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The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dueling in Purple

Violet Black and DJ just finished a purple prose competition.

Purple prose is over-writing. It is when a bubbly, over enthusiastic writer uses far too many exciting, colorful modifiers; sensationally sizzling verbs; and excessively dramatic hyperbole. Well... you get it!

Purple prose is bad writing.

But, purple prose has many good uses.

Here are some we discovered:

1. Purple prose is great for loosening up and overcoming writer's block.
2. It helps a writer discover colorful words.
3. It stimulates new ideas.
4. It can be used to breathe life or fun into a piece, and edited for the best portions.
5. Purple prose is fun to write, and creates momentum and energy in the writer.
6. It is great for inspiring melodrama and humor.
7. It is a fun way to explore plot twists and turns.
8. It is especially useful in November when fatigued and starving Nanowrimo competitors are gropingly desperate for words to count!

We had a competition to see which of us could create the worst (or would that be best?) purple prose in three categories. We decided to post it here and let you determine which ones are the most purple. This will get long, so feel free to skim or skip if you like. That is typical of purple prose anyway.

We hope you are inspired, or at least laughing. We challenge you to duel as well. To participate, pick a winner for each category, and leave one or more of your best efforts in the comments. (You don't have to be a member of this blog to participate.)

Category 1: Where you live

She looked out her kitchen window at the miles and miles of glorious, flat, spacious, open land. Only an occasional tree or house interrupted the horizon. Nowhere else in all the remaining sphere of the earth could one find the vastness of this marvelous free ranging land!

B: The wind lashes through like a death angel: uprooting all plants except the most strong, demonic weeds. The land is saturated in brown death; the air at times putrid with rotten grain and fresh, brown pies. The sun glares, often bleaching the sky like parchment. The air is so dry you feel as though you are suffocating. Hawks circle, ravens chortle, and the doves sob. But in the midst of this desolation... a spot of green sheltered by elms, and willows, and pines. And there stands a brick house the color of sand -- the place I call home.

Category 2: Where you shop

I pushed open the door, and stopped to take in the intoxicating smell. My eyes caressed the items surrounding me, longing to touch and hold everything. Colors were dancing and prancing, trying to snatch my attention. I basked in it all for a moment, taking in deep luxuriant breaths. Joy and passion swelled inside me, longing for just one piece. "Fabric! Oh, how I love you!"

She entered Porky's. The grocery store was the only respectable, genteel, gracefully aging business on one side of a shabby, old, run down shopping center. The strip mall, appropriately called, had been stripped of all usefulness, beauty, and respectability. The grocery store was the one remaining spark of life and goodness in the area. Compared to the overblown parasitic commercialism of the larger supermarkets; Sandy loved the smaller, cozy size of this store, and the ever gracious, hospitable, solicitous helpfulness of the employees.

Category 3: Your transportation

She climbed into the red monster of a vehicle. At her age, getting into the suburban was like climbing Mt. Everest, and about as dangerous. She furtively reached up to grasp one of the hand-holds. It seemed to be light years away from her desperately extended fingertips. Finally, with gasping, choking breaths, she stretched far enough to grasp it. She lifted her leg up to the floor of the monster, then pulled with her arm and pushed with her leg to lift herself past that vast gaping chasm between the gravel and the vehicle. She pulled and pushed with all her strength, stretching every sinew, straining every muscle, bursting capillaries and veins until at last she heaved herself onto the seat of that cavernous beast. In exhaustion, she looked out over the blood-red hood of the vehicle, imagining that it had gotten its scarlet color by slaking its thirst with her life-blood, which now flowed dripping off its vast cold side.

B: I am sleek and red as a poppy. But I am tough and dignified like an army tank. I prefer to call myself Gladiator, but the ignoramus who orders me around calls me "Suburban". What an indignation!


mcj said...

I go with the B. on Where You Live. Where you shop is A. for me. In Your transportation the A. is by far the most purple I have ever ever read. I think it is a great exercise, don't you?

Grannie Carol said...

This is fun. I loved the purple prose for B "Where You Live," then B for "Where you Shop," and A for "Transportation." You both painted such colorful pictures with your words... especially on the first one about "Where You Live". It looks pretty dreary out my window right now, so I can really identify. At first I wasn't sure about what Purple Prose meant. I thought it meant writing something dirty. So thanks for clueing me in on what it actually means. I guess dirty writing is referred to as "Blue" maybe. Let's don't write Blue, okay?