I gave part of a short story to my English professor to read. Here is a small excerpt of what I wrote:
I was once, in what seems now like another life, an enchantress to carnal desire. Like a peach-lipped, blonde-headed siren, I charmed the most handsome of men in this princedom by the sea. Now, I watched young men standing before me. Their feet jovially sloshed through clumps of moist sand as they reveled in their uncorrupted, unstained youth. Their physiques out of lukewarm waters were salty to the tongue, and dazzling crystals of earth swathed their bare chests after they delighted themselves in a brief maritime plunge. These radiant bodies were bathing in the lustrous glimmers of dawning starlight; their naive smiles beamed and roused an excitement within me replicated only by the most nourishing of memories.
Basically she said that this was overwritten/overtly flowery. Her exact comment was:
"Indeed, the reader gets quite worried at the start that there will be no relief from this ponderous, overwritten style. If I had run across this story in a literary magazine, I certainly would have stopped reading after the first few sentences, because the overwriting is just too painful to endure. I would have thought, “Oh my God, this is terrible,” and put it aside."
I don't understand? Why can Nabokov in "Lolita" pull off his verbose style? Why can Faulkner in "Absalom, Absalom!" write 1000 word sentences and still win a Nobel Prize? Is this a matter of personal taste or am I truly missing something?