Dan Brown and a Writing Update

The prodigal blogger returns! I realize that I’ve been a naughty little blogger lately, this being my first post in a month, but since no one is actually reading it right now, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Should I draw an audience later on, maybe no one will notice.

To start off, I’ve seen a great deal of speculation on the internet about why Dan Brown has not been more forthcoming about the release of his next Robert Langdon novel, tentatively titled The Solomon Key. Following his unprecedented success with The Da Vinci Code, Brown has spent several years researching his follow-up work which, he says, will be set in the United States and center around conspiracies involving the Founding Fathers of our country. Many people, growing impatient for that next blockbuster, have criticized Brown for not getting on the ball and giving them the story they so desperately want, and my response to these critics is this:

Leave the man alone.

We as the reading public have become so spoiled by such prolific authors as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, and others that we expect any successful author to put out a book a year or so. Forget that Brown’s work requires extensive research that these other authors don’t need. Forget that stories of such complexity and historical reference are a bitch to write and take a great deal of time to get right. Forget all of that and be thankful that the man is working on another book at all. It would be very easy for him to take his ball (read Robert Langdon) and go home. Thanks to the success of The DaVinci Code and the residual success of his other books, Dan Brown has more money than probably all the authors at your favorite con combined. He is not obligated to write another damn word for the reading public who so ooh’d and aah’d over his other works. He could very easily take the Harper Lee or J. D. Salinger route and hole up in his New England home, bathing in cash, and laughing at all the people waiting to see what happens next to Professor Langdon. We should be thankful that he is writing and, in my opinion, whenever he decides to finish the book and get it out to us is fine with me. I want to read it just as much as the next person, but I’m willing to wait. What choice do I have, really?

There was another book that enjoyed even more success than The DaVinci Code, a little book a few people have read called The Bible. It’s been nearly 2000 years since that one came out and no one is clamoring for a sequel to it, are they?

Trust that Dan Brown knows what he is doing and leave him alone.

As for my own writing, I have been mercilessly delayed in recent weeks by various factors, including a severe case of the flu that resulted in my first missed day of work in almost 8 years. Still, I have managed a little bit, including a new short story–“The Visible Man”–that is currently on submission to Spinetingler Magazine. I have also rewritten another short story–“The Hangin’ Tree”–that was lost in the Old Computer Tragedy of last year. This new version is about 1400 words shorter and, thanks in no small part to that compaction, much better. Work on the new novel continues, slowly, but steadily. My status stands thusly:

In addition, I started another novel that I hope to work on after I finish the current project. I wanted to get a bit down just to see how it felt and if I thought it would be worth pursuing. I think it is and, based on what I’m reading on the various industry blogs I follow, there should be a market for it if I can get it done and edited in time.

Finally, submission of The Dead and Dying continues at a snail’s pace. I am planning on submitting to another agent this weekend, but I want to make sure my query letter is exactly like I want it before I shoot it to her. Hopefully, I’ll at least get a partial request, something to validate what I’m doing. Hopefully.

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