purple prose

Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea

So, as we discussed in a previous post, we don’t want to try too hard with our prose. If we get too carried away we’re in danger of going into the purple zone.

Purple prose is writing that is overly embellished. For me, the first thing that tips me off to purple prose are sentences that distract me from the story.

It’s a tricky balancing act to write descriptively without overdoing it. Some writers write more simply and let the story make the impact. Others have longer, slower plots that would put me to sleep if it wasn’t for their beautiful language.

I love language and the long, complex sentences that were common in fiction a few hundreds years ago. But modern readers are not so keen on a sentence that involves ten types of punctuation and occupies half a page. I’ve had to tone it down a notch.

So where is this elusive spot between purple prose and plain, boring writing? We swim in a language sea. How do we distill our ideas into the right words?

By writing a lot and reading even more.

Sometimes I don’t realize what I’m doing to my reader until it’s done to me. This can be a rude awakening, but it brings priceless self-awareness to your writing voice.

What are your thoughts?

Happy Writing,