Friday, January 29, 2010

Prepositional Phrases Proliferating - No! No!

finished chapter 48; 85,597 word count

Writing Tip: When I present myself with a string of prepositional phrases, I know it is time to reword.

She tasted the breeze as well as luxuriated in the brush of warm wisps of breath on her skin.

Four prepositional phrases in a row are too many. Three is pushing the limit. This is the way I rewrote the sentence:

She tasted the breeze as well as luxuriated in the brush of warm breath-like wisps on her skin.

All on its own, it looks a little like purple prose, but since it is in Hollee's POV and she is rather flamboyant, it works.

Purple prose = overdone style, usually in descriptions.


  1. Oh, yes, this is one of the thing I struggle with, too (the prepositional phrases, not overdone writing, that is). My critique group has nailed me on it a few times :). It makes the sentence not only weak, but also clunky to read out loud.

    BTW, it cracked me up to see all the "p's" in your post--prepositional phrases proliferating and purple prose. Alliteration abounds :).

  2. I have this one sentence in my prologue that did that but I couldn't figure a way out to rephrase it, so I continued on in the book, but I never forget that one prepositional phrase series thingy.