The Power of Color in Writing

By | March 14, 2017

Color is one of the greatest set of adjectives to use in writing. Why? Most people that read can see color. It is a part of their world. It amplifies imagery and allows a scene or story to transcend its physical, literature status and become almost reality to the reader.

Most people use color in their writing. It helps greatly. But not everyone may understand or think of the different ways to use color. People might be stuck choosing the same adjective over and over again. This can dull a piece of writing. Not even thesauruses can tell someone what to choose for their imagery.

The simplest way is to put a color to an item. A red apple, a black cat, a blue fish, etc. These all create a more specific and detailed vision to the reader. But they are very common and simple adjectives. There is more than just red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, white and black. There is a whole spectrum of thousands of colors. Having a wider vocabulary when you want to be specific can not only help the reader’s vision and the story’s imagery, but it also increases the chances that the reader won’t get bored as quickly.

Here is just a small look at possible choices in color:

Red, burgundy, carmine, cerise, cherry, crimson, fuchsia, maroon, magenta, ruby, sanguine, scarlet, vermilion…

Orange, auburn, carroty, chestnut, coral, ginger, peach, tangerine…

Yellow, amber, bisque, blond, flaxen, golden, ivory, lemon, ochre, saffron, tawny…

Green, chartreuse, emerald, forest, jade, lime, mint, moss, olive, pine, sage, verdant, verdigris, viridian, willow…

Blue, azure, beryl, cerulean, cobalt, indigo, navy, royal, sapphire, teal, turquoise, ultramarine…

Purple, amethyst, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, mauve, mulberry, orchid, plum, violet, wine…

White, alabaster, ashen, pearly, gray, silver, smoky, stone, black, charcoal, ebony, obsidian, onyx, sable…

There is more than just picking a color though. There is comparison. You can use another well known object and its color to help strengthen the imagery. For example:

The leaves were red and oranges. vs. The leaves were colors of flickering fire.

The shirt was pink. vs. The shirt was pink like fresh rose petals..

The wine was purple. vs. The wine swirled with colors of amethysts and plums.

Both ways can be very effective. It’s all about emphasizing certain things with important detail. You don’t need to tell the reader what color everything is. But being able to effective paint a picture of words with color makes the reading clearer and more enjoyable.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Try new things when describing detail. During editing or reviews from others you can decide if it is not enough or too much, or hopefully just right. Things may sound overdone at first or awkward, but they can be fixed easily. The important thing is to have fun. The piece will speak for itself once you really get into it. Just go with the flow and enjoy creating interesting and unique imagery with colors.

Source by Jake Rose

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