Lessons on Style
I’m probably one of the remaining three people in this hemisphere who hasn’t yet read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, but the more I hear the more I congratulate myself on my restraint. Geoff Pullum critiques the novel’s style, for example, beginning with its opening paragraph:
I think what enabled the first word to tip me off that I was about to spend a number of hours in the company of one of the worst prose stylists in the history of literature was this. Putting details of someone’s curriculum vitae into a complex modifiers on proper names and definite descriptions is what you do in a journalistic story about a death; you just don’t do it in describing an event in a narrative.