Tag Archives: Purple Prose

12.13: Beautiful Prose, Purple Prose

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

The rising, golden sun crested the snowcapped eastern mountains, its first morning rays pouring like molten lemon through the window to glisten and gleam from the chrome grille of the studio microphone. The collapsing energy quanta of joyous photon goodness made no sound, but the microphone’s 4dB SPL-A noise floor changed subtly from cold white noise to the warmer, friendlier pink; a difference similarly found between the sussurus emanating from an air-handling system and the exhalation of a sleeping goddess.

The podcasters talked about writing stuff, and maybe something about adverbs. The microphone didn’t care. It was just happy to be getting some sunlight.

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Make a paragraph purple. Maybe make one of our paragraphs purple…

The Devil’s Daughter: Hidden Sins Book 1, by Katee Robert, narrated by Carly Robins

12.11: Diction

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary, Mary Anne, and Wesley

Let’s talk about word choice. And when we say “let’s” we mean “we’re going to talk to you about it. You don’t actually get to talk back.” So maybe “let’s” wasn’t the best of the possible openers.

Our discussion covers what we want to say, how specific we need to be, and what we want to evoke in the reader. Sometimes the wrong word is the right one, and the right word is the wrong one.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Andrew Twiss, and mastered by Alex Jackson.

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Exercise 1: Take some dialog you’ve written recently. Replace the dialog with dialog that uses completely different words (except for articles, prepositions, and names.)

Exercise 2:  Write a scene in sentences no longer than seven words, then rewrite it in a single long sentence.

Sins of Empire by Brian McCellan

Writing Excuses 10.47: Q&A on Revision

And now for your questions about revision. Or rather, questions from the WXR attendees, who were aboard the Independence of the Seas with us (the answers to these questions are secreted away in the audio file…):

  • During revision, when do you think it’s acceptable to throw the whole thing out?
  • How do you fit the whole structure in your head?
  • What do you find you most often need to add?
  • What do you do when your revisions have made things worse?
  • How do you avoid over-writing during the revision process?
  • When revising, how many passes do you make, and what order are they in?
  • Do you take the sounds of words into account when writing and revising?

This episode was engineered aboard The Independence of the Seas by Bert Grimm, and mastered in a concrete bunker somewhere in the midwest by Alex Jackson.

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Read your piece aloud. The whole thing. Yes, THE WHOLE THING. Take notes while you do so.

Blindsight, by Peter Watts, narrated by T. Ryder Smith

Writing Excuses 6.11: Making Your Descriptions Do More Than One Thing

Let’s talk about some ways in which your descriptions can do more than just describe. You’re not just trying to tell us what the room is like. You’re also setting the mood, telling us about the POV character, and establishing some of our progress through the story.

Howard (who rarely works in prose) offers some unexpected insight by talking about the way panels are composed in his comic. Mary offers even better insight by pulling the same principles through the domain of puppetry. Dan tells us how some of this is done by filmmakers. But yes, we finally do come back around to prose and how to accomplish these things with words.

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Shades of Milk and Honey, written and narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal

Writing Prompt: Go someplace, use all five of your senses, and for thirty minutes write about the place you’re in. Not the people though. Just the place.

And Because It Needs To Be Google-able: “Mary Robinette Koala” — it might be more than just a pronunciation guide.

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