Just when you thought you'd forgotten that horrid sentence exercise from last week, we're going to revisit it.
She looked at the lush purple heather glowing faintly crimson under the striped pink-and-orange sunset and the puffy tinted clouds.
You did a wonderful job reworking this mess in the comment thread, and now I thought it might be useful to diagnose the actual problems we were trying to eliminate.
Weak Main Clause
The main clause, "she looked," is on the slow train to snoozeville. And yes, that is the technical name for it. (It is in Theresa Land, anyway, where I can so name things! lol) Looking is not an interesting activity, and it's wildly overused in most beginner works. She looks at clouds and flowers, and we look at her looking at them, and then everyone takes a nice nap. Unless there is some significance there -- for example, she has been color blind since birth, but the genius doctor hero cured her with his magic probe and the power of lurve -- skip the looking and find something more interesting for the characters to do.
Insane Prepositional Phrase
Everything following, "she looked," is a prepositional phrase or builds off the phrase. It's long, but it's linear, so its insanity is not derived from crazy structural problems. No, the content is the problem. It doesn't make sense. Heather doesn't glow, faintly or otherwise, and even if it did, I doubt whether it could glow in different colors. And are the clouds both puffy and tinted, or is the author implying something about puffy being a tint? A little punctuation would clear that up. Also, heather may be lovely, but it's probably not best described as lush. A bit scrubby, almost wild, but lush? Eh. Nah.
Give That Clown a Rolaids
Color is a great detail for waking up a scene. Color choices can be symbolic or thematic, and they can reveal much about character, setting, and tone. But this much color all at once reads like rainbow clown barf. Use color judiciously to signal deeper meanings and imbue the text with some vividness. No real hard and fast rules of thumb, of course, but it's something like scent -- one every five or ten pages or so might be enough. A cautious and controlled writer can get away with more or less.
The Cure Is Worse Than the Illness
We see this all the time: an author tries to pump up a weak idea by slathering on all sorts of extra crap. Because she looked is boring, the author tries to wake us up with all that purple (and pink and yellow) prose in the back end of the sentence. So the sentence is unbalanced both in terms of structure and content.
What does "she" think of this view? Does she think it's clown barf, or is she a little girl with a little girl's taste for sparkle and pastels? We don't know. Looking is so passive an activity that it implies nothing whatsoever about how the character is interacting with the environment. This, by the way, is the main reason that much description fails. It's not enough to tell us what the world looks like. We have to see the characters interacting with that world, too.
I feel as though I'm forgetting something. Am I?