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What is purple prose?
Purple prose is a term used for flowery, overly descriptive text that may be difficult to read or understand. While not necessarily considered an error, the abuse of purple prose can make reading very difficult.
Why does purple prose exist?
The idea is that using purple prose helps to create a sense of drama in a passage or piece of writing. Usually, the writer will use this form to establish atmospheric details with less time and motivation than might otherwise be needed.
What does purple prose refer to?
Purple prose often refers to descriptive passages that include flowery, overly detailed words or phrases such as “gaunt,” “glittering,” “crisp,” and “gleaming.
Purple prose often uses more than one adjective to describe a single object or scene. It tends to be very ‘wordy’ and uses artificial language and metaphor.
Where does the term purple prose come from?
The term purple prose originates from the early 1800s and is used to refer to overly descriptive language or flowery language that sounds pretentious.
Purple prose tends to be flowery, difficult to understand and uses artificial language. It generally gets in the way of a story’s flow and is often misused. Purple prose
What’s wrong with purple prose?
The main problem with purple prose is that it is irritating to read. At its best, it can be witty or atmospheric; at its worst, it can be tedious and confusing. It often interferes with the story line because the writer spends too much time describing a character or scene rather than telling the story itself.
Is purple prose a bad thing?
Purple prose is not necessarily a bad thing. Writers use it for dramatic effect and to evoke an emotional response. The key is moderation and knowing when it is too much or effective.
Why do writers avoid purple prose?
Writers, like fashion designers, want their writing to be original and fresh; they want to stand out from the crowd. When everyone uses purple prose, it becomes trite and predictable. They also tend to be verbose: the old saying “less is more” applies here more than ever.
What does I.B.Tauris have to say about purple prose?
We are very clear about avoiding purple prose: there is no need to describe things in excessive or flowery language, we believe that works should be told through action and dialogue rather than long passages of description. Instead of being a valuable tool for creating atmosphere, constant use of purple prose can make a novel difficult for some readers to read.
Because it is so subjective, the use of purple prose has been hotly debated since literature first began. The books in the Goodreads Purple Prose group are evidence of this love/hate relationship with purple prose, as some readers feel that it is a true art form that needs to be appreciated and applauded while others think it damages how the book is received by readers.
Popular purple prose authors and books
- Wolves of Mercy Falls
- The Raven Cycle
- The Wrath and the Dawn
- Strange the Dreamer
- The Star-Touched Queen
- The Song of Achilles
More about purple prose meaning
Purple prose can be defined as an undisciplined or excessively ornate style of writing. It occurs when someone has a tendency to use too many words or too many complicated words and flowery phrases for the topic at hand.
Purple prose is not necessarily long, but is usually complicated. It seems to still be in use by some people who have a tendency to think that the longer or more complicated the word choice, the more important or elegant their writing sounds.
Purple prose is often used for poetry, but it can also be used in other forms of writing as well. This is different from another excessive style of writing called gothic prose , which tends to use very old-fashioned words and phrases and place a heavy emphasis on morbidity and horror.
Purple prose can be a problem for writers who may not have good control over their language. This can be especially problematic when it comes to writing in fiction. In other words, if you’re going to write something resembling a story for an audience, it’s expected that you’ll use some words that make sense in context of the situation at hand.
Using purple prose in an attempt to impress your audience can make the story hard to read and understand because of the lack of depth and plot development.
Purple prose is often an indication that the writer is trying to impress the reader with eloquence and vocabulary. It doesn’t usually take much effort to avoid this pitfall, but it’s something you’re bound to run into when writing.
Some authors seem to be able to use purple prose effectively, but it’s often noticed by readers who are not impressed with this approach.
Prose is any single, unbroken piece of writing written in the form of everyday speech – a novel, biography, or newspaper article.
When we talk about prose in book terms we mean the quality of the writing as a whole; for example, some writers’ prose is more difficult to read than others’ but the quality of their writing is all the same.
How do I avoid purple prose?
The best way to avoid purple prose is to write crisp, direct sentences that get right to the point. If you must use metaphors or adjectives, limit it to two and make sure they are the right ones for the job.
A good writing guide will help you avoid purple prose, as will feedback from other writers. Beta readers will tell you immediately if they feel they are reading purple prose. However, some readers will be able to tell that you are trying not to write purple prose during a book edit.
How do you know if your prose is purple?
You may find yourself writing long descriptions of setting when you really want to describe an action. You may have been given a long-winded passage at the beginning of your book and now need to tie up every loose end, so you add descriptive details in an attempt to make your story more interesting.
Purple prose generators
You can find these online and they can convert ordinary prose into purple prose. You can use those generators to find sentences that are convoluted in a particular way and to come up with an example of purple prose.
There’s no real purpose for these generators except to show you that purple prose does exist and can be different depending on who it is written by.
What if I like Purple prose?
If you’re a reader, that’s OK because it’s your choice. If you’re a writer, then it’s a problem because most readers will not enjoy your writing if it has purple prose.
You might like reading some 19th century novels, which were written before the modern style of prose became standard. However, even though these books are classics, most modern readers don’t enjoy the long, flowery passages of purple prose.
It’s not that you can’t write purple prose if you’re a writer, it’s just that most people won’t enjoy your books if they’re full of it.
The classic examples of purple prose comes from a time when events need to be described in detail because the invention of movies meant that readers just had to close their eyes to see what the writer was describing.
Of course, there are many book series such as Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, which include both detailed descriptions of events and some simple purple prose. These books are considered to be classics because a) the descriptions and events still work for modern readers b) these examples of purple prose can be fitted into short passages.