Today on the Writer’s Glossary…
Purple prose is overly ornate and flowery writing that distracts the reader.
Its characteristics include lots of description, littered with adjectives, metaphors and similes. Watch out for too many sentences including ‘it was like a (insert overly convoluted simile here)’ or ‘it was as if…’. If you have more than one adjective in a sentence, strike them out and try to think of a stronger word that will cover both.
The trouble with purple prose is it can bog down the reader, leaving them stumbling from one effusive description to another without ever quite being sure what’s happening. Does that scene with your character taking off their coat really need a metaphor and a simile?* Think on it, dear writer.
If you’re reaching for a thesaurus more than once during a scene, you’re probably writing purple prose. Don’t do it. I think there’s a full blog post in here somewhere, so check back soon for ‘how to spot and avoid purple prose’.