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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Delighting the Audience: James Patterson and Dan Brown

Quality

Everybody seems to have a different definition of quality. 

For example, if you Google around, you’ll discover that a number of reviewers believe that Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code, is a low-quality writer.

Reviewers will tell you that Brown uses words poorly, has an agenda, and is a terrible researcher. And on and on.

So why is Dan Brown so successful?

Quality is in the eye of the beholder. And that, I think, is the key to understanding Brown’s success. If you’re a writer, your Target Audience’s definition of quality is the one that matters.

I define “quality” to mean “how well do you delight your Target Audience?”

It’s a simple fact that Dan Brown has a large Target Audience and his books delight them. He punches the set of emotive hot buttons that they want punched.

That is high quality writing. Readers don’t read mainly for beautiful writing. They don’t read mainly for an authorial agenda (although if they like the agenda, then it’s actually a plus.) They don’t read mainly for great research. 

Readers read for a Powerful Emotional Experience. The more powerful it is, the higher the perceived quality of the writing.

For the record, I’m not in Dan Brown’s Target Audience. But it’s obvious that he’s making that audience happy. Dan is a high-quality writer. Ditto for James Patterson, who knows exactly what his readers want and delivers it.

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 10,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.