Today will be a short lesson and prompt, I’m afraid. It seems I have come down with a touch of the brown bottle flu.
I am still here to give you a daily writing prompt, though, so you have little excuse not to complete it. Right? Right.
All week we have talked about writing rule s and how to break them. So let’s continue that a bit now.
Today’s writing rule to break is one that I actually don’t like to break too often. Hemingway, Baldwin and other big-name authors use a simple rule for their writing: simple words.
Orwell said “Never use a long word when a short one will do.” James Baldwin told us to “write a sentence as clean as a bone.” Hemingway said something, too, but we couldn’t understand him cause he was drunk. I’m sure it was profound and also implied the keep it simple rule.
The current trend among most younger and self-pubbed (unedited) writers is to use a lot of prose when writing. They want to describe everything in great detail with a ton of poetic elements tossed in.
While this trend should die a horrible death, we are going to embrace it today. After the prompt, I will tell you why I believe purple prose should be burned at the stake.
Write 3 paragraphs of a scene using as much purple prose as possible.
Flowery writing, poetic pens, purple prose, whatever you want to call it, it is ridiculous.
So far, the only genre (besides poetry) that can somewhat get away with it is romance. Even then, it is overplayed. I’ve said it many times and I am sure I’ll say it many more. Let your readers put themselves in your world.
You shouldn’t force their engagement. You merely want to provide a story and characters that they want to become engaged in. If you over-describe you certainly draw the reader in, but you do it on your terms.
When you pull the reader into your story, you want them to connect. If you give them every detail, they are merely able to watch. If you leave out the superfluous details, the reader gets to fill in the blanks.
We often tend to over-describe the things that don’t matter. Hair color, skin color, eye shape (and color), their cloths and other aspects of the scene are not important. If you let the reader add these details for themselves, they draw themselves into the story.
But, today, you get to discard all that and be as poetic and descriptive as you can.
When you have finished, post your paragraphs in the comment section so we can all marvel in your creation.