In my last blog, I mentioned that I always attempted in my writing to not handle character development the way Dan Brown handles character development, which is to say “not at all.”
It has been brought to my attention that speaking ill of one of the biggest selling authors of all time is probably not a good way to endear myself in the writing community as I attempt to interest an agent and publisher for future works…
So allow me to state, in all honesty, that I have read three of Dan Brown’s books and enjoyed them quite a bit. In fact, in some ways, I have tried to copy some of his techniques (if not his “character development”).
What Dan Brown does great is set up secrets and mysteries and twists, which if you have read my work or at least the reviews, I obviously love. I enjoy books and movies where the reader/viewer is not spoon-fed the plot at the start and can be just as surprised as the main character when mysteries are revealed.
One of my favorite SF series is James P. Hogan’s “Giants” series, which begins with INHERIT THE STARS. Mr. Hogan writes that hard SF that I could never do, and is also a very nice man I have had the pleasure of meeting in the past. In this series, a scientific mystery erupts (what is a 10,000 year old human skeleton in a spacesuit doing on the Moon?) and the main characters attempt to scientifically solve this mystery. At the end of the first book, you say to yourself “Ah! Glad that was solved!”
Then the sequel begins, and something new is added and suddenly the mystery is renewed and the earlier theory is abandoned. And throughout the books, I am thrilled to be confident in my understanding of the situation only to discover that what made absolute sense earlier now is meaningless.
It’s the scientific method at its finest.
In any event, I attempt to do that with the Terin Ostler books. Terin has mysteries he has to figure out, and he comes up with theories that are perfectly logical and make absolute sense — until he learns something new and his world turns upside down.
And that’s something in which Dan Brown excels.
The other thing I like about Dan Brown’s books are that they are action-filled, as if he knows they are going to be movies. Now, there is such a thing as having too much action, but it’s better to err on the side of keeping the reader anxiously continuing than to bore them with too much descriptive prose.
So, to those Dan Brown fans, forgive me. I am merely a writer hopeful, with one minor novel with a minor publisher, and I should not have maligned his work without also acknowledging his strong points.
But seriously, dude, have the characters develop, OK?