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The Dan Brown Code – Epilogue

by on Nov.30, 2005, under NaNoWriMo

On this, the last day of NaNoWriMo, I am bringing closure to The Dan Brown Code, the novel that was not meant to be, by offering DVD-like extra features and deleted scenes.

It has been said that in space, no one can hear you scream. It has also been said that the first sentence of a novel shouldn’t be written in passive voice, so let’s get back to space. This is a story that takes place in space, insofar as Earth is in space and it can be safely assumed that the action of the story takes place on said planet. Currently, there is much screaming and it’s doing an admirable job of being heard. This is okay. Our opening statement does not apply, for “space” is being used as shorthand for “the vacuum of space,” and not the concept of outer space. Of course, this also ruins the claim that the story takes place in space. It’s a shame, really. I do so love a good space novel.

This was the original (and frankly far better) beginning of the novel, before I added all of that stuff about murder and pies. This lead into what became the second chapter, where Richard was stuck in an awkward conversation with a crazy guy. Richard snapped, and started screaming. I changed this because I wanted Richard to be laid back and sort of ambivalent about the state of his life. He’s not a screamer. He really should have been.

Amongst the mementos was a beat-up old badge that PT would always claim had saved his life by deflecting a bullet. The truth was that he had dropped the badge during a routine traffic stop, where it had been accidentally pulverized by a jackhammer operating road worker. Still, it instilled in the rookies a sense of courage or something, and they proudly wore their badges confident in the knowledge that a relatively small area of their upper torso was reasonably protected from small caliber firearms. By the time they had been on the force long enough to realize that this was completely impossible, they generally had a favorable opinion of PT and politely avoided mentioning it.

This was part of the description of PT and his office, which was full of interesting bits of his history with the police. Something about this paragraph just struck me as completely right, almost as though it was taken from a real novel.

“Sounds good to me,” Richard said. “It feels like I haven’t eaten in days.” This wasn’t far from the truth, as ramen noodles and mustard sandwiches barely counted as eating. Richard would be considered a starving student, but since he didn’t attend school he was mostly just starving. He silently hoped that Holly would be picking up the tab for lunch, though he was pretty sure he could outrun her if she demanded his half of the bill.

Every now and then the characters surprised me. I didn’t know this about Richard until it was on the page. Unfortunately, it was much rarer that I would have liked.

Robert Langdon gets dragged into the mess after the police turn up some strange symbols at the scene of the murder. Holly didn’t have to read any other Dan Brown novel to know that’s how they all went. How is it that the expert symbologist from Harvard always just happens to be in the right place to help? And what the hell kind of job was symbologist? Holly was certain that wasn’t even a word.

This was my attempt to describe the plot of Dan Brown’s next book as vaguely as possible, and pretty much sums up why I can’t recommend his novels to anyone.

And that is really all of the novel that was worth salvaging. I may steal a line here or there for Megalomania!, which I can now work on with greater aplomb. For next year’s NaNoWriMo, I will be writing sci-fi, no question.


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