having now read all four books written by “#1 new york times bestselling author of the da vinci code” dan brown, i feel a certain blast of emotions flowing through my system. the primary emotion that makes up this compendium is one of utter self-loathing: i can’t believe i’ve wasted so many hours of my life reading this senseless fantasy crap. i don’t care who or what the holy grail was particularly, and from what i’ve seen so far, all that shit was dan brown’s own imagination working on overdrive. so now i’m convinced that i’m qualified to draw up the following list:
how to write a dan brown bestselling novel in ten easy steps:
1. first, write a gripping and suspenseful prologue or first chapter where the primary instigator of the entire book dies, usually yelling “nooooooooooooooooooo” or “helpppppppppppppppppp” as his dying words. better yet, make sure that, before he dies, your primary instigator sends out a message to someone in some way or the other (self-mutilation is not taboo, in this case). but don’t worry. someone will find the body, along with the message, but will be too much of a dumbass to put two and two together to come up with the solution right off the bat, sparing you the need to write another 100-odd chapters worth of tripe.
2. in the second chapter, introduce your primary good guy as doing some mundane tasks (eating, drinking, having sex, taking a dump, whichever strikes your fancy). in the middle of this mundane activity, your primary good guy will get an urgent message from someone asking him or her for help. make sure that your primary good guy interrupts whatever activity he or she is involved in to run off and reply to the message (if he/she was taking a dump, i hope you stop long enough for them to wipe. otherwise it’s just wrong).
3. take your primary good guy to some top secret lab or organization somewhere in the world to answer the message. once he or she arrives, they will meet with the primary storyteller, who will fill at least three chapters with a lot of backstory that explain why the primary good guy is there in the first place. after said backstory is completed, the primary storyteller will give the primary good guy a long and pointless briefing (ideally lasting another three chapters) on what they need to do from here on out.
4. along the way, make sure your primary good guy runs into trouble with basic and simple problems that even a three year old baby on crack could solve. these problems provide you with an opportunity to drop into your narrative completely random and useless tidbits, like “why is a toilet called a toilet?” or “why did the chicken cross the road?” before the primary good guy actually does solve the problem.
5. also, introduce your secondary good guy somewhere along the way as well, just for fun. this person should ideally be of the opposite sex to the primary good guy, and should also be extremely hot and doable. never mind the fact that many people will wonder how a nerd like your primary good guy could ever stand a chance with a hottie like your secondary good guy. your secondary good guy can also be used to drop small hints along the way, as well as to present more useless facts, like “what is the etymology of the english word ‘goat’?” and “did shakespeare masturbate once or twice a day?”.
6. throughout the book, make sure you drop hints about the presence of the primary bad guy, while never actually identifying who it is. instead, have a multitude of secondary bad guys do the dirty work, which usually involves trying to kill the primary and secondary good guys. for added effect, make it seem like the primary bad guy could be absolutely anyone, from the president of the united states, to the secretary-general of the united nations, to the guy who picks up your trash every week. establish a motive for each of these guys, especially the trash guy.
7. wherever you can, throw in a phrase in latin or ancient greek that signifies something. it doesn’t matter what it signifies, really, as long as it’s in either of those languages. for added spice, try and link it to the plot somehow, like so: “primary good guy was sitting on the toilet, taking a massive crap after eating that large bowl on nachos, when he realized that the motto of the [insert random top-secret government agency here] was ‘il nacho tu facho’, which translated into, ‘if you eat bad nachos, you’re fucked’. could this be the reason that he was being hunted down by a team of savage lapd canine units? could the agency be involved in a conspiracy to destroy the gastrointestinal linings of all citizens through bad nachos?” etc. etc.
8. make sure you end every chapter with a cliffhanger, although what really happened probably isn’t that important or interesting anyway. for instance, if you were using the story line in point 7, the end of the chapter would be something like this: “primary good guy stood up to flush the toilet after wiping himself carefully. he looked down at the turds floating in the toilet and was shocked to see what was floating in there along with the turds. ‘could it really be?’ he wondered, bending down to take a closer look, when something large fell on his head and knocked him out cold.” make sure you begin the next chapter with, “primary good guy got up off the bathroom floor, feeling the massive bump on the back of his head. he looked over at the comode, and saw to his extreme surprise that the lid had fallen down on him while he was peering into the bowl at the large silver dollar coin he had swallowed three weeks ago that was floating alongside his turds” etc. etc.
9. about two chapters before the end, finally unmask the primary bad guy who, up to this point, you’ve been using a randomly sinister term to refer to (e.g. mastermind or puppetmaster or motherfucker or whatever). for added value, make it so that the primary bad guy is the primary storyteller, and that the primary good guy never suspected him for a moment because of their long and close working relationship/romantic involvement/kinky sex history. make the primary bad guy pull a hardy boys-type stunt, where, instead of simply killing the primary and secondary good guys, he gives them a long and painful story of why he did what he did. obviously this is done so that the reader sympathizes with the circumstances surrounding the primary bad guy, even though the reader will probably realize that the trash guy had much more motive than the primary bad guy.
10. leave a couple of chapters at the end of the book for a gratuitous and embarassing sex scene between the nerdy primary good guy and the sexy secondary good guy, where the primary good guy does his best to be romantic, but, being a nerd, fails completely. however, the secondary good guy will still laugh it away, and give him hot passionate sex. this is so that many many nerds around the world can get the wrong impression that being a nerd leads to hot sex with beautiful women, something that i can personally testify never happens in real life.