Friday, September 18, 2009

Dumpty-Dumpty-Dump: Dan Brown's Writing Flow

Here is another comment on Dan Brown's writing that I found in one of my very favorite mailing lists, Daily Writing Tips.

Two things contribute to the flow of sentences within a paragraph:
1. sentence length
2. logical progression of thought

In browsing my shelves for examples, I realized that some very popular writers don’t seem to share David’s concern regarding “jumpy” narration.

Here’s a typical paragraph from Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code:

Langdon and Sophie stepped into another world. The small room before them looked like a lavish sitting room at a fine hotel. Gone were the metal and rivets, replaced with oriental carpets, dark oak furniture, and cushioned chairs. On the broad desk in the middle of the room, two crystal glasses sat beside an opened bottle of Perrier, its bubbles still fizzing. A pewter pot of coffee steamed beside it.

Not a complex sentence in sight. It doesn’t seem to matter if Brown is being reflective or describing action. Most of his sentences are simple or compound. Here and there the reader comes across a noun clause introduced by that, or a an adverb clause introduced by as or as if. Mostly it’s dumpty-dumpty-dump.

Yes, Dan Brown is a wildly successful writer and I’m happy for him. His gift, however, is story-telling, not writing style.

Just to share for a bit. A good insight. A great mailing list, too!
By the way: will I read the new book?
For sure, dude! And I'll enjoy it--the story as well as the bluepencil stuff.

A Deeper Shade of Brown?

Books of The Times - ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown - Baddies and Brainiacs and the Secrets of Freemasonry - Review - NYTimes.com:

"Also, the author uses so many italics that even brilliant experts wind up sounding like teenage girls. And Mr. Brown would face an interesting creative challenge if the phrases “What the hell...?,” “Who the hell ... ?” and “Why the hell ... ?” were made unavailable to him. The surprises here are so fast and furious that those phrases get quite the workout.

Then again, Mr. Brown’s excitable, hyperbolic tone is one the guilty pleasures of his books. (“ ‘Actually, Katherine, it’s not gibberish.’ His eyes brightened again with the thrill of discovery. ‘It’s ... Latin.’ ”)"
This cracked me up--particularly the second paragraph quoted above. Brown's condescension knows the same bounds as Kanye West's or Mr. Wilson's propriety [assuming that "Katherine" is unable to recognize the language that gave us all these lovely root words, but the intellectualissimo Langdon does--and the narrator is trying to wow us with his acuity on a point that the reader is not assumed to have recognized unaided].
This sounds exactly like something I already made up in my post on Brown's Angels & Demons--as a parody. Am I just getting old, assuming that anyone with any amount of high school education (required by law in the US in most cases, as far as I know now) would recognized Latin? Of course, I have not read the book or the whole passage that the Times quotes; it may be Latin in code or in disguise or something. . .but the decontextualized quote is just delicious. Thanks, Janet Maslin!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New family pictures--Jonnie, Chris, and Coral

While babysitting, I took some photos to entertain Jonnie, and also a brief video:
Wanted to share with you, so here they are in Posterous. Also, here's a brief home vid from my MacBook (forgive the jerkiness--hard to film while moving).

Enjoy, friends and family members!
Chris

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Coral's photo shoot; Chris's TV appearance

Wow, family fame based videos for you!
Two of Coral at her lovely catalog photo shoot last month, and one of my appearance on Taiwanese TV. Both groups of videos come from Tutze, "Rabbit", our friend, as they happened. I'm posting two of these here, but there's one more of Coral too. Visit one of these videos at YouTube (channel name is oshuhua) you can watch any of our videos there, including future ones.

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Coral's Superb Catalog Photo Shoot Aug 2009

Coral had a great photo shoot two Saturdays ago for a Fido Dido catalog. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes photos by our agent's assistant, "Rabbit." Doesn't Coral look fabulous?? We feel she appears very mature for her age (9 years old).
You can see these as a photo gallery at my new Posterous blog!
Chris

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Philosorapture!

Hilarious "Literal Video" --- what a super concept!!

I hope you will all enjoy this. It was suggested by my high school friend, Leo Memolo. Instead of the original lyrics of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (was that by Jim Steinman? Sounds like!), what we hear (and it has subtitles!) is a literal description of what happens in the video--sung to the original music. Brilliant.
Prego!

UPDATED:
Yes, it is by Jim Steinman. Thanks again for the video and the information, Leo.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chris on TV--

Now I'll attempt to add more photos from the same day in January of 2006.
With us in Washington, D. C. and Sterling, VA are some of my favorite people in the world: Alex and Lynne Franke and their darlings, and Allan and Elycia Lindsey and their delights. We had a magical day. . .one of the most recent ones that our own family has spent together in the USA.
Visit my new and elegantissimo Posterous blog to see the earlier ones before they routed through to Facebook and Twitter. I want to see if these will also be saved at Picasaweb. . .
Posterous, you are so swave and debonair.
Yahucka yahucka plah.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Chris's posterous

Chris on TV--

Hi, I'm making the attempt. . .here's the flv file of the TV show I did in Taiwan on being a foreign husband of a Taiwanese wife and living here.
http://www.mediafire.com/?ljzd0k3jinm
I am not at all sure this will work. . .but here goes!

Posted via email from Chris's posterous