Cain, and Father Spiers is Cain's acolyte, sent to prepare for his return to the real world. In the midst of all this Mark is killed and resurrected by Ridley, a club owner/satanist (he runs The Satanist Group Association. Again, I wish I was making this up!) and servant to Spiers and the Shadow God.

Craig's girlfriend, his mother, his father, as well as Mark's sister Margie and Todd's parents, are all killed and the cops think Craig did it. One cop does, anyway, Detective Jim Underwood, son of the doctor Craig's father Matt strangled to death 20 years earlier. DUN-DUN-DUN!!! There's a showdown where Craig is sucked into another portal to face Cain, who then becomes a dragon, and Todd jumps in to help his friend, they all die--except Craig--and we live happily ever after.

Okay, I know it doesn't seem THAT bad from the plot. But I haven't begun quoting yet. Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."

Rayburn wasn't even close.

"Spiers's eyes popped extraneously from their sockets, as his face turned from a deep red to a sickly purple."

"Extraneous" means "irrelevant." I don't think that's what he meant. At least, I hope not.

Here's my favorite:

"The lamp's glow was very weak compared to the blue glow emancipating from the basement."

Emanating, Rayburn, EMANATING. When will people learn never to trust their SpellCheck without verifying it's the word they meant??? There are, in total, 11 instances of Rayburn using the wrong word, and believe me, each one is funnier than the last.

Okay, one more.

"It infiltrated his lungs, filling them with a kind of innovativeness he had never felt before."

To be honest, I don't know what word he meant, but I keep seeing Craig's lung filing patents for a dozen new inventions, getting promotions for discovering an even newer formula for Tide laundry detergent, or finding the cure for cancer.

Then there are the characters. Craig and his buddies are all 20, they're in college, and they have cars and money. Craig bribes the guard with hundred dollar bills when he's trying to get in to see his father in
prison. Yet never in the entire book do these men go to class, nor to a job. Where did Craig get his "nice truck"? His mother works "odd jobs", so I doubt she co-signed the loan.

And the dialogue. Oh dear, the dialogue.

"That's probably the fiercest dragon known to man," Craig tells Todd toward the end. Because, you know, we have so many different kinds of dragons in the world with which to compare.

Okay, so he uses the wrong word and his characters are morons. You can overlook a misused word here and LOTS of writers are horrible with characters. Hell, I'm guilty of this myself. But sometimes he just
plain gets his facts WRONG:

"The stranger was beastly in size with thick, bushy eyebrows, a prominent protruding forehead, and a thick, black coarse beard. His gait was that of a mammal--a Neanderthal."

I know I never went to college, but um . . . do you think Rayburn knows HUMAN BEINGS are mammals as well?

And later we learn that Cain and Abel were Neanderthals who lived in the stone age, feared dinosaurs, and that Cain was kicked out of the Garden of Eden for slaying his brother. Dude, Cain and Abel weren't born until a LONG time after Adam and Eve--the only two people who ever lived in the Garden of Eden--were kicked out.

And not only is this the worst book ever written, it's also the worst-written book ever.

Behold:

"Of all the things to think, he never thought he'd think that."

And:

"Already, he knew he wouldn't be able to do it. In fact, he KNEW he wouldn't."

???

Wasn't that already established in the previous sentence?

"Eubanks looked annoyed. He exhaled annoyingly and said..."

You know what? I could do this all night.

THE SHADOW GOD is the perfect example of everything that's wrong with publishing in today's world. Anyone with the notion--talent or not--can write a "book", then contact a place like AuthorHouse ("publisher" of this fine volume and, I'm sure, Rayburn's second novel which I don't care enough to look up the title to), and unleash this mess on an unsuspecting world. And then we wonder why no one reads anymore. Why should they? If this is the kind of stuff they're being subjected to.

Used to be a writer had to learn to WRITE before they could get published. Now, all you need is a couple thousand dollars and you got yourself a book. Talent? Who needs it? Skill? What for? Learning to write? Are you kidding me? Forget about it, I've got this here manyooscript and an address I can get it printed, I'mma be one of dem novelists. Riches, here I comes!!!

It's enough to make aspiring writers want to give up seeking legitimate publishing venues. Please don't. Just be sure to write better than this guy. God knows it won't be difficult. Or should I say, God knows it won't be deficit.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:21 pm
@Sglass,
Actually, i believe the proper term is libel.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:24 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

You write like im. Twisted Evil


DELIBERATELY YOU FOSSIL!!!
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 09:30 pm
@Sglass,
Actually I never read the book, but I did see the movie.

Can you imagine this scenario: Gentleman picks up lady in cocktail lounge , gets drunk with her, she takes him home with with her, and then they did you know what and then pass out. He awakes her the next morning and say "You are beautiful, what is your name?" and she gives him a sweet smile and said "I am Tiffany and I am a direct descendent of the Virgin Mary."

The man turned very pale, dressed and left. He went to the Brooklyn Bridge, jumped off and died

Poor man was a Catholic.

(I'm sorry Robert)
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