Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tickle Me Pink

I really don’t like the color pink all that much. This week we are taking a ride on the color wheel. We’ll explore different aspects of the hues that we’re surrounded by every moment of the day.

Picture that spinning playground piece of equipment with the upside down L shaped handles that whips around uncontrollably, causing projectile vomiting to become not so infant-like anymore? And here we go…

First stop:

What does your favorite color say about you?

Blue. That’s mine. Would you guess melancholy, prone to sadness, marred by life? Besides being a little too reflective a little too often, that’s not the best description of me. I’d stick with passionate, fiercely loyal and unafraid to be ridiculous if it means I’m living free. I also am enamored by water and sky.

Cream and purple (plum to be exact) follow close behind as favorite number two and three.

Which brings me to this thought: Writers, do you use color imaginatively in your work? I’m eating up some of Bohjalian’s clever descriptions in The Double Bind.

Here are some quickies:

Sentence one of Chapter Two: “Katherine Maguire had luminescent green eyes, and unlike her chlorine-saturated hair they hadn’t faded the slightest bit with age.”

“He had…thin bay-colored hair.”

Another gentleman was described as having straw-colored hair.

“His hair was dyed the color of orange Kool-Aid…”

"Talia had exquisite, almond-shaded skin and a raven’s black mane…”

And one more: “But she had eyes the blue of delft china…” (this one was my favorite and I couldn’t stop thinking about it).

I’m hardly sixty pages in and these descriptions are making my brain happy. He didn’t overdo it, risking sappiness or provide so little detail it’s hard to imagine what the characters could possibly look like. So far Bohjalian has given me the perfect amount of intentional description. All day yesterday, I dreamed up ways of how I could describe my MC’s hair, other than blonde.

What does your favorite color say about you?
Writers, do you work on weaving specific colors into how you describe your characters? Eyes and hair can be tricky. Do you enjoy inventing new ways of elaborating on these features?

*photos by flickr
**Come visit me at
Exemplify today
***Tip of the day: Observe the names of the colors in a Crayola box of crayons to get your juices flowing


  1. Oooh, great post and great examples. I don't know about my favorite color. Usually I say it's a deep red, like scarlet, but I also really love other colors. Like the green of your blog and though I don't like bubble gum pink, I like a real pale pink. Interesting.

  2. Hi, Wendy! Great post!

    My favorite color is purple, but I do love blue. And what I love most of all is having purple next to something really bright, like orange. That makes me really happy!

    Although I'm not the biggest fan of pink, I am wearing it right now. I think it falls in with the "bright color" category.... I love it when things just pop!

    My completed manuscript has a specific color theme that I love. It just appears everywhere and is very significant in telling the story. I can't imagine the novel without this color and its influence.

  3. I wear black and red because I work in a man's world, and those of the colors of power. They, at least, help me to hold my own. (I like the muted versions of these colors: pink and grey.)

  4. Love your snippits...especially the blue delft china. Beautiful image.

    I'm a green girl. Green and brown and red and yellow -- earthy tones, I guess. What does that say about me? I haven't a clue. Maybe that I'm a lousy housekeeper since those colors hide dirt really well ;)

  5. My favorite color is purple. I'm not sure what that says about me. I need to use color in my writing more. I don't do it near enough.

  6. My favorite color is red, and hues of red such as coral. A close second are hues of violet, since they combine with the reds for glorious sunrises and sunsets.

    God was specific about colors used to design the tabernacle, so they're evidently of significance to Him. I use them to write biblical fiction, to describe both my characters and the scenes. I tend to go easy on metaphors, because I can find them distracting when I'm already describing so much historical detail.

  7. I love Lavender but I don't wear it or decorate with it. I like that its soothing. I use this color in my garden a lot.

  8. Oooh, that's a good tip at the bottom there. My favorite color fluctuates between green and red depending on the day :) I definitely need to work on colors in my work. I read through a few pages of a manuscript I am going to submit and I was very boring with the color blue. I think I'm going to use your tip to spice it up. Thanks!

  9. My favorite is green. Always has been. I think it means soothing and calming which I try to be in this crazy world! :O)

  10. My favorite color is blue. Has been as far back as I can remember.

    I have a friend who thrives on color. She's helped me see how I can use it in my writing. She also encouraged me to change my wardrobe to wear colors more suited to me. She was right. I feel lots better now that I'm wearing colors that flatter me.

