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Because if he doesn’t, he gets no better than this.

I just dug out of my files a few pages of a novel I attempted to write when I was 18 years old (I’m 39 now). Titled Among the Meek, it’s horrible, putrid stuff, and I can’t take my eyes off it.

To give you a bit of the flavor, I’ll share the first paragraph:

The day hung heavy and grey. There was no visible sun to indicate the hour. The hills in the distance dotted the skyline. The green of the trees in the valley were blotted by the grey. It was the sort of day that emitted a foreboding of mediocrity. All that could be seen in the sky was grey.

So what I was attempting to say, if I’m reading this correctly in the hindsight of 21 years, is that it was gray. Excuse me, “grey.” (Apparently, I lapsed into an English lad in my late teens.)

Also, “foreboding of mediocrity” might be the most unintentionally hilarious line I’ll ever write.

The pages — there are nine of them, which is apparently as far as I could go — are heavily marked with notations in my handwriting, so I do take some retroactive heart that I knew this wasn’t very good. That’s a start, right?

To commemorate the appearance of The Lost Symbol, the Telegraph has attempted to identify the 20 worst sentences from Dan Brown’s oeuvre. As my friend John McIntyre says, it couldn’t have been easy.

I won’t wreck the fun of reading all the snark, but here were a couple of my favorites:

18. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: He could taste the familiar tang of museum air – an arid, deionized essence that carried a faint hint of carbon – the product of industrial, coal-filter dehumidifiers that ran around the clock to counteract the corrosive carbon dioxide exhaled by visitors.

Ah, that familiar tang of deionised essence.

And …

9. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 32: The vehicle was easily the smallest car Langdon had ever seen. “SmartCar,” she said. “A hundred kilometers to the liter.”

Pro tip: when fleeing from the police, take a moment to boast about your getaway vehicle’s fuel efficiency. And get it wrong by a factor of five. SmartCars do about 20km (12 miles) to the litre.

None of this mitigates the fact that Brown will sell approximately 400 million kajillion copies of his new book.

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