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  1. Eric Gonzalez-Payne
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    Eric Gonzalez-Payne New Member

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    Prose

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Eric Gonzalez-Payne, Mar 2, 2013.

    I love a good bit of prose, Steinbecks grapes of wrath is magical. I am trying to write my own tale, a nonfiction piece. I wonder if my writing is too prose heavy, perhaps even purple prose.

    Here is a random sample

    “I’m ok” I said in hurried a breath. I ran my sandals over the worn path. The sound of sand, rolling between me and the world rumbled through the quiet night. My heart dropped like a broken elevator, I was in danger. I couldn’t go down. I couldn’t move and be certain that I would live. The possibility of falling, of sliding to my doom, of death and eternal darkness, were only a step away. Terror bathed the world in fog that caused everything - the sharp sweep of the hillside; the ink colored canes, the burgeoning cityscape around me - to dull and fade.


    Also I don't much like that "heart dropped" phrase, any advise on how to make that one better :)
     
  2. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    A bit overwritten, yes. Go easier on the metaphors and similes. Cutting that cliche phrase out completely is a good start. Pardon me while I do horrible things to your prose.

    "I'm okay! I'm okay!"
    I ran my sandals over the worn path. The sound of sand, rolling between me and the world rumbled through the quiet night. I couldn’t go down. I couldn’t move and be certain that I would live. The possibility of falling, of death and eternal darkness, were only a step away. Terror bathed the world in a fog that caused the jagged hillside, the inky canes, and the cityscape around me to fade away.

    Steinbeck it's not, but the imagery is still there. I don't like saying anything in any kind of breath, so that's more my personal choice there. "Dull and fade" is just repeating yourself and I think you wanted to emphasize that point. "Fade away" is a stronger "fade." The last line had broken rhythm and I'm not sure you wanted that. "Burgeoning" seemed like an unnecessary adjective.
     
  3. Eric Gonzalez-Payne
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    Eric Gonzalez-Payne New Member

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    Thanks for the tips, they are wonderful, all of them. Another question, how does one come up with Steinbeck like prose? Also, in general, should metaphors and similes be minimized or removed?
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Read a lot of Steinbeck and emulate his style. However, I would recommend not copying his style exactly. Rather, tweak it a little, sort of like Toni Morrison did with Faulkner's style.

    That depends on your style of writing. There's nothing inherently wrong with using them, but using them sparingly has the best effect IMO.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Also read poety - that will help you to tighten your sentences to give you the sharpest impact.
     
  6. Eric Gonzalez-Payne
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    Eric Gonzalez-Payne New Member

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    I spent the last year traveling the world and reading, I read 30 books in order to advance my knowledge of writing. Sadly they were not prose heavy books, so I still have much to learn...but at least they brought me to the stage where I enjoy books simply for their prose. I will add poetry to my list of things to read.
     
  7. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Metaphors and similes are okay. You can do them a lot, or a little. What you want to avoid, except in very special circumstances, is a) mixing them and b) stacking them. I'm sure you know what mixing means. Stacking is hitting the reader with them one after the other. Two metaphors in the same paragraph is brutal. Two in as many sentences is suffocating.

    Anyway, I would advise new writers to not try to write in the style of another writer. You have to develop your own style first, and that comes simply from writing a lot. At first it's going to be crap. If you're trying to write like Steinbeck, it's going to be Steinbeck on a very bad day.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how can it be both a 'tale' and 'non-fiction'?...

    and what do you mean by 'prose-heavy'?... can a work of prose [= not poetry] be 'prose-light'?... or 'prose-normal'?...
     

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