Purple prose is flowery and ornate language. It sacrifices plot and clarity for indulgent detail. A piece of prose can be entirely purple, or it can have ornate bits sprinkled throughout. We call cases of the latter “purple patches. Purple prose is like showing up in stilettos to go on a hike. The language doesn’t match the occasion or the character. It draws attention to itself. It doesn’t advance the action, clarify the plot, or reveal a character’s intentions or thoughts. It’s fluff — description for description’s sake. Imagine being thirsty and drinking out of a fire hose instead of just getting a glass of water. This is what purple prose does. It drowns the reader.”blog.usejournal.com/
Sandy’s prompt for Friendly Friday is all about purple and she included an explanation of purple prose. She also threw out a challenge to finish a sentence using the most purplish prose and also how she would be challenged at Uni to shorten a piece of prose by 50%. I could not resist this kind of writing challenge.
Which of the following versions do you like best? Like the above photo, the first passage is OTT and I warn you it is so purple, it’s blue!
Purple – Complete the sentence: It was a dark and stormy night …
It was a dark and stormy night, of the kind that is punctuated intermittently with angry, tense thunderclaps, and a murky iron blackness that swallowed any chance a moonbeam might stray upon the field of still blossoming, lemon-yellow canola flowers, or the leafy green hedgerow that stoically hugged the rain-soaked asphalt, when a decrepit, rust-ridden jalopy, complete with chrome plating and red vinyl upholstery with loosening stitching, wobbled and slid unceremoniously along the narrow lane; its similarly torpid, disheveled driver with whisky soaked breath blissfully unaware a malevolent evil waited within the protracted, wispy shadows of the grim, concrete-grey mansion positioned atop the hill.
And now for the shortened version:
It was a dark and stormy night, punctuated with thunder and a blackness that blocked any view of the surroundings, when a disheveled whisky-soaked man drove his aging vehicle haphazardly towards the foreboding mansion on the hill, blissfully unaware of the evil that awaited him.
Join in with the Friendly Friday Blog Challenge. A new prompt will be posted here in two weeks time.