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Showing posts from January, 2016

Cadence in Writing

Following on from last week’s article about purple prose, cadence – something many writers haven’t heard of – is something that writers aspire to but don’t always manage it, yet it’s the fundamental difference between poetic language and over-indulgent, flowery prose. Cadence in writing is a sense of rhythm and pace, it lifts the narrative from the page and makes it dynamic; brings a certain tempo to the words and sentences; it’s what makes prose poetic, layered and fluid without it being extravagant. Cadence makes the writing visual and evocative, and to an extent, beautiful. It’s an important element in fiction writing, because without it, narrative certainly won’t be as effective. Writers don’t actively think about cadence – they simply want to write and get the words down. It’s not until later, while editing, that they realise that a sense of rhythm might be missing from their narrative. When poetic description works, it’s called cadence. When it doesn’t work, people refer to it as …

The Truths and Myths about Purple Prose – Part 2

Part 1 looked at some of the myths, or misconceptions, that surround purple prose, so it’s time to look at some truths – or at least realities - about this misunderstood concept. It’s Down to Perspective The plain truth is that it’s not as bad as people assume. Assumptions aside, prose – purple or otherwise – is about individuality and perspective. Some people love the poetry and nuance of prose, others don’t. Some appreciate its form, others simply can’t see it. Incredibly, some writers don’t like vivid writing. For the most part, it’s a personal judgement call. That said, prose should only be colourful and descriptive for the important scenes, rather than every scene. So if a reader comes across some intelligent and wonderful description, it’s immediately labelled as purple prose, when in fact it’s nothing of the sort. This generally happens because the reader doesn’t understand the concept of context. You can’t please everyone. Purple Can be Pretty Pretty prose lifts the scene from the p…

The Truths and Myths about Purple Prose – Part 1

In order to get behind the truth of what purple prose is, or the myths that surround it, writers need to understand what Purple Prose really means. The phrase is so often used – sometimes arbitrarily, and at times to the point that it’s misused – that it’s become synonymous for “flowery” or over descriptive, extravagant prose. This kind of writing is a turn off for most readers, since it overpowers the narrative and interrupts the natural flow of the story.  But one certain thing about purple prose is that it’s not that straightforward. There are a lot of myths surrounding its use, and what is actually is, so it’s important that writers should learn to recognize when writing is too melodramatic or over the top, or whether it’s just simply descriptive and vivid. The phrase originates from the classical period, when the poet Horace described ‘purple patches’ tacked onto “weighty openings” and “grand declarations” within his Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry). The trend for flowery prose beca…

The Essential Fiction Writing Checklist - Part 2

In part 1, we looked at a number of essential prompts that can help writers, the kinds of things we often forget about from time to time when writing, but they’re aspects which are important to achieve better writing. So let’s take a look at some more of these essential prompts. Show, Don’t Tell This is the mantra all writers should know, and at its heart is a simple principle: rather than telling the reader, instead describe to the reader, show them so they are able to imagine what you describe. The art of showing rather than telling is all to do with choosing the right scenes to show, so these should be important scenes, key scenes; the kind of scenes that love description and hidden layers. And that’s what ‘showing’ the reader does – it gives them more than words; it brings the scene to life. The idea of telling versus showing still baffles some beginners, so this example should help show the difference between the two:- Clouds blocked the sun and shadows moved from the doorways. The r…