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Mid-Week Prompt: A Novel Speech, Derailed (plus Dan Brown)

You’re supposed to be giving a speech, but your mind seizes. You look up at the massive crowd, frantic, and start reciting the contents of an alarming letter you received last week, instead.

(In 500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring, feel free to post your stories in the Comments section of the blog.)

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Hey writers,

Imagine: “Symbols from the book's cover were projected high on the walls. Catering staff wore bright white George Washington-style wigs. Lost Symbol cocktails were offered in oversized martini glasses, followed by champagne for toasting. Delicious finger snacks came by. A White House cake was on display, then sliced up for dessert.”

Oddly, this wasn’t a Gatsby party, but rather Dan Brown’s book release soiree for The Lost Symbol, as documented by Los Angeles Times writer Carolyn Kellogg. (And for the record, Kellogg also said Brown was pretty great behind the mic, contrasting the fictive non-Brown based prompt above, which would be more likely to happen if it were, say, me up there.)

For many in the publishing industry, there’s a lot banking on Brown’s new book, which was released this week. Some see it as the book world’s potential savior, and its colossal output is undeniable—according to Bloomberg, it broke the preorder and Day 1 sales records for adult fiction, and the first U.S. print run was a hulking 5 million copies.

Reviews are in the positive–mixed range, with some citing Brown’s ability to weave a killer plot, and others bashing a lack of style. What do you think: What's the secret to his success? Will it be what’s needed to pull the book biz out of a slump?

No matter what happens, I'm pumped to see the mainstream book world partying again, or at the very least, smiling, finger snacks in hand.

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