Sunday, February 27, 2011

Purple Prose - My Personal Favorite

When I first started on Twitter, someone posted a link to this funny article on something called Purple Prose. I had no idea what it was but being the curious/nosey person that I am, I clicked on it and found what has to be one of my favorite posts to date. I was new to reading adult romance and couldn't help but giggle because I'd seen exactly what the author was describing. I won't tell you how many times I've rolled my eyes or wanted to throw the book across the room because of word choices. My favorites to date are when an author described the man's private part as mushroomed (ewww hello?? Fungus) and another authors description of the vagina as "the sweetness of Venus" (I was in the Dr's office when I read that one and he was concerned I was choking LOL). I've waited a long time to share this so I hope you enjoy it as much as I have....

Deb Stover's The Purple Prose Eater

Purple Prose. What is it? Where did this term originate, and how did romance authors become the lucky professionals to be slapped with this label? Mr. Webster failed to provide a definition, so I felt duty-bound to compose one myself.

Purple prose consists of words and phrases that sound stilted, overly descriptive, or cliché. Now that doesn't mean we should never use beautiful, descriptive language. Not at all. What it means is the overuse of it irritates your reader and can mutate into the dreaded purple prose.
The main area where romance writers in particular are accused of inflicting the reader with purple prose is in love scenes. Why? In the seventies, when authors first threw open the bedroom doors on love scenes in romance novels, writers had to devise creative ways to describe human anatomy. Apparently, the powers-that-be felt the reading public could only handle one shock at a time, so we formulated all sorts of interesting words and phrases to substitute for more clinical terms.
We still use euphemisms in love scenes, though I find them much more realistic than they once were. However, beginning writers will often depend on the euphemisms of the past, rather than simply calling a breast a breast.

To read more, and trust me you'll want to because she includes examlpes, click HERE


Kelly said...

This was great! It reminds me of why I tend to not read the romance genre. Thanks for sharing! Some of the descriptions cracked me up. And some of the things she said made me think of some things I read in a couple of YA books recently, one which I didn't care for at all, the other which I liked, but definitely had some of the purple prose stuff going on.

Vamchoir said...

I read a short article that described a woman's genitalia as a "lotus flower opening up." Since I like to work in the garden, and have never seen a live Lotus Flower open up but I have seen a Venus Fly trap opening wide to snap shut onto a bug or two, the visual just seemed rather offensive to me. (It reminds me why writers must be very careful about the words we choose - what might fully entertain one reader can repel another.)

I am now crossing myself, hoping I've never written anything offensive to anybody (thank goodness I don't write erotica). LOL

Redd said...

*snickers* I can't stop laughing. Das purplish prose has always slain me. *falls over lmao*

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