1. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Writing Flowery Description

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nilfiry, Apr 22, 2010.

    Contrary to the popular query, this isn't one of the threads asking for assistance in reducing flowery -- or purple as some call it -- description. As a matter of fact, it's entirely the opposite. ;)

    Yes, I am here to request assistance in increasing flowery descriptions. :p

    All kidding aside, unlike many who seem to have trouble with keeping excessive description and flowery imagery out of their writing, I cannot seem to put any IN my writing.

    It is naturally not my style, but there are still some scenes or moments where I would like to dress up my descriptions a bit. However, when I actually try to do it, I draw a blank. Perhaps it is my straightforward style or the seemingly formal tone that appears in my writing that's interfering; nevertheless, I would like some advice on flowering up my writing if possible.

    So there you have it WF. Help me make my writing more flowery. ^^
     
  2. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Think about your five senses and the various ways they can be stimulated. Sight and sound are easy, but there are three others as well.

    As an exercise, try to write one description in each paragraph (at least) that beckons to one of your senses. The gritty feel of the sand between your toes, the overpowering scent of exhaust fumes wafting from the freeway, the sweet crunch of a fresh cherry tomato. There is no better way to immerse a reader into your writing than to give them a true sense of the environment.
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Also, look at the fiction you're reading. If you want to write more flowery prose, then read more flowery prose. A lot of high fantasy is particularly good at this, if you can get around the fundamental boredom of the stories all being near-enough identical...
     
  4. Vacuum Eater
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    Vacuum Eater Senior Member

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    Try reading Anne Rice novels before you do some writing. Always helps me. :D
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A lot of Victorian novels have what we would now call purple prose. Reading a few of those books should help.
     
  6. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    It's a bit strange. I don't have problems writing desciptions in general; I just can't seem to dress it up. I've read and seen plenty of such prose, and poetry for that matter, but when I actually try to do it myself, I can't seem to find the words. When I do manage to come up with something, it feels bland and not pretty at all.

    I'll try reading some more of such, however. I think this is one of the things I'll need to be able to do to make my writing feel more complete. :p
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Last year, someone said (maybe it was on this forum) that I didn't have 'enough emotion' in my writing. So, I turned to poetry (of any and every era) in an attempt to discover how writers had managed to capture feelings and describe complex situations, often in only a few lines, without just being blandly factual all the time. I hadn't read much poetry for several years, and I'm inclined to skim over long descriptions (I mentioned this on another thread before), but I made myself consider what held my attention and what exactly was memorable in some of the descriptions, and took notes on my favourite lines.

    Actually, one line that has always stayed with me from school was: 'The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass' from Keats' The Eve of St. Agnes. Why has that (and, in fact, the entire poem) stayed in my head for 37 years? It's not too 'flowery', but the contrast of a hare limping (instead of flashing past) on the 'frozen' grass (grass is normally yielding) has always just made me picture that scene so vividly. It always makes me shiver.

    *sigh*

    That, to me, is beautiful description that could work equally well in prose.

    I also tried to think about how the descriptive writing sometimes lifted me out of myself and appealed to my senses--as Unsavory said above, using the five senses really involves the reader. I think trying these things helped me.
     
  8. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    I agree with madhoca that trying some poetry might work. It really focuses the mind. Actually, if you PM me something you've written then I'd be glad to look over it and see if I can help out somehow. I'm guessing that you could do with using metaphor and simile a little more.

    This is the second time tonight I have mentioned Douglas Adams, but in the beginning of one of the 'Dirk Gently' books he has a lovely passage about the sun dancing and creeping across a room in the early morning. You might find it an idea to look at anthropomorphism as well.

    The real trick, however, is to USE these things when you learn about them. You'll probably find that some stick and others don't and that is one way that your voice develops.
     
  9. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I sort of have a thing against using metaphors and similies in description so they only appear rarely. I'd prefer to find another way.

    In any case, I do try to envoke the senses or a feeling when I want something to be flowery, but I just can't think up of a way to write it. This problem only occurs in prose, though. I don't have much trouble making things a bit flowery in poetry (and I seldom write poetry), but I can't seem to bridge the two and put that same style into prose.
     
  10. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    If a description is relevant I would hardly call it flowery, otherwise i try not to interject pretty adjectives into my works for the sake of purple-ness.

    If I think something could use a bit more detail, I think about what is important to mentiion. Every description is a chance to develop a character, or let the reader know more about what's going on. Writing flowery-ly is a wasted opportunity that would be better used developing the story, IMO. That's not to say relevant descriptions can't be purple, but i'd recommend against purple prose for the sake it, personally, but you seem to understand that.
     
  11. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually have the same problem in a lot of my writing, and what I usually end up doing is just writing out a scene, giving it to my husband or sister to read, and asking them to tell me where they would like to see more description/detail. Then I go back and think "how can I add more here?" and push myself on from there.

    Now that I've typed that out, it really doesn't seem helpful...but without dissecting my brain to provide you with more information on how this process works for me, it's the only advice I have...
     
  12. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Alright then. Thanks everyone for their advices. ^^ I'll go and try to work on it. My problem could just be that my flowery descriptions just doesn't sound pretty at all. It sounds more plain and blunt, but watch this space. I'll see what goes from here.
     

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