Lavender Prose & Angry Hoes
If you suck as a writer, you're not alone. You're not with me, but you're not alone. Sometimes, like a girl wears makeup, you too can mask your literary zits. How so? With a flashy writing style.
Of course, the way to begin acquiring this kind of sparkling writing is to read a lot stories written that way. But that takes a lot of time. Nobody has that kind of time, I know, but lucky for you there's a shortcut.
What's that? Mastering the art of the lavender prose.
Lavender prose. Formerly Purple prose, but Purple wasn't purple enough, so he was fired (don't worry, he's got a new job as Purple Drank). Normally, it's considered a writing sin to use it, but if you can harness the raw force of this beast, it can make you stronger.
Nervous Newbie: "What's purple – err, lavender – um, prose, Mister Sage, Dice, person-sir?"
Sage: "None of your business, loser."
Okay, here's the deal. All it is, is writing with lots of unnecessary pretty words. Or, to be more technical, it's the unnecessary addition of adverbs and adjectives and random similes, often done in an unintentional attempt to mask the fact that your story is directionless and nothing is actually happening.
This, "The wet roses shone under the moonlight," when infected with the lavender plague, becomes, "Translucent droplets of liquid embraced the scarlet rose petals in unison like the most enticing temptresses of a grandiose bordello, playfully seducing the pristine flowers into donning a moist and luminous sheen under the ghostly pale rays of brilliant lunar light. Bitch."
Okay, okay. You win. I'll admit, I only added the bitch part 'cause I felt like it. The point is, as interesting as the infected sentence seems, it flat out sucks. It's a waste of writer's time, waste of reader's time, and total waste of the universe's space.
In short, it's word vomit.
For all the fancy words, nothing actually happens. It's like a feline with no feet. Sure it's cute, but it's not moving anything anywhere anytime soon. If your story isn't moving, to quote my new favorite video game (Super Street Fighter 4), "You—lose."
Nervous Newbie: "So um, M-master Darwin, that means lavender prose is evil?"
Sage: "Incorrect, you man-dork."
Lavender prose isn't the enemy. It's a super highway. The quickest route on the road to developing your fancy new style. Because it takes a strong vocabulary to puke out sentences like that. It also takes powerful description skills too. Better to have too much, than too little.
Writing this way is great for stretching out your mind, making you use words you've never used, or look up new ones in the dictionary if you can't think of one. It worked for me years ago. It's important you do this so that one day, when you need the perfect descriptive phrase to cap off your groundbreaking novel, you won't feel intimidated or at a loss for words. The key is, knowing how to take the chainsaw to that monster once you've written it.
Think of it this way. You want to buy pizza for your family, but you don't know what toppings to get and they can't decide. You just know they want something more than cheese. Now, you can pick one topping (sausage, magic mushrooms, pepperoni, etc.) and hope it hits the spot and most likely get complaints galore.
Or you can order every topping the restaurant has then tell your loved ones to "Shut the fuck up!" and "Spit out the stuff you don't like!"
That's lavender prose, people. An overabundance. So much is there that, during the editing process, you can go back and remove the parts you don't need, leaving you with a perfect slice of pizza. Much easier than adding details afterward, which the minimalist approach may require.
Nothing wrong with going with the sparse style. But it's best to be capable of writing more lavishly if you choose to. Or even better, meeting somewhere in the middle, or weaving in and out like I tend to do.
Hopeful Newbie: "Will the purple stuff help me on this site? I want people to like my story. Lots."
Sage: "Possibly, newbie. Possibly."
Here's why. This site is full of people who possess limited skills (descriptive and otherwise), probably don't want to get better (which is fine, there's more to life than this), and wouldn't recognize high quality writing if it jabbed them in the eyebrow. And lavender prose is a magic trick, only impressive to people who don't know how to do it.
Want to impress? Be the magician.
For those aspiring to be talented writers, it's not the place you want land.
But it's one hell of a runway.
Feminist Newbie: "I don't care about that. I demand an apology for you saying the word 'hoes' in your chapter title! And you said 'bitch!' Those are derogatory terms! They demean women everywhere! They—"
Feminist Newbie: "How dare you—"
Sage: "Be gone, whore!"
Feminist Newbie: "You—"
Sage: "The Sage has spoken."
The whole idea is this: you have to be willing to offend people.
Not that you should try to, but don't let a fear of some sort of backlash affect your writing. Did you know many parents sought to get Harry Potter banned, due to it having witchcraft? Plenty pissed off people were a part of that. We've seen how that turned out. And it's not the only book to succeed and even thrive while trapped in that kind of heat wave.
Different people have different tastes. Unless you write the most bland story ever, you'll eventually upset somebody. And even a bland story will anger somebody (namely, me). That's life. People get pissed on and pissed off. So you might as well say what you want, how you want, when you want. That kind of expression is what helps you find your flair.
Don't be afraid of what your friends think. Or your parents. Or the nice old lady down the street with the loaded shotgun. Be free.
Nobody can use the exact words you would, or completely mimic you, when you're being true to yourself. They don't have your experiences. Your battles. Your demons and dreams and education and desires.
They're not you.
But when you try to mimic another person's style, or allow others to censor you and control your words, you sacrifice your originality. That's the price, and it's a heavy one.
A backbreaker for sure.
So if you wanna curse, go for it. Wanna write violent stories or something with disturbing themes, feel free. If you want to write a love story, I won't read it, but do it anyway and enjoy.
Wanna write about perverted homosexual infant rabbits having hardcore sex? Stay the hell away from me, you freak. But do that too . . . if you must.
So in summation, I do declare that writing purple prose can be a great first step to you having a spectacular writing style if you learn to clean the mess afterward, but being bold enough to risk upsetting people is the first step to claiming your style as your own.
Nervous Newbie: "I get it now! Thanks, Mister Sage! I'm gonna go write a story with bad description and bad words that makes my mommy mad! Then I'll be the bestest most stylish writer on the whole site!"
Sage: "That's . . . close enough."