The Most Flowery of Language - Purple Prose
Okay, so what do you consider to be purple prose? What is it? Give us an example. Do you love it? Hate it? Find it tolerable or small doses? Or do you think all shades of violet wording should be destroyed?
Again, lots of questions to answer this month!
Okay, so what do you consider to be purple prose? What is it? Give us an example.
The word that springs to mind is 'flowery' - lots of descriptive words or decoration of plain text. It's what turns a woman sitting on a bench on a lawn into a seat with rustic wooden slats worn smooth by years of use as the woman with long, blonde hair, highlighted by the sun, sits there reading well-worn pages of letters, her bare feet in the bright green mown grass, the blades tickling her toes. That's actually not flowery enough really. It should also have smells, colours, and the way the sunlight falls through the nearby trees on to the grass.
Having said that, another description I've seen for purple prose is that it 'consists of words and phrases that sound stilted, overly descriptive, or cliché and is derived from a reference by the Roman poet Horace.'
Do you love it? Hate it? Find it tolerable or small doses? Or do you think all shades of violet wording should be destroyed?
Lots of people will say you should always avoid purple prose, but I like it when it's in the right place. If it's just description for description's sake then it annoys me, but when it's used to set a scene, or when a whole story is about the descriptions, then I do really enjoy reading it. I'm reading Affaire Royale by Nora Roberts at the moment, and her descriptions I think really do go as far as purple prose. She paints a wonderful picture of her settings which can often stretch to a page at a time, but they're always tied in with the story and not just there for the sake of it. She can really make you feel as though you're there in the story with the characters, and I think the main reason for that is the way she describes things - she uses colours, feelings, weather, what things are made of and how they interact to paint wonderful scenes.
Thursday, 9 May 2013
Set in 1989 as the Berlin Wall is about to come down, the story is about Kate, fresh out of university in the US and about to start her dream job as a ‘little-bit-of-everything’ in Paris for the world-famous photo-journalist Lydia Schell.
Once set up in her tiny rooms - for which she has to pay rent out of her meagre salary - Kate has to deal with the eccentric Schell family – grouchy teenager Joshua, delicate princess Portia, distracted husband Clarence and flighty Lydia – while juggling her love life (Portia’s ex-boyfriend Olivier), friends (down-to-earth Christie, over-emotional Claudia and gay cousin Etienne), and trying to figure out exactly what she wants from life.
I found it easy to lose myself in the story, which brought the streets of Paris and the eccentric characters vividly to life, and Lessons in French would make a great summer holiday read for someone wanting a light hearted story to put in their bag and take to the beach.
- Lessons in French by Hilary Reyl
- RRP £7.99 (paperback)
- Published by Harper (this edition due to be published May 23, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 0007446268
- ISBN-13: 978-0007446261
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
What did you enjoy about the Challenge?
It got me blogging and made me think - it's not easy trying to find an X to write about!
What could we do better next year?
I enjoyed it as it was - I don't think there was anything that would have improved it. I liked the challenge and the idea of visiting other people's blogs, and beyond that I don't think there needs to be anything more.
What issues did you encounter? Did you encounter many non-participants?
On a couple of blogs I went to I couldn't find a link to post a comment, which was frustrating! I didn't find any non-participants though, aside from one who had posted until about half way through the month and then posted an apologetic message explaining she wasn't going to be able to do the rest.
Theme or no theme – what seemed to work better? Did you find any great themes?
I liked the themes but I didn't really look at any posts which weren't to do with writing, because that was what I was most interested in. I found some great blog posts under the writing theme though.
Did you have fun and will you participate again next year?
Yes and yes :)