Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How to "Fix" a Bestseller

by Robin Spano

Question of the Week: Sometimes great ideas go horribly wrong. Is there a book with a genius premise that you'd like to rewrite?

If I could take The Da Vinci Code and play with it, I would love to run with all of Dan Brown's stellar plotting, keep his page-turning pace, but tweak the writing to bring the characters more fully off the page.

There are so many elements that make a great novel, and I'm struggling to think of one author who nails it on each and every level. Gone Girl came pretty damn close. (Great writing, characters, plotting, pacing, and more.)

Dan Brown gets so many key ingredients right. I seriously admire his twists and turns and plot devices, including the ending's powerful punch. But more flesh on his characters and a couple more rounds of copy editing to strengthen his verbs and nouns? His stories could be genius.

Same for several action writers. If the deal with Dan Brown worked out, I'd love to take on some titles by Tom Clancy and John Grisham next.

The catch? These books are bestsellers as they are. So maybe they don't need my edit notes, really, at all.


Meredith Cole said...

You're so right that THE DA VINCI CODE does some things so right--and misses the mark on others. Perhaps that's the difference between a bestseller and a classic...?

Robin Spano said...

Hey that's a great point, Meredith. The classics are those books that nail all the points...and keep new readers turning pages for years to come.

Susan C Shea said...

Good case in point, Robin.

Paul D. Marks said...

Uh oh! From the Great Minds Think Alike Department, I also think the Da Vinci Code is *the* book to rewrite and visit that topic in my draft for Friday. It ain't easy coming on Fridays. ;)

Robin Spano said...

I'm looking forward to reading your Friday post even more now, Paul!