In the 10 Questions section of this week’s Time Magazine, the focus of the interview is on author, Dan Brown. One of the questions that gets interesting is the way Brown launches a book when he’s finished writing it.
There are three angular boxes that I bought when I was in Costa Rica, made out of rosewood. As you remember, rose and rosewood played a role in The Da Vinci Code. One of these three boxes is held by myself, one by my editor and one by my agent. On the night before the book is released, the three boxes come together and form a giant blade and chalice, and we just thank each other for all the hard work and cross our fingers that the world likes what’s about to be born.
Authors all have their little quirks, including me. I have this deal about always beginning a new novel on a Friday. I actually plan for this ahead of time. And even if I’m ready to begin on a Thursday, I’ll delay beginning the book until Friday. Don’t ask. I can’t explain this. It makes me feel good.
You can read more about Dan Brown at Time.com.
Dan Brown Parody and Mean Criticism
Although I hate to post things like this, I’m doing it for all authors who have suffered bad reviews and have had critics parody them. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to people I know. Here’s one article that talks about the reviews for Brown’s latest book, and a parody about his writing. As a side note, I’ve never actually read a Dan Brown book, so I don’t know anything about his writing.
The American author’s latest book came out May 14 to rather dismal reviews, with some saying the fourth book in his Robert Langdon series is the worst one yet. The three previous books in the series include Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, and were generally regarded as harmless fun despite Brown’s occasionally awkward prose.
And here is another where the critic actually parodies Brown’s writing in one of the most vicious ways I’ve seen since Romfail. For those who don’t know what Romfail is, check out that Romfail link. It was an interesting time, and several authors I know were changed forever by this one act of meanness. The reason this parody of Brown reminded me of Romfail is because someone actually set up a twitter account to parody Brown, in detail, just like Romfail.
Renowned author Dan Brown got out of his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house and paced the bedroom, using the feet located at the ends of his two legs to propel him forwards. He knew he shouldn’t care what a few jealous critics thought. His new book Inferno was coming out on Tuesday, and the 480-page hardback published by Doubleday with a recommended US retail price of $29.95 was sure to be a hit. Wasn’t it?
However, in the same article above, 10 Questions, Brown handles the next to the last question like we all should whenever we’re dealing with criticism.
A parody of your writing style went viral recently. Do you find that kind of thing insulting?
On some level you have to take it as a compliment. Of course you hope and you wish everybody loved what you do. In the creative arts, that’s just not how it works.
That fact is that you can parody anything you want to parody. You can take excerpts from a romance novel, from a mystery, and even from the bible and parody them. I wrote a whole post about this once, where a snarky blogger went after the erotic romance genre. My post showed how I could write the same snark about non-erotic romance. Though I mentioned no names in my post, the actual excerpts I used came from a best-selling sexless romance novel that certain critics LOVED and promoted until we were sick to death of it. My goal was simple: to show that anyone can parody anything, and anybody can be mean.
Brown’s reaction above really is the absolute truth. Whether it is a huge author like Dan Brown, or a small group of helpless struggling authors who never harmed anyone but had to suffer through Romfail, you buck up and take the criticism. You don’t complain and whine either. You can keep lists and names in private. If and when these critics fall or suffer some horrible personal tragedy you can smile and take pride in their misfortunes because you know they deserve what’s coming to them (Karma). But you have to prepare yourself for the fact that not everyone is going to like what you do and you can’t take that personally…not if you’re going to survive as an author.