Purple Prose/ Bad Writing

Purple Prose is a very poorly written sentence. It usually has too many adjectives and drags on and on into oblivion. (Well, maybe not quite that far.) If you would like to try your hand at some bad writing, feel free to e-mail me your purple prose and I'd be happy to post it on my page.

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. These examples are taken from the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which honors bad writing.

Grand prize: ``Ace, watch your head!'' hissed Wanda urgently, yet somehow provocatively, through red, full, sensuous lips, but he couldn't, you know, since nobody can actually watch more than part of his nose or a little cheek or lips if he really tries, but he appreciated her warning.'' From Janice Estey, Aspen, Colo.

Historical: Ulysses Simpson Grant, having just finished a meal of Virginia ham, stretched out in his underwear of Mississippi-grown cotton, puffed heavily on a Georgia cigar, swilled straight bourbon whiskey, and thought how good it was to be in the Union Army.'' From Albert Klar Ogden, Stansbury Park, Utah.

Urban realism: ``The city at night has a million stories, like the woman who, even now, was weeping over the bloody corpse of her lover lying where she had slashed him from neck to kneecap, or the 12-year-old kid prostrate on the sidewalk after a drug deal gone wrong, or the babe, desperate to find the stuff that stopped your dress from sticking to your legs after you ironed it and couldn't find a convenience store at this black hour in a city without a name.'' From Michael Davies, Mississauga, Ontario

Purple Prose: ``Nigel lifted his Mont Blanc pen and held it in brief repose as he gazed past the conflagrative crackling of the fire in the hearth, through the triple-plate bay window, watching the incandescence of the twinkling stars like the detonation of a million flashbulbs, and the preponderance of frothy snowflakes blanketing the earth as creamily as marshmallow fluff, then, refreshed and inspired, he began to compose his annual Christmas form letter.'' From Linda Gauer, Norton, Ohio.

Western: Following the unfortunate bucking of his horse when it was startled by the posse's shots, Tex who now lay in a disheveled heap in the sagebrush pushed back his sweat-stained Stetson from one deep-set eye, spat a stream of tobacco juice at the nearest cactus, and reflected momentarily that the men approaching him with ropes probably weren't just out for a skip, and if they were his freshly broken ankle would have to cause him to decline any entreaties to join them.'' From Becky Mushko, Roanoke, Va.

Dishonorable Mention, Pun: ``Baron Frankenstein looked up from his sewing, smiled benignly across the laboratory at his similarly engaged creation and protege and called, `Yes, yes! Put on a happy face; tonight will be your first date with the rest of your wife!'' From Anthony Buckland, of North Vancouver, Canada.


From Jim Grossmann:

"Though loathe to engage in the presumption indubitably emobodied in the interruption of the mellifluous flow of your rather discursive monologizing, politeness compels me to direct your attention to the blob of yellowish colloidal matter adhearing to the left corner of your moustache," Skip chortled.

"Nonsense!" Chip snorted.

"Would that my statement lacked sense, but--alas--it is you who lack sensation, oh wretchedly miserable abstracted avatar of absent-mindedness," Skip chortled with a snort.

"Would that politeness would permit a more vulgar repudiation of your metaphorically feculant calumny," Chip retorted with a self-conscious attempt to snort with a simultaneous chortle, the act of which precipitated a freakish spasm of his pharyngeal muscles which caused everything he said thereafter for the rest of his days to be punctuated with grotesquely strangled gagging and splutching noises.

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