At Dictionary.com Purple Prose is defined as:purple prosenoun writing that calls attention to itself because of its obvious use of certain effects, as exaggerated sentiment or pathos, especially in an attempt to enlist or manipulate the reader's sympathies.
My reaction to that dictionary entry is: Aww shut up.
Particularly in romance writing are purple prose effective but the writer has to know how to use it sparingly but effectively. I once wrote this line:
She loved him with every beat of her heart. (As purple as purple gets)
If I started a story that way I’d be shot at by frequent readers or they’d hurl stones. Either way it would not be pleasant. But if I stuck that line in after the black moment and when it looked like all was lost for the hero and heroine I’d get a pass because at that point the reader would know that the heroine wasn’t exaggerating but that she indeed felt that way.
Yes, the writer is playing with the reader’s emotions and sympathies but that is the whole point. Writers want to take you on a journey with the characters and sometimes the correct use of purple prose only adds to the experience.
Song writers do it all the time but most people miss it in the catchy music. For instance:
“When you kissed me heaven sighed.” A line from Edith Pilaf’s La Vie en Rose.
“The scars of your love remind you of us.” Adele’s Rolling in the Deep
I could go on…So what do you all think of the use of purple prose?