Thursday, September 15, 2011

In Color

While I'm in the midst of massive home renovations, little ideas pop in my head as I work. I need a voice recorder I can clip onto my shirt so it doesn't slow down my painting progress. Never underestimate the power of physical labor. It's good for what ails you. Theraputic, if you will.

Yesterday, as I began the arduous process of painting our textured bedroom walls a lovely sea spray blue, I marveled on colors; how they evoke certain feelings and emotions. For instance, the color blue, as you know, gives a cool, relaxing feeling and ambiance. Our last bedroom was two shades of blue. We loved it so much, we picked two new shades of blue for our bedroom in the new house.

And for my office (yes, MY office! I get one of my very own in the new house! SQUEE!) I'm still deciding the color scheme. I'm considering some autumnal colors of yellows, burnt oranges, pumpernickel reds, etc. I want to create that warm, cozy sensation while I'm in MY office. ;)

My point, is that we use colors to represent feelings. Especially in clothes. We wear black to formal occasions because it's classy and muted. For spring outings, pastel colors feel light and airy. If we're feeling frisky and maybe want to stop some traffic, a slinky red dress. 

So my question to you is, are you using colors in your stories? I thought long and hard on this. Have I? I'm certainly going to start if I haven't already subconsciously done so. What I mean is, maybe the jaded boyfriend wears a dark green shirt to evoke a sense of jealousy.Or the kitchen of the new haunted mansion your MC moved into has a soft yellow wallpaper to arouse a feeling of safety in that area. There are thousands of ways we can use color to accent and enhance our stories. And I don't mean stating the reason in the story, but in a subtle way, so the reader doesn't even think of it and subconsciously has a feeling of bliss or dread or hatred. 

On a side note, I was thinking of starting a book swap. Not sure how it would work exactly yet, but the idea would be to list books you've read and would be willing to swap for another. Maybe post the name of a book somewhere on your blog that is up for swaps and when you see one you'd like, make a deal. What do you think?

Do you use color in your stories, or in everyday life? Please share...

30 comments:

LTM said...

Yep! In my last MS, color was a big part of the process. But it was something new at the same time.

I LOVE the image of this blue room you're describing. Pix, please! And have fun painting~ :o) <3

Sophia Richardson said...

Yellow wallpaper reminds me of the short story about the woman driven mad by yellow wallpaper, so between that and the haunted house I might have to argue against feeling safe there! I do like the idea of using colour symbology though.

I'm not sure how much I'd benefit from a book swap since I'm in the UK, but if I was in the US you can bet I'd be up for it! I hope you get it up and running.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi PK .. I don't need to be renovating to actually just get off my butt and get my recorder working - as it will be invaluable.

Colours - you're right they bring an added dimension to descriptions .. I think I probably do .. and definitely on some posts have made a point of doing so ..

Book swap - Talli did one a while ago .. I never heard from one of the people who won my book/s .. a bit off putting frankly - even if you don't like it - give it a go!

Cheers -good luck with all the renovation .. Hilary

McKenzie McCann said...

Hmm, well, I definitely dye my hair all the time. It's red right now, before that it was a dark purple-red-brown, before that it was purple, before that black and green, before that..well, you get my point.

I do believe colors have power. And just to let you know, red invokes hunger. So, you may want to keep that in mind if you get cravings in your office.

Journalists carry pocket recorders. I'm sure you could score one somewhere.

KarenG said...

I am a person who doesn't enjoy white and neutral walls. I will paint them yellow or orange or deep green or blue or anything because I love color. Now that you ask the question, I'm not sure if I use it in my writing! If I do I don't realize it because it's such a part of what I notice and think about. Will check on that! Great post!

Mary said...

Your color choices sound so wonderful! I bet it is going to be stunning when you are done.

I never really thought about using color for symbolsim, but I have used color to show contrast between two kingdoms.

E.R. King said...

Colors are so fun to use! They symbolize different emotions and tell a lot about someone. For instance, people who like yellow are often fun-loving, and people who like red are ambitious and put in leadership positions. When choosing colors in my writing, I try to pick those that suit the scene or character.
Have fun decorating your house!

Richard said...

I try to think of colorful names for colors. Sometimes my inventions work, sometimes they don't. My critique groups let me know.

Karen Walker said...

I love the idea of thinking about color in writing because you are so right, it does evoke different feelings. Thank you. Happy nesting.
karen

Jess said...

