Saturday, 15 February 2014

Purplified Prose

 by Ashley Lister

 This is my current idea for a writing exercise. Take an existing line of fiction and purplify it. I might need a better word than purplify. The idea is to take a piece that’s been published and then add all the ornate bells and trimmings of typical purple prose to show how artificial these affectations can appear on the printed page. The exercise will show how an abundance of adjectives can make a piece of work stand out as being too heavily textual or show that the writer is not skilled in their craft.

To illustrate the point I'm trying to make, this is from Orwell’s 1984:
The thought police would get him just the same

This is the same idea coloured purple –
The thought police – cruel, omnipotent, overpowering, bullying, mindless, manipulative, Machiavellian, monstrosity that they were, would track him down like a rabid dog and then cage him and torture him and rob him of all that he considered to be dear as part of his own personal self, just the same.

This from Stoker’s Dracula:
"I am here to do your bidding, Master. I am your slave..."

This is the same idea coloured purple –
"I am here, in the present, in this moment, living and breathing at your service, intent only doing your bidding my most wonderful, beloved and beautiful master. For whatever purpose you need, in whatever way I can be of service, I am destined to be your slave..."

This is from Fifty Shades of Grey
His tone is so... so directorial, his usual control freak. I imagine him as an old-time movie director wearing jodhpurs, holding an old-fashioned megaphone and a riding crop. The image makes me laugh out loud.

This is the same idea coloured purple –
His tone is so... so directorial, his usual control freak. I imagine him as an old-time movie director wearing jodhpurs, holding an old-fashioned megaphone and a riding crop. The image makes me laugh out loud.

On a serious note, if you’d like to share your purple prose in the comments box, it would be fun to read it.
Reactions:

3 comments:

Colin Davies said...

I think my Monday was purple enough, and even though I could see where you were ghoung, it still made me laugh.

Than you.

Adele said...


I haven't read Fifty Shades of Purple: Thank you strengthening my resolve on that score.

Terrific post Ash. Oops I meant to say tall, willowy, greenish grey, native British, deciduous tree.

Ashley R Lister said...

Glad you guys liked this one. Thanks for the kind comments.

Ash