I've mentioned this before, but let me draw greater attention to Purple Prose.
A term of literary criticism, purple prose is used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself.
I'll raise my hand and claim guilt for this. I can't help it...occasionally I put on my Bradbury cap and wax poetic. Then, the sound of the tale, its texture, sweeps me along.
Here's an example of me at my worst:
Levon gently closed the door to his room and stared at the moonlight spilling through his window. He bathed in it, feeling the radiance stream over his skin, rushing along the hairs on the back of his hand. Intuitively he turned his hands palm up and gathered moonlight until it filled his palms and ran through his fingers. Then, he brought it to his face and let it run over his skin.
Another author narrowed the definition for purple prose, stating that it tended to be cliched, stilted. That is ran on past the point functionality. Another author stated that it "had too many adjectives". Hmmm. Not quite sure about that one. Someone else argued that if a reader becomes aware of the writing, if the writing distracts from the flow of the narrative, then it's purple prose.
As a teacher, I can say that teens are great at purple prose. They lack the experience to edit themselves, to keep from filtering their emotional content. "It rained hard, storm clouds hurling water at the earth as lightning crashed and thunder roared through the black velvet night. The wind blew with fury and the rain pelted in sheets the slick streets."
One thing, people hate hearing the word applied to their own writing. Their eyes widen, their brows slide together, their jaws clench and they begin defending their work by insisting that they are deliberately following Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Hey.
I think we need to look at cliched writing next, don't you?