Saturday, September 19, 2009

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Does

ohnotheydidnt: Dan Brown's 20 Worst Sentences:
17. Deception Point, chapter 8: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.

It’s not clear what Brown thinks ‘precarious’ means here.

16. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: A voice spoke, chillingly close. "Do not move." On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils.

A silhouette with white hair and pink irises stood chillingly close but 15 feet away. What’s wrong with this picture?

15. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: As a boy, Langdon had fallen down an abandoned well shaft and almost died treading water in the narrow space for hours before being rescued. Since then, he'd suffered a haunting phobia of enclosed spaces - elevators, subways, squash courts.

Other enclosed spaces include toilet cubicles, phone boxes and dog kennels.

14. Angels and Demons, chapter 100: Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers glorified the four major rivers of the Old World - The Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio Plata.

The Rio de la Plata. Between Argentina and Uruguay. One of the major rivers of the Old World. Apparently.

I don't have anything against Mr. Brown. I read The Da Vinci Code and didn't think it was the worst pop novel I've read, or the worst written. FCOL, remember The Historian? Anyways, I feel a little mean and would hope that if I ever lived the dream and published well-loved novels that I wouldn't have my every sentence diagrammed and critiqued. Check the history of my posting here for a lesson on How to Mangle Syntax -- I'm clearly in no position to judge. I do think it's worth pointing out that you can be a hugely successful author with, one supposes, handsomely compensated editors reviewing your work and still produce your fair share of laughable clunkers.
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