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Dear Dan Brown,

Numbers don't lie and 80 million copies sold of your novel The Da Vinci Code means you are doing something that connects with an audience. You've hit upon an effective formula by taking hokum usually found at the back of New Age bookstores and wedding it to a thriller plot. There's nothing wrong with discovering that everyone is susceptible, at some point in his life, to the seductive pull of a conspiracy theory. Where there's human nature, there's a buck or two to be made. There's nothing wrong with writing enjoyable potboilers and it is much more difficult than most people realize.

In defence of well-written, enjoyable potboilers though, I have to point out that your writing style is so toxically inept that Vladimir Putin could use it to poison dissidents.

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That's hardly constructive criticism, so I've also taken an editorial pass at excerpts from the first two chapters of The Da Vinci Code. I'm not attempting to turn you into Faulkner by any stretch of the imagination but there are several tips I hope you find helpful in the future. I've left it in track changes, a file format I'm guessing your editor has never shown you.

With untold copies of your new book, The Lost Symbol, ready to ship to stores and completely upending the book industry my advice comes too late. But who knows, I could be dead wrong: Maybe using the adverb "slowly" seven times in your first 10 pages is the secret to good writing.

That would make it 11,428,571 copies sold for every "slowly."

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