Dark Characters & Purple Prose
Updated: Feb 13, 2021
**Contains a snippet from Thorn Apple.
One of my favorite things to write for my books are the dark characters. Often, the adversary is the one who truly defines who the protagonist is and what their purpose is in the book. In truth, I find they are more fun to write for because, let's face it, they are usually the polar opposite of anyone you would want to encounter. And, if they are a fantasy character, you can get pretty wild in your description. Speaking of descriptions, I've been accused of writing "purple prose", which is fine with me. I'm actually a big fan of it and wish I saw more of it in today's book market. Most editors won't touch you if this is your style, which probably explains why I'm an Indie writer. Below is a perfect example of it, and I'm quite proud of it, honestly. Maeve was one of my favorite characters to write for outside of Devligant in Underwood. In this passage, Lilly has entered Maeve's fairy mound to seek out her advice. Let's just say that as the chapter unfolds, she gets more than she bargains for.
In the middle of the room was a long wooden table and in its center was a large black bowl carved from stone. It was smooth, and the surface glittered with silvery swirls similar to the sacred mirror. On either side of the table were two chairs. On the back of one of the chairs rested my mother's coat. I slipped it on and moved closer to the table to inspect the bowl. I could only imagine its contents but was surprised to see it only contained water. The liquid mirrored my face but then began to swirl, and emerging from its depths was a face full of darkness. I knew in an instant that it was Maeve. She arose from the liquid pool like smoke from a dying ember and drifted toward the chair opposite myself. I moved back cautiously to sit while the full form of her emerged into the physical.
"Welcome to my home," she said in a voice as thick and smooth as honey. "I am Maeve, and you are Lilly, former mortal and now Queen of the Fae." Her tone was bitter and condescending, but I remained impervious, simply nodding once in answer.
In truth, all manner of speech seemed to escape me as I took in her presence. Maeve was physically tall and foreboding. Her skin was snowy white, while her hair was the color of smoke and ash and matted with bits of leaves, twig, and vine. Her eyes were coal-black, so dark that I couldn’t see an iris. Fairy eyes tended to change to black from fear, anger, or ecstasy. If Maeve's eyes indicated her mental or emotional state, a wild encounter was imminent. I looked down at her hands. Adorning each of her long thin fingers was a gleaming stone ring and nails that reminded me of the Hawthorne tree's thorny branches. Her dress cascaded in long flowing tiers of black fabric and beads, and the sound of tiny bells eerily chimed with her every moment. Like a seductive spider weaving an elegant web, she embodied a wicked beauty that seemed to possess all the darkness of an evil nightmare one was willing to experience just to share her space. I couldn’t imagine what my mother had sought from this woman or what she could offer to me. Perhaps it was my mother's warnings, maybe it was the aura around her, but I nonetheless sat in silent awe.
Thorn Apple (book 2 in the Underwood series) is now available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SKPDWYD/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i1