That's a wonderful idea! I'm not sure if I usually do that or not but like you said, I'm going to start now! Oh and thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't use color as often as I should. I did a bit more in my second book, though.

Old Kitty said...

My current wip centres a lot around natural landscapes so I guess there are lots of uses of colours (try finding new words for green, verdant etc! LOL!).

But for everyday I love bright bad bright colours. The brighter the better - almost lurid! LOL!! And pink! I discovered I loved pink when I turned 40! LOL!!

Yay for having your own office space!!!! Wonderful!

Take care
x

Meagan Spooner said...

I just moved into a new apartment of my own and painted my room/office this lovely, calming sage green. It's so true that colors evoke feelings.

And yeah, colors are all over my manuscript. Sometimes I have to fight the urge to put too MUCH color symbolism in there. It's just such an easy trick to set the right mood. :P

Cally Jackson said...

I definitely haven't used colour consciously in this way, but it's a great idea. I'll be looking for opportunities to increase my colour symbolism as I edit. :-)

Carol Riggs said...

What a neat post! I probably think about using color in my novels a lot cuz I'm also an artist. Color is important to set moods, create symbols, etc. I love it! You're industrious painting your walls. Mine are just boring white. Maybe I should rethink that look!

James Garcia Jr said...

Hey, PK. After YOUR office is done, will we get to see many vlogs done from YOUR office? I hope so. Not only would I get to see you, but YOUR office's colorscheme as well.
Good points with the color. I'm currently doing rewrites on my second book. I will definitely keep color in mind while I am doing so.

-Jimmy

Shallee said...

Such a good point about colors! I don't use it much as a symbolism tool in my manuscripts, but now you've made me think about it. It's something a reader can relate to even subconsciously to get the mood and subtle undertones of a story.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

Trisha said...

Colours are awesome. I need to make better use of them in my writing.

Carla White said...

What an interesting thought, I've never noticed whether I use colours in my stories but will definitely make a note to in the future. I think it's a great idea! Also, my bedroom is also a shade of blue (more a turquoisey blue) and it's awesome. And, when I moved into my house I was working from home in a home office and painted it spiced pumpkin - it's an awesome, creativity inspiring colour so I back your suggestions on colours for you new office (hooray for that, by the way!). Side note, love the book swap idea, I'd be down with that... just wondering how much it'd cost to mail a book to the U.S. from Canada.

Laila Knight said...

You've made me think. I think I occasionally use color in writing when it pertains to what women are wearing. I do notice when I put something on that certain colors to make me feel different. Red is sexy, blue is soothing, yellow is cheery. I feel best in purple or pink. My office/dog room is purple. :)

Liz Fichera said...

Such a great question! Emotions can be colors themselves so I'd have to say yes. It's not just about the color of the sky or the grass. I think it can be deeper than that. BTW, I love blue for a bedroom! :)

fOIS In The City said...

Growing up with an artist and painter, spending time before, during and after college in the textile industry, colors were always an integral part of my life.

In writing, I use them in many ways and I love when others do the same. Not a laundry list of color of hair and eyes, but the subtle use of how colors blend in with the setting and the characters.

The colors in you new house sound great. Have fun decorating :)

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

Actually, the color red has an important role in the YA novel I'm workng on. I'm now following your blog and looking forward to your posts.
Fellow MG-YA Campaigner

alexia said...

First, double squee on your office! I can't wait to have one at home.

As for color, that is a fantastic point I never thought about consciously! Using it for subtle feelings is brilliant! Kind of like subliminal messaging :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Looking forward to your picks for the blogfest on Monday!

DM said...

I love colors so I use them. For instance, my main mail character stays in browns and tans or blacks. My den (where I work) is pink. It's the color that really motivates me.

I love reading about colors. Fun blog. Thanks.

Talei said...

Oh yes, I live in technicolour! ;-) My stories definitely use colours, perhaps more subconsciously than I realised until I read your post.

And I LOVE that you get your own office! Go you! :-)

cleemckenzie said...

The more color the better anywhere. House, stories, clothes. I'm very conservative when it come to hair, however, and even though purple and magenta are a lure I hold back and stick with my natural, er, somewhat natural blonde.

Medeia Sharif said...

I love color, but I don't think I'm using them emotively in my manuscripts. It's something to think about.

Have a great weekend.

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