Eventually I developed a list of common problems. These are the weaknesses that I saw repeatedly. As I deal with them in this series, some will include items I've mentioned in previous blogs, because I still see the same weaknesses.
Avoid purple prose writing. This is a long-used term that refers to extravagant overwriting. It usually refers to descriptions that call attention to themselves. I see this in the writings of insecure writers who are afraid to use simple state-of-being verbs like is, are, and were. So they try to paint pictures with excessive expressions.
The writers want to sound powerful and dramatic, but the sentences become melodramatic and over-the-top prose. Here are a few examples from my students:
• He struggled to tame the pounding wave of thoughts that threatened to blur his focus.
• His throat tightened as fear swept over his brother's face like the shadow they chased across the field behind their house when an airplane flew over.
• The light of day kept my loneliness in the shadows of my mind, but as soon as the lights were out, my thoughts went to that despair.
•The air kept the stillness captive as men held their breath in anticipation.
• Rapidly firing her digital camera, she captured the dress rehearsal fever staining the cheeks of several antsy actors.
• Lib placed a hand over the traitorous butterflies coasting in her belly.
• Rand stood, mouth agape. He snapped his mouth shut. Jaw and neck muscles bulged as he stormed out.
The best writing is the most easily understood.
The meaning is obvious and the words are simple.