Diamond Jubilee at Romance at Random

"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Albert Einstein

Friday, April 22, 2011

Colorful Writing

Have you been feeling Blue? Yellow-bellied? Red-faced? Green with envy?

While these examples are cliche, using color to describe characters and the world around them is almost mandatory for a writer. But finding new and innovative ways to use color in writing is a challenge.

One of the most interesting things about color I've learned was through my studies in the theater. There are three primary colors of light -- red, green, blue -- that create every other color in the light spectrum.

Similarly pigment also has three primary colors -- red, yellow, blue -- which create every color in the spectrum.

The major difference between pigment and light is this: In light, all the colors combined create white but in pigment all the colors combine to create black. In light, black is the absence of any color where in pigment white is the absence of any color.

Throughout history, world cultures have linked colors to various emotions and life events. This symbolism can help us paint our pages with imagery. For example, when we’re considering what characters might wear, the colors they prefer might be symbolic of their station in life or the condition of their psyche.

Check out the chart on color symbolism below. Many things in the list won’t come as a surprise, but maybe a few will.

Color Symbolism Chart
Excitement, energy, passion, desire, speed, strength, power, heat, love, aggression, danger, fire, blood, war, violence, aggression, all things intense and passionate.
Joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope, sunshine, summer, gold, philosophy, dishonesty, cowardice, betrayal, jealousy, covetousness, deceit, illness, hazard.
Peace, tranquility, calm, stability, harmony, unity, trust, truth, confidence, conservatism, security, cleanliness, order, loyalty, sky, water, cold, technology, depression, appetite suppressant.
Energy, balance, warmth, enthusiasm, vibrant, expansive, flamboyant, demanding of attention.
Nature, environment, healthy, good luck, renewal, youth, vigor, spring, generosity, fertility, jealousy, inexperience, envy, misfortune.
Royalty, spirituality, nobility, spirituality, ceremony, mysterious, transformation, wisdom, enlightenment, cruelty, arrogance, mourning.
Security, reliability, intelligence, staid, modesty, dignity, maturity, solid, conservative, practical, old age, sadness, boring
Earth, hearth, home, outdoors, reliability, comfort, endurance, stability, simplicity, and comfort.
Reverence, purity, simplicity, cleanliness, peace, humility, precision, innocence, youth, birth, winter, snow, good, sterility, marriage (Western cultures), death (Eastern cultures), cold, clinical, sterile.

Power, sexuality, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, fear, evil, anonymity, unhappiness, depth, style, evil, sadness, remorse, anger, underground, good technical color, mourning, death (Western cultures).

Which ones surprised you?

Here's a great website with interesting and helpful information. Everything you ever wanted to know about color and more is here.

Tell me -- How do you use color in your writing?