Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Use Color in Your Writing

We've talked a number of times about the importance of using sensory details in our writing. Color isn't a sense like touch, smell or taste, but it's still a detail that can add some great visual images to your stories.

Our lives are filled with color, so why not incorporate that into your writing, as well. When I first began going to movie theaters, the films were mostly black and white. Only the musicals were done in full, blazing color. And what a glorious thing it was, too

Look at the following two passages that might come from a piece of fiction:

1.  Paul pinned the flowers onto her lapel. She grasped his hand and squeezed it gently. Paul's heart beat faster, and .....

3.  Paul pinned the violets onto her lapel. The deep purple of the flowers were a perfect match for her eyes. She grasped his hand and squeezed it gently. Paul's heart beat faster, and .....

The second example gives us a little more in our visual image than the first one does. It also tells us something we may not have known about the woman--the color of her eyes. (Wasn't Elizabeth Taylor known for her violet eyes, among other things!)

You can paint a spectacular word picture with color when describing things like a sunset, a mountain, a lake.

Saying that Johnny picked up a ball. is OK, but saying Johnny picked up the blue and yellow striped us an even better mental picture of what the boy is doing.  You don't have to describe everything with colors but adding it here and there will perk up your writing, let the reader see more.

When you proofread your work, check for those important sensory details, but also look to see if you have color mentioned in any way. Find the spots where it might add something for the reader.

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