Dan Brown

Writing 101: Are You A Thief?

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This is a new occasional column about the nuts and bolts of writing. Today we look at copying your work from others, or merely being influenced by them. First, listen to this. It’s Hans Zimmer’s music for the title sequence of the TV series ‘The Crown’, and if you think it sounds familiar, that’s because […]

Minding Our Language

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Me, I’m the master of the split infinitive, can’t spell ‘receive’ and still sometimes get confused about when to put full stops inside brackets, but other than that, my editor doesn’t have to waste much biro ink on me. Or should that be Biro ink? However, while I’m as exercised as anyone by signs like […]

Make Money As An Author: Die Young

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Seriously, they’ll be able to republish your first novel while people are feeling sorry for you. It’ll be a good career move. It’s a long-standing maxim that while ‘no man except a blockhead ever wrote except for money’ (cf. Samuel Johnson), no-one can really make a living doing it. The traditional answer to that statement […]

Does The Internet Shorten Attention Spans?

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Sorry, what was the question again? Oh, the internet. Hang on, let me Google it. Last week there were several hand-wringing articles by Will Self and others about the digital age creating shorter attention spends that are damaging our ability to concentrate. The authors worried that immense literary novels – and there are such things, […]

When Writing Goes Wrong

When I first started writing, a cruel fan immediately initiated something called ‘Fowler’s Howlers’, which listed the prose mistakes I’d made, usually very nitpicky ones, the kind dug out by someone with limited imagination. (Never work with the public if you’re sensitive; you’d kill yourself within days). I rarely make grammatical errors, but I believe […]

Story Tricks: No. 1 – Planting Plums

This is a new occasional series for both readers and budding writers, about some of the tricks that can be used to improve stories. This one’s a classic. Oddly enough, it’s use has been made much easier since the advent of computers, because you can go back and revise manuscripts accordingly. It involves the planting […]

A Hook For A Book

My publisher wants me to write ‘something big’, so I’m sitting here staring at the screen with my four thousandth cup of tea today, wondering where the flying flip I am going to find a killer hook, and I realise that the books I’ve written which have spiked sales all have aspirational and slightly sexy […]

‘I Have To Get To A Library – Fast!’

Bookshop shelves are currently stuffed with Mr Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ and the hunt is on for the silliest dialogue line – something that will top the one above from The Da Vinci Code. It’s second only to ‘That man there! He’s got the map to the Holy Grail!’ (shouted by Sir Ian as he’s […]