On numerous occasions and in several posts, I have sought to explain my status as a rookie among a field of genuine writers. I wandered in here one day… and I stayed. I read a great deal, but other than proposal writing, customer project reports, developing sales and marketing collateral and some internal user guides, I've never considered myself a writer. I haven’t had the training and I could probably drown in the grammatical rules that dictate the written English language.
Then there is the placement of commas. Those are the most damnable little things. I recall rationalizing a while back that the best guidance to use in the placement of a comma was to read the sentence aloud, and where I needed to inhale… that would determine where I placed the comma. This resulted in more than a few run-on sentences and some fairly incomprehensible writing.
I was thrilled to finally partner with Microsoft Word, who lovingly underlined misspelled words in red and underlined most grammatical faux pas in green. With such a partnership, I could actually convince myself that I knew what I was doing.
Then, I recently invited a friend here in the Open Salon to read some old posts of mine. What I received was not only positive reinforcement, but some sincerely appreciated constructive feedback. I learned that I allowed instances of “purple prose” in at least one piece that was reviewed, using unnecessarily elaborate or flowery words. I was also shown where I was guilty of “head hopping” in another story.
I was thrilled. This was a professional critique of my stuff by someone whose work I respect. The party in question liked my writing overall… but here was something concrete that I could work on. I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist about some things. I intend to improve my writing skills if I am going to keep doing this.
Now if I only understood what “head hopping” and “purple prose” really means!
So I looked it up. It was easy to find on the Internet, along with numerous examples of bad writing. I also found a great deal of material relative to Point of View. A lot of this I’d figured out on my own, but apparently I’d missed some things. Clearly this is Basic Writing 101 for most of you, but it’s a course I never took. I’ve been getting along with my undergraduate bachelor’s degree, Microsoft Word, and a fairly creative imagination.
Investigating Purple Prose was actually entertaining. The picture used at the top of this post was taken from a web site where people are having a great deal of fun with an expanded version of the concept.
Nevertheless, I can do better.
Right now I am not sure if I will repost revised versions of some of my earlier work, or simply focus on personal improvement from this point forward. In either case, it’s a start. I am grateful to my friend for pointing me in the right direction and more than appreciative of more constructive feedback on future work going forward.I'm excited. Now, if I can only figure out those damn commas.