Wednesday, June 01, 2016

“In Defense of Dan Brown and Bad Sentences” (by Michael Noll)

“In Defense of Dan Brown and Bad Sentences” (by Michael Noll) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Michael Noll debuted in EQMM in the July 2015 issue with “The Tank Yard,” a story that was subsequently selected for the 2016 volume of Best American Mystery Stories. He is the program director at the Writers’ League of Texas and the editor of the craft-of-writing blog Read to Write Stories. His short fiction has also appeared or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, Chattahoochee Review, Indiana Review, and The New Territory. His book In the Beginning, Middle, and End: A Field Guide for Writing Fiction is due out next year. In this post he takes a critical look at the work of one of the most popular thriller writers of our time and shares some of the advice he gives his writing students.—Janet Hutchings


Mike Stamm said...

This addresses something I've been thinking about for decades: such "bad" writers are still obviously doing *something* right, because they sell like crazy. The initial objects of my disdain were Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann (who?), followed later by Erich Segal and, yes, Dan Brown, among many others. And *story* is the answer--they had a real story to tell, and their readers didn't give a damn about style or perfect coherence or logic or anything BUT story. The good news is that as long as story is paramount, it is not necessary to write badly in order to succeed, sometimes beyond anyone's dreams.

Don Coffin said...

What Mike said...If the story is strong enough, it might be able to overcome bad writing. But why should we have to choose? Why not a strong story that is well-written?