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Topic: Flowery writers

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Subject: Flowery writers
Date Posted: 1/3/2009 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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So am I the only one who could do without flowery pretty descriptions? You know what Im talking about everything is compared to something and its all big analogies and symbolism and it seems as if the writer forgets what the story is about sometimes and just describes everything to death. Sometimes they even take up whole pages to describe one thing.

I have to say Dashiell Hammet was my favorite author of last year. He had this style about him where he left the reader to make their own picture and didnt describe things to death. I really loved that. It was my favorite thing about The Maltese Falcon.


Date Posted: 1/3/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
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I guess I have to be in the mood for flowery prose. I tend to read a lot of mysteries and thrillers and they don't get too flowery. Usually. However, I also love contemporary and literary fiction primarily because I love the craft of the wordsmithing. Does that make sense? Evocative description is a skill I wish I had and some do it a lot better than others.
Date Posted: 1/3/2009 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
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I love wordsmithing, but I can do without the uber-intellectual metaphor-laden prose. Cormack McCarthy anyone?

Date Posted: 1/3/2009 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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Yup thats what I'm talking about Lisa. The book I just read was so not satisfying because the author was constantly describing things to death. It made the book unenjoyable because all her describing took away from the story. Another one that ticked me off and is to date one of the few books I have started and not finished was Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice. I dunno what happened in that book but I think it may be when she started losing her damned mind. I swear she took up two pages describing a tree.

T. -
Date Posted: 1/4/2009 3:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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I'm with you, Chris.  I want a book full of meat and bone--forget the fat.  The last book I read that was full of fat was Middlesex.  If I had to read it again, I wouldn't. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Not just flowery but lots of fillers. I read the book by Linda Greenlaw entitled "Slipknot" and even though I was a sailor, I feel like she had to insert so much info about "details" of fishing and boating that it turned me off ,so much so, that I haven't read another one of her books! And I do call this "filler"!

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 6:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
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Ian McEwan.  'Nuff said.

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
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Then you don't want to read Joyce Carol Oates. I hear what you're saying but flowery isn't the word I'd use. Verbose maybe?

I think this style can work when the construction and symbolism leads somewhere. Both Faulkner and Morrison use complex construction and are particularly heavy with symbolism. Both require concentration and real interest in the material. I like them both, but neither are favorite or regular reads.

What I don't like is when a writer fails to make the descriptions worthwhile, when they fail to enhance the read. Then, it isn't simply that they are overly describing a thing but they fail to use language in an effective way.

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Well no by flowery I mean unnecessarily pretty. The author has no real use for the extreme detail its just there to show off how pretty they can write. It adds nothing to the story and makes it a chore to read.

Writers who do it well dont bother me. In fact I enjoy it if its done well. But being pretty for no reason bugs me to no end.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 1/4/2009 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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I generally do not like flowery writing at all.  When I was in college I remember the professors going on about the poetic imagery, but sometimes I just wanted to beat my head against the wall.  Middlemarch by George Eliot is one that comes to mind.

Charles Dickens would probably be considered a flowery writer, but he's actually a bit easier for me to swallow.  Perhaps because he doesn't shy away from grittiness with his poetry.

Date Posted: 1/4/2009 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Not a fan of purple prose, but I love classic books like Dickens etc that are sometimes considered over-written.  What I really can't stand are romance writers that go on and on about how pretty someone is >cough< Stephanie Meyer >cough<