When I was reading The Da Vinci Code on the plane a week or two ago, a young woman next to me said, "Oh! Is that the first time you've read that?" And I thought, people read this more than once?
But I was nice to her. You see, I cannot be honest about what I think about the book without insulting those that like it. I apologize in advance to the readers who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code - it does have some merit. What I'm attacking in this blog is the writing style of typical bestsellers, not the book on the whole.
I'm going to re-print one paragraph of The Da Vinci Code as the author, Dan Brown, wrote it. Then I will give you MY version of how I would write the same paragraph.
Mr. Dan Brown's version:
Langdon was braced for the words, and yet they still sounded utterly ridiculous. According to Sophie, Langdon had been called to the Louvre tonight not as a symbologist but rather as a suspect and was currently the unwitting target of one of DCPJ's favorite interrogation methods - surveillance cachée - a deft deception in which the police calmly invited a suspect to a crime scene and interviewed him in hopes he would get nervous and mistakenly incriminate himself.
Now, here is what I would write, if I were the author of this story:
That's right. I would not even use that paragraph. Why? Because Sophie already explains this in dialogue preceding it. It really doesn't contribute to the story by having it repeated. It is also unnecessary to know that Langdon "was braced for the words" and that he was still in a state of disbelief. I get that. I would trust my reader to get that.
It is this kind of nonsense that takes a nice novella highlighting the primary points of an old religion that honors the sacred feminine and turns it into an insulting, 400-some page bestseller.