I bared my soul two weeks ago when I divulged my overuse of the word “eyes” in my manuscript for Love’s Courage. Well, after receiving excellent responses from my beta readers, I have even more dirty (writing) secrets to air. I flirt with purple prose by using an emotion (or sometimes an odor) as the subject of a sentence. At least, flirting with purple prose is the best way I can describe it. My friend, H.J. calls me on it every time.
For your entertainment, I’ve listed five sentences that I believe are my worst offenders. Help me out here—how would you change them? Rest assured that I’ve revised my manuscript already, so I am not asking you to do my work for me But I’d love to have you select one or more and write your revision in a comment.
- Despite the warmth of the July sun, a chill scuttled through her bones.
- Jealousy burned within Andrew.
- But coils of dread tempered her joy as she feared for his safety
- Loneliness flooded him as the sun sank into the horizon.
- When she opened the door, the pungent smell of the putrid wound assaulted her nose.
Improving sentences like these is my most challenging revision task…well, besides major rewrites. Sometimes the sentence just keeps playing in my head over and over like my daughter Kate singing “It’s a Small World After All” when she was five. I can’t get rid of it. (And now, neither can you. Sorry)
You would think that, after a while, I would stop writing these sentences, but obviously, I haven’t yet. I write them when I am creating. Scientists are debunking the “creative right brain vs. the logical left brain” theory, but I know that when I am in the initial stages of developing a story, if I stop to consider the worth of every sentence, my creative juices halt. So, I will continue to flirt with purple prose if that is what I need to create my worlds. And, hopefully, H.J. will keep calling me on it.
What is your most challenging revision bugaboo?