  11. Surprise, suprise...mine's blue too. :) I actually just wrote a scene a few days ago with a lot of color references, so this is very timely for me. I love the Crayola suggestion, and since we just went school shopping I have plenty of crayons around.

  12. Oh no, I'm doomed. My favorite color keeps changing. I'm afraid to ask what that means. However, I do tend toward blues and some greens, and sometimes yellows and I like jewel tone colors...and.....

    But I love books where my mind's eye can picture the person or scene. Great topic, Wendy.

  13. Like many things in life, I like variety. My DD's frequently ask me what my favorite color is and I always answer, "Depends." I don't have a favorite season or a favorite food either. Perhaps I'm the sterling example of "to everything there is a season." :) But as I'm developing my characters for my next novel, I'm definitely thinking about colors and trying to find unique descriptions!

  14. mine is red, i think. although yellow is a favorite. i always manage to work both of them in a manuscript. my recent WIP has a little girl dressed all in yellow and i make reference to her looking like a daffodil...in red shoes! I forgot about that! i was serious when i say that those colors make it in.

    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  15. I love red, and especially of the deeper variety like burgundy rather than fire engine red.

    I don't use much color in my manuscripts; being a music person, I'm more apt to rely on sounds and dialogue (spoken music :). Additionally, I find writing colors and visual descriptions incredibly tricky. They can be SO easily overdone.

    Great post!

  16. I LOVE using specific colors. I have this sheet that lists the regular colors, like green and blue and red and next to each, a bunch of specific, different shades of that color!

    My favorite colors: rose and kelly green.

    Not sure what this says about me. Green seems to be easy on the eyes, and I'm a pretty laid back, go-with-the-flow type of person...usually. :)

  17. Jessica, as I read your comment to myself, I loved the way scarlet rolled off my tongue.

    Kristen, contrasting colors can be powerful. I remember how well the little girl in red was handled in Schindler's List.

    Elizabeth, I enjoy grey also, but for some crazy reason confuse it with gray in my writing.

    Tess, right there with you w/ throwing housekeeping to the wind in order to write. I delight in earthy tones as well. They calm me and I'm a go, go, go type person. Calm is good. :D

    Lazy Writer, there was a book, movie and play written all about that color. :D Lots to say, apparently.

    Anne, I used to want to name my daughter coral when I was a young girl. We have a dog named Korah (close). I'm with you. Implementation is key. Not worth it to distract.

    T.Anne, it certainly smells good, too. I had a periwinkle room growing up.

    Cindy, no problem. We play the question game a lot at the dinner table and this one floats around our table more than any other. We are so okay with fluctuation around here, but not flatulence at the dinner table. (sorry, I had to)

    Diane, my MC's favorite color is green, likely for the same reasons.

    Keli, it excites me to think of seeing all the colors we missed here on earth when we get to heaven.

    Beth, okay, where's your camera in my house. At what point does this get creepy? :D :D

    Karen, I'm a fan of vivid writing also. I think it means you are open-minded. Why not, right? I made mine up, you're allowed to make yours up too.

    Jody, isn't it fun? And I so need to smarten up, but what the heck are DD's?

    Jeannie, I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll be back. Something about the colors you described reminded me of Padington Bear. Did they have him here? We did in London.

    Gwen, ohh...burgundy, nice. Just the sound of it! I agree, it's tricky and can be overdone. Since I'm a smeller I tend to risk overdoing it on smells more than colors. I'm telling you this book I'm reading describes things vividly and does it right. It's cool.

    Katie, you are good. A sheet! Rose, that's seems fitting for you. I think you're trying to tell us all that you are easy on the eyes. :D

    Once again you made this fun. Check back tomorrow for a contest! What? A contest. I can't hear you, your music is up too loud! I'm holding A CONTEST ON THIS BLOG TOMORROW. No need to shout, sheesh!

    Okay, enough writing to myself. Sleep well and rest knowing you have a God that loves you more than any person ever could.

    ~ Wendy

  18. I love blue, too. Most of my tops are blue. Guess I'm a melancholy gal. I liked the chlorine-saturated hair. And I want that blue scarf.

  19. My favorite color is green, and the last time I checked, it indicated that I love nature--which is true. I do try to weave color into my descriptions, though I did have one crit partner tell me a color I used seemed odd for eyes, which was the point of picking it. :]


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