One of my recent writing workshops focused on how to generate ideas from around you. In the case of the workshop in question, it was about taking a look around your home for ideas. But you can also apply this to the outside world, be it nature, work, school or the shops…
Bombast and Beauty
As writers, we’re often told that flowery, ornate language is a thing of the past. But it seems that in the case of beauty products, the more exaggerated and elaborate the better.
Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the slogans and descriptions which can be found at the beauty counter:
One Eau de Toilette spray can boast of the following description, ‘Seductively spicy coriander and addictive fig surrounded by smouldering leather patchouli’. On its own, you’ve probably never thought of coriander as seductive. Neither is fig known as being particularly addictive. Chocolate, maybe. But for that matter, does the patchouli plant actually smoulder? Nonetheless you have to admit, that in using this sensuous description, it does rather conjure up the image of Colin Firth in ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which can’t be a bad thing.
Some fragrances have ‘feelings’ attached to them. For example, ‘Exhilarating, sexy, alive’. Is that in contrast to dead? And does that apply to the fragrance or you?
Another ‘feeling’ associated with a fragrance is, ‘Radiant, rare, intriguing’. But surely if it’s available in hundreds of stores nationwide, it can’t be that rare. Though, from the price tag, perhaps you could be forgiven for thinking so. What’s more, do you really want its delectable scent to make you feel rare, too, like a one-eyed, one-toed, triple horned sloth or some such creature? The word ‘intrigue’ is also an interesting one. Can a perfume truly transform you from an unexciting, green cardigan and beige trouser wearing bore into a person who’s mysterious and fascinating?
As well as ‘feelings’, some products actually seem to have a mind of their own. On using one mascara, apparently, ‘Lashes seem to multiply, magnify, grow to extremes’. So if you see anyone with two-foot long lashes, you know what they’ve been using. Though the attempt at alliteration is good.
Another exercise in alliteration can be found with, ‘Constant comfort for body’. This could be taken to mean that your body is so awful it needs comforting continually.
Still on the subject of alliteration comes, ‘Dramatically different moisturising gel’. Now, surely you’re expecting something surprising here – perhaps a gel that does a little song and dance? And what about a product that’s, ‘So much more than a body lotion’? At the very least you’d want it to double up as a washing up liquid.
This light read finishes full circle and takes you back to a product for the male counterpart and a, ‘Creamy bath and shower gel for real men’. Presumably this is in opposition to creamy bath and shower gel for fake men.
You can probably think up numerous ones of your own far more distinctive and extraordinary than these. So if you’re writing a passage which calls for a little bit of creativity and purple prose, pick up your perfume and be inspired.