Adding Colour—Literally by Tracy Krauss

As an artist as well as a writer, I know the importance of colour. Yet I’ve read a few manuscripts with a distinct lack of it. Rather than “fifty shades of gray,” perhaps we should be looking for fifty words to express exactly what we envision.

Here is a list (not comprehensive by any means) to help you think outside the “wheel:”

Red: crimson, ruby, cherry, scarlet, brick red, auburn, vermillion, burgundy, candy apple, russet, maroon, ruddy, wine, rose

Orange: copper, coral, tangerine, peach, pumpkin, apricot, carrot, melon, persimmon, topaz, mandarin

Yellow: canary, butter, daffodil, amber, bronze, dandelion, goldenrod, straw, