A few years ago I wrote a post for Dead Guy about authors who use adjective after adjective because they think it beefs up their work. You can find it here: The Modifier Zone
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The past few months I’ve seen a recurrence of this trend, but I’ve noticed an element I hadn’t seen before: Authors have been front-loading their modifiers, putting all the ten-dollar adjectives in the first few pages—usually first five, sometimes simply in the Prologue. Might be because they assume (correctly) that if we aren’t impressed we’ll just stop reading. And this is true. The mistake is that so often this over-writing is covering up what might otherwise be very competent. I can’t tell you how many times—particularly when the author seems qualified but then I need to wade through three pages of ochre sand and jouncy, bouncy curls the color of honeysuckles but without the staman, etc etc...only to go to Chapter 1 and see “When Smith left his house, he didn’t expect to see a dead body.”
When I see that, I understand, and I want to scream “THAT’S how you write! OWN IT! Don’t think you need pyrotechnics on page 1! What you need is a real voice, a sense that you are in control, the start of a plot. You don’t need to modify rain or footsteps (other than, at times, “quiet” or “loud”) or EVER use the word “Turgid,” really. And do write with a consistency of voice and pace.