Thursday, 4 August 2011

Amazing Writing Tips #3: Purple Prose is the Key to Success.

You'll need a shed load of words
to create this.
If a picture paints a thousand words then surely you need a thousand words to paint a picture? No, you need more. A common mistake the less experienced, but ever hopeful, dreaming writers of this aged but optimistic world make is to cut. They set about their loved manuscripts, pen poised like a gleaming, sharp and vicious dagger over the bleached and trembling paper, ready to strike, strike, strike out the words they think they don't need.

But they do need them, for surely words are our tools, our treasure, our breath and we must impart them like the precious, dear life-blood that they are. Force them in, prise those sentences apart, and shove  and hammer those fluted nouns and flowery adverbs in until you are left with a sentence that is the literary equivalent of this architecture:

Fancy!


As an entertaining but educational example let's take this simple, common and oft-used sentence:

'The cat sat on the mat.'

It might tell you everything it needs to but couldn't it be better?

'The stripy furred feline reclined gracefully, but not with out a sense of feral, barely contained animalistic fury, on the worn and tatty, brown, stained door mat next to some old, and worn boots that belonged to Mike the local dustman, his ragged footwear suffused with every failure, regret and dead dream of his life.'

Improved like a wine left in a dark and cobwebbed cellar, filthy with dust, crud and weird things that no one really wants to think about, its taste enriched, unseen by its future drinkers.

Let my magnificence wash over you like the warm soapy suds of last nights washing up bowel bowl as it catches the waning, dying evening light.

Mark