How Much Beautiful Writing Is TOO Much Beautiful Writing?!

Hi friends! I kind of wanted to talk today about a subject that’s a little controversial for some people, and that is purple prose. I’m sure we all love gorgeous passages, because I mean what other quotes are we supposed to mark in our notebooks while sobbing at one in the morning?

Well To Start With…What IS Purple Prose?

prose that is too elaborate or ornate.

-Oxford Dictionary

Yet, the mere definition of “too elaborate” and “too ornate” is very subjective. My limits on what I’d consider to be purple prose is probably totally different from everyone else’s! I actually tend to adore books with prose that’s bordering on purple*! But for a lot of people, they simply can’t stand it.

*yeah, i’m shocked too. usually i have the attention span of a goldfish

“Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.”

-The Night Circus

Some Examples of Books With Beautiful Prose:

“There was a man who loved the moon, but whenever he tried to embrace her, she broke into a thousand pieces and left him drenched, with empty arms.”

-Strange the dreamer

I haven’t read all of these but I’ve seen reviews and quotes! I think that for a lot of people, they believe that rich writing has a time and a place. There are some who would absolutely despise Blanca and Roja because the entire story is told like a dreamy fairy-tale, yet there are others who would love it for that quality alone.

“Every touch created colors she had never seen. Colors as soft as velvet and as sharp as sparks that turned into stars.”

-Caraval

I want to use Caraval as an example for just a sec. I fell in love with how Garber painted portraits with words! But as I started reading more and more reviews, I quickly realized that not everyone felt the same way. The language is rich, sure, but also very nonsensical and overused. It didn’t bother me at all but it prevented so many people from being fully immersed in the story. Which brings me to my last point:

When Is Enough, Enough?

That’s something that I think only an individual can answer. Tell me down below how YOU feel about prose (purple or otherwise) and your favorite books with beautiful writing!

24 thoughts on “How Much Beautiful Writing Is TOO Much Beautiful Writing?!

  1. I’m such a sucker for beautiful, poetic prose! My favorite books with this type of writing are The Blood Rose Rebellion Trilogy by Rosalyn Eves, The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross, and The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees. I love when the prose adds to the atmosphere and worldbuilding. What I don’t like is when the descriptions take over the characters and plot—when there are pages upon pages of it. Then it’s too much for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually hate too much prose but I love it… it’s a strained relationship tbh. A good healthy amount + normal actual sentences because I get stressed because I haaaaaaaaaaate writing prose because I’m awfuuuuuuuul at it. So sometimes I get discouraged bc I can’t write prose but that’s just a problem with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I go back and forth on the prose issue. I like prose that is serviceable. But then sometimes I just love really lush over the top prose. I loved the prose in The Night Circus and honestly it was one of the best parts of that book for me.

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  4. I think this is such a interesting point and I never really thought about it but I know there are those who love delicate and whimsical prose but others who aren’t bothered by it!
    I love a beautiful quote— I’m seriously addicted and whenever a quote jumps out to me from the writing my heart falls in love with the book a little more so I think I am a fan but I would say it depends on my mood as sometimes I what a more direct path to the plot. But it is definitely interesting to think about!! Great post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think “enough” is when it becomes so complicated and “flowery” that you lose the magic. It just feels like the author is showing off or trying to look intelectual or ….Beauty must flow effortlessly not puzzle or bore the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a great post! I thought I was the only one who sometimes had issues with purple prose. I enjoy it in some cases and then not in others. Perhaps, certain authors can achieve the correct balance that allows me to stay immersed in the story. Fab post Kaya 😀 Jen

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do love a really beautiful quote and I believe that purple prose definitely has times when it works; but other times when it doesn’t and is probably used way too much. I guess I think it just depends on the story and the author’s writing ability for me. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I hate it. I’m constantly going back and forth.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love purple prose. But it can be too much sometimes XD Laini Taylor and Roshani Chokshi are two that I really enjoyed. I liked Caraval too though some of the metaphors went over my head. I actually did read The Night Circus and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing cuz it made me get lost and I thought the plot was pretty boring….but most of the time I enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely have a bit of a soft spot for purple prose. Sometimes there can certainly be too much, but it toes the line between outright poetry (which I don’t love in most cases) and prose (which is always my first love). I especially love it when an author has a poetry background and it carries over lightly into their work. VE Schwab is one of those cases, which is probably why I love her work so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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