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Purple Prose: are we for it or against it?

May 18, 2020

Purple Prose is defined as “text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself.” It is overly formal, hyper-metaphorical, pretentious, and as such, should be avoided at all costs in contemporary works, they say.
I submit that it depends on the setting of your work and your writing voice. Consider that patches of purple abound in classics by Melville “Austen, Tolstoy, and Brontës—they wrote in a far different style than we do today, and it worked for them because that was how they talked back then. And their writing still attracts us today because it is beautiful.” (Full Article HERE)
A couple of weeks ago a 2.5-star review for Faery Sight was posted on Goodreads. The gist of the critique centered around:

 
“…This story is very imaginative yet tells far painfully more than shows.
It is a rich weaving of the details of faery lands and ways,
filled with writing a bit too flowery…”

Just in case I have not shared this before, Faery Sight, is a fantasy novel that tells the story of a human girl raised by faeries. It is set in the 1800s
A huge part of my writing and editing process included an immersion into the writing style of that time
—a welcome opportunity to indulge in Austen’s Pride and PrejudiceEmmaSense and Sensibility, etc.
As you may imagine, a reviewer calling me out on flowery descriptions and passive voice totally tickled my funny bone because my chosen mentor is considered, by some, guilty of those failings too!
So, yes, despite this isolated low rating for my period fantasy novel, it did give me a sense of accomplishment
Miss Austen’s long sentences, great deal of description and narration were the Victorian tone I wanted for Book One of my Faerie Legacy Series. 
 
Until next time, and as always,
Happy Reading!
Stay Safe & Stay Positive

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