Episode 230: Pulping Purple Prose

In this week's episode, Vicky finds herself wildly unprepared to answer Joe's questions and crashes around Google trying to figure out where the phrase "purple prose" originated. After they get that out of the way, there's some genuinely useful information about how to write beautiful descriptions without getting in the way of the story.


Key Points

  • [5:30] Vicky now has a trapeze in her garden!
  • [6:20] What is purple prose?
  • [7:25] How do you write descriptions without being boring and pretentious?
  • [11:15] We usually pay attention to the writing and not the narrative. The writing should be invisible.
  • [15:45] What are some common problems when people try to write descriptively?
  • [21:10] How would a director film this scene that you’re writing about?
  • [22:25] Most of the time you don’t see characters brushing their teeth or washing their faces.
  • [25:00] Read everything Terry Pratchett ever wrote. He’s a master describer.
  • [28:10] Our brains don’t deal too well with abstract wording.
  • [32:45] Vicky and Joe read your podcast reviews! Thanks for leaving them!

  • Mentioned in This Episode:


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Starship Troopers, by Robert A. Heinlein

Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

False Value, by Ben Aaronovitch

I Will Teach You to Be Rich, by Ramit Sethi

Don't Touch My Hair Book by Emma Dabiri


Books by Terry Pratchett

Want to know more? I’ve written a book, you know. You can get your mitts on it here.

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Episode Transcript

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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky...

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.

About the Author Vicky Fraser