X-23, an escaped Tykebomb with few social skills, talks like this. For most of her childhood, she was trained to be a mindless slave who never spoke back or questioned orders, and her main occupation was one in which communication wasn't important. Her Beige Prose dialogue is likely the reason we never hear any narration from her perspective. (Before certain Character Development occurred, she didn't speak at all, implying that her ability to express emotions and concepts is gradually evolving.)
ACG's Herbie spoke like this. (ex. "Don't need doctor. Very healthy" (Herbie #10, Jun. 1965) )
An entire subgenre called "script format", by people who have no idea what a script is like.
Ahh he yelled as he slashed him his blood hit the floor
Mark Moore a.k.a. Tuxedo Mark writes some of the most boring fanfics imaginable. Here's an example that's sometimes nicknamed "Linda! Laundry!"
She got a plastic box off of the shelf in the closet and opened it. She put the comforter into the box and closed the box. She put the box back on the shelf in the closet. Linda put fresh sheets on the bed. She put the old sheets in the laundry basket.
Reads like fiction written by a computer, once offered in The Book of Lists II.
“You foal! Why did you capture Liara? She’s just a background pony so Twillight will not care if I kill her.” screamed Celesia and started to kill the guard. “No we captured the other lesbian called Rainbow Dash. The one who’s part of the harmony elements.” said the almost death guard. “Oh that are very good news so I’m not killing you.” said Celesia and stopped killing the guard. “Thanks my Queen.” said the guard and left the room and lived happily even after.
Isaac Asimov is well known for this. A tendency that he pokes fun at later in Gold, where a bunch of frustrated film writers desperately try to cobble together a screen adaptation of an Asimov story (The Gods Themselves), cursing Asimov's dialogue-laden, non-descriptive, and beige prose the entire way.
Ernest Hemingway is known for his simple writing style that lacks flowery language and keeps descriptions to a minimum. He called it "the theory of omission" or "The Iceberg Principle." While some authors criticized him for it, his style is widely considered to be very effective. Hemingway himself attributed his terse style to his training as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Because he had to communicate from Europe to North America by the expensive medium of cable, it was naturally expected that he should compose his reports to be as succinct as possible while including all the story's salient information.
Michael A. Stackpole. Greatideas. Plain description.
Aaron Allston, from the same series, is completely different. The shift is a bit shocking, moreso when it switches back.
Parts of The Bible, especially Leviticus. Major stories and incidents, including Sodom & Gomorrah and the Tower of Babel, are dispensed and dismissed in 3-4 verses. The creation of man is summed up in a page. One time in the Bible, someone saves all the Israelites, equaling what Moses did earlier. This is told in two paragraphs.
Cash's sections in As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. First section is a list of what to do to properly construct Addie's casket. Next two sections, the third being 1 1/2 sentences long, are about the casket's imbalance.
Victor Hugo sent a letter to his publisher about Les Misérables sales. The text: "?" The reply: "!"
According to Guinness Book of World Records, the shortest correspondence ever.
And it was a telegram, not a letter, which makes more sense since you had to pay by the word.
"Such brevity is all the more remarkable when one considers that Les Misérables contains one of the longest sentences in the French language — 823 words without a period." Felton and Fowler's Best, Worst, and Most Unusual, p. 26
George Orwell in general prefers to write in this fashion; his five writing rules include "never use a long word when a short one will do" "if it's possible to cut out a word then do so" and "don't write in jargon." Of course, when he does decide to expand himself, i.e Clover's internal monologue in Animal Farm, it's quite magnificent.
Charles Bukowski tells you only what you need to know. Very rarely uses multisyllabic words. The times when he breaks those rules are powerful.
Candide, by Voltaire. 1,000 page epic, shrunk into 75 pages. Very few details. Quickly advancing.
James Ellroy. Early works aren't too bad, but White Jazz and Blood's A Rover and after? Every. Sentence. Is. Like. This. Brevity is one thing, but what about bookisms? When told White Jazz overran its intended length, he took out everything that wasn't Beige Prose. Made it short enough but hard to read.
Shortest Science Fiction Story: "Time stopped. Yesterday" by David Gerrold. Shortest short story ever?
Everything by Cormac McCarthy. His books, Blood Meridian in particular, switch between this and purple prose.
"Knock" by Fredric Brown is an expansion of a 17-word horror story: "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door." An alternate version ends with: "There was a lock on the door."
