Friday, January 11, 2019

Analysis and Insights: Interview with Dan Brown


Over the years, Dan Brown has engaged in many interesting interviews. In his last one with THE GUARDIAN, he provided insights into how to write a bestseller. What can fellow writers learn from Brown?

First, he assured writers that they don’t have to be brilliantly original. (As the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us, there is nothing new under the sun.)

According to Brown, the key elements that a thriller must have are:  a hero, a goal, obstacles that seem to make it impossible and a moment when the hero conquers the villain. Don’t get overcomplicated, Brown urges. Keep it simple.

Next is the idea of the ticking clock. This keeps the action interesting and exciting. He also talks about the crucible—constraining the main characters and forcing them to act.

Brown observes that these elements are needed in all forms of fiction not just thrillers. He also comments that we should write what we want to know not just what we actually know. I interpret that to mean that researching a topic of interest is significant. Having read his novels, I know he does love to do research—although at times, he info dumps, which is something I think writers need to be wary about doing.

Analyzing Dan Brown’s writing style and techniques can prove helpful to those of us writing today. In my last novel, DEATH PROMISE, I combined elements of both mystery and thriller. I would add that pacing is important in any novel. For instance, the writing should not sag in the middle.


Your thoughts and opinions valued here!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019: Starting the New Year Right!

January marks a new beginning and a fresh start for us. I am planning what I intend to do during the new year. However, my resolutions have only slightly changed for 2019.

First come family needs and concerns. This very much includes seeing to health matters.

After that I resolve to continue my writing. This I do faithfully beginning early each morning. I am at this time hard at work on a new novel. It’s the fifth one in the Kim Reynolds mystery series and I believe the best one yet. Kim has evolved as a very real individual not a cardboard character.

I will also continue to send my work out to various publishers and publications regardless of acceptances. Most writers meet with a lot more rejection than acceptance. In that respect, I am typical. But if writing is something you feel compelled to do—like me—than you work at it regardless.

One of my continuing resolutions is striving to improve the quality of my work. With that in mind, I pay attention to editorial and reader comments. The year 2018 brought publication of my novels, DEATH PROMISE, for adult readers and WITCH WISH for teens. There were also short stories published in a variety of genres.

I intend to continue reading diverse books and writing reviews of those I truly enjoy.

I resolve to do more landscape painting. I’ve let that go of late.

I confess housework comes last—but it does and will get done, as does shopping and cooking. All of life’s necessities.


What are some of your plans or resolutions for the year ahead? Are they the same as last year or have they changed?