Thursday, July 27, 2006

Purple Prose

A term of literary criticism, purple prose is used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself.

My weakness in writing is lack of description. I freely admit that. It's something I work on with every piece.
But I would rather description be a bit sparse than to choke my story with flowery words and overflowing pages that describe every inch of every scene in the book.
I can't read books like this. And I refuse to write one.

But the balance? Yes. I can try that.
Description comes easily to some. Just the perfect color. Or the perfect accessories. Any number of extras that convey more information.
And I get flashes of this. Isn't that odd?
I remember working on Fire Goddess when the scene first flowed...description and all.
My hero and heroine are at her farm in Oklahoma, drawn to each other. And I wrote a scene that gave me goosebumps.
That is what I strive toward.

So first edit? Bare bones. Basic dialogue. Getting the story out. And when I get REAL lucky, pieces of descriptions that I don't have to work quite so hard for.
This is what I'm up against right now with my Time Travel Romance. How much description to feed in?
So I believe I'll make notes. Jot down some important stuff. And probably begin tomorrow.

Couldn't sleep last night for thinking about 2007 and what I could take for promo materials.
*grins* I love my job.


Tori Lennox said...

Description, or the lack thereof, is the bane of my writing existence. And it's even worse when I'm working on the 1920s murder mystery. How to have a balance between setting the scene/period and lecturing on history.

Rene said...

Not everyone's style is full of description. I try to strike a balance. Too often writers will write description with no purpose. Is there a reason the couch needs to be described? Do we really care what the kitchen looks like? If you look at your scene and decide what you need to move your story forward, you focus on the objects in that scene which will make a difference. Anyway, that's my guide.

Nancy J. Bond said...

When it comes to description, I think it's best to leave *something* to the reader's imagination. I've read perfectly fine books that gave enough information initally to let me form a sense of setting -- you know how you create those pictures in your head. Then a few chapters later, the author added more and more specific detail which shattered *my* perception of what the locale was like. I find it very difficult to then get back into the story.

Description is important, but I think it's better to hint at some things and leave the nitty-gritty details to the reader. As always, say the most you can with the fewest words. Just my 2 cents' worth. :)