Tao Te Ching, the text of taoism. One hundred pages in book form. Even shorter in the original Chinese. Spoken, modern speakers don't grasp it: the homophones.
Also notable for not simply for using Beige Prose, but also advocating its usage:
"True words aren't eloquent; eloquent words aren't true."
This leads to several instances where the text would really have flowed better if the sentences were joined together. Instead, almost every sentence starts with "and", and almost all of them are short.
This is, of course, done on purpose as the narrator, Christopher, is autistic and so writes his account in a very logical manner avoiding metaphors and such. (He considers that to be 'lying'.)
Ronald Syme wrote The Roman Revolution like this: a book on the Republic's fall and the Empire's rise.note Roman, not another Syme was writing like Tacitus.
In the words of my Roman History Professor: "Syme wrote in an abrupt, punchy style, writing sentences without verbs, or nouns, or sometimes even words."
Much of The Hunger Games series (the last two books in particular) are written with this. This is probably where the joke about the books being written entirely in sentence fragments comes from. It's used to demonstrate Katniss's emotional withdrawal, what with her living in Panem.
Humorist Will Stanton would often lapse into terse sentence fragments in his written works. Still very funny.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote in this style in a lot of his books, and it's very effective. In Slaughterhouse-Five we see a reason/parallel to it: He's imitating the writing style of his fictional aliens, the Trafalmadorians.
There was a long stretch around the mid-twentieth century where the prevailing literary orthodoxy decreed that everyone write like Hemingway (see above): Beige Prose and bleak realist stories about war, hunting, and other manly pursuits. Fashionable writing was constantly being described as "lean," "muscular," and other macho-sounding adjectives (because masculine is good and feminine is bad, right?) Thank the Narrative Gods this lockstep fad is over...and that many "genre" or "outsider" authors of the period from Tolkien to Mervyn Peake to the Beats cheerfully thumbed their noses at it.
Screen Wipe once did an hour special on writers. One of them was famed for writing realistic dialogue on Eastenders, his method was to write the sentence and then cut down any unnecessary words. So "See you later, we must do this again some time" would after a series of cuts simply become "Later".
Jon Lajoie's "I Kill People" rap is written this way to lay bare common rap subjects. Sample lyrics:
I buy a lot of expensive things, because I have a lot of money You can't afford expensive things 'cause you don't have a lot of money Ha ha, you want these things, but you cannot afford them That means that you're not cool 'cause you're just a poor person
The Minutemen's "Take 5, D":
Tub has to be properly caulked prior to any showering Walls are drenched Both roofer and plumber here Had to pay for two service calls
Lyrics taken straight from a landlady's note about a leaky bathtub. D. Boon thought Mike Watt's old lyrics for the song were "too spacey". He changed them to something mundane.
The title to track to The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. The lyrics are sparse, spoken instead of sung, and are mostly bare description. "Eraser," from the same album, could count as well - it only has a few lines, all two words long with just a verb and a noun (either "you" or "me").
Epigrams, the Greek ones however could be a lot longer and almost indistinguishable from elegies. Modern ones are only a couple of lines long. The most famous one was written by a Roman named Catullus.
A Dark Room combines this trope with the occasional jarringly uncommon or pretty word, to great effect.
Used in The Order of the Stick for sending spells, which have limited word count. This strip is an example (spoilers within beware)note Both the message and the reply are exactly on the limit - at 25 words. Words such as "we'll" and any ending with "apostrophe-s" count as one for the purpose of being a single verbal word.
The artificial language Toki Pona based on Taoist philosophy of the virtue of simple thought, life, and communication. It takes this to pretty extreme levels - for example, "pona", the word for "good", is intentionally designed to also mean "simple", and "ike" for "bad" or "evil" intentionally also means "complicated".
Guy Steele once gave a talk on computer language design, "Growing A Language", in which he restricted himself to using English words of one syllable, and allowed himself to use longer words only when he defined them first.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is known for speaking like this. Here's a sample interview:
ESPN sportscaster Doris Burke: Pop, what happened offensively in that period? Popovich: Turnovers. Burke: What about on the defensive end? They had their most productive quarter, what'd you see there? Popovich: Turnovers.
"The enemy came. He was beaten. I am tired. Goodnight." Vicomte Turenne, Message sent after the battle of Dunen, 1658
Some Latin American Spanish dialects (like Mexican Spanish) prefers to going straight to the point, compared with the European Spanish dialect, who prefers the opposite.