Death to purple prose

I tried reading the book Shatter Me because it was free on Libby. I gave up at 40% because I couldn’t take it anymore. Here’s an example:

I always wonder about raindrops.

I wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors.

I am a raindrop.

They come bite-sized, too:

Every butterfly in the world has migrated to my stomach.

Or how about this one?

His eyes are two buckets of rainwater: deep, fresh, clear. Hurt.

Writing like that makes me want to scream. I did some rage-fueled Googling and learned about “purple prose” which is apparently a pretty common term:

Purple prose is writing that is considered too wordy, formal, or needlessly poetic, bringing attention to itself and the author rather than what the author is writing about.


There it is; a name for this thing that I hate. Death to purple prose.

Related: Use the smallest word that does the job

Thanks for reading! Subscribe via email or RSS, follow me on Twitter, or discuss this post on Reddit!

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close