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.

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