The 2022 Post-Apocalyptic Purple Prose Contest — The Capricious Narrator

[Note from Matt: Remember this contest from a few years ago, when I won (well, I was the only entrant, but I did win)? It’s on again! And there are prizes! I highly recommend clicking that link and heading over to Gerhard’s website, perusing the entries, and even better, submitting one! What follows is the text from Gerhard’s post.]

I thought we could have some fun with the release of The Atomic Ballerina by celebrating purple prose, post-apocalyptic style. (This is the second time I’ve done one of these. Author Matt Fraser won when I did this a few years back.) What’s purple prose? Elevated language where none is needed. Overly flowery descriptions of […]

The 2022 Post-Apocalyptic Purple Prose Contest — The Capricious Narrator

Purple Prose and the Capricious Narrator

A little over a week ago, an author I follow launched a small contest on his blog, the Post-Apocalyptic Purple Prose Contest (1st annual). You know what purple prose is, right? To quote Gerhard Gehrke, the Capricious Narrator himself:

Elevated language where none is needed. Overly flowery descriptions of the mundane that distract. Haughty verbiage where spare description would suffice. Maximum verbosity. I’d like to honor language on stilts that draws excessive attention to itself as it pertains to the decline and fall of civilization.

In other words, a little fun at literary expense. Naturally, I couldn’t resist, so I whipped up a brief entry and posted it, thinking it would be fun to see what others come up with.

And… I won! To be fair, there was only one other entry, so I’m not sure this classifies as a grand prize of literature — well, especially not, given the nature of the writing involved — but still, I am now the proud possessor of a copy of Gerhard’s newest book, Nineveh’s Child, autographed by the author, and a t-shirt featuring the book cover. See above for a shot of yours truly in said t-shirt, trying to look all post-apocalyptic and such. Ok, I was having some fun with filters.

Oh, and the winning entry? Here it is, in full, for your enjoyment (try not to laugh too hard, now, will you?):

Diana glared, a gleam in her stymied eye, across the purpling sage-filled prairie, golden grains turning red as blood in the decaying light of a dying sun. She wearily lifted a slender, weather-beaten hand to her beetling brow, shielding her fractious gaze from that awful hue, searching determinedly for the slightest sign, the merest indicator, that the egregious enemy so heinously hid in any practical proximity to her present position. Well she comprehended the dire, desperate danger of being capriciously caught in the noxious night, food for the fearful fiends she distinctly despised.

Lots of purple there.

Thanks again to Gerhard for a fun contest! I’m looking forward to settling down for a good read with Nineveh’s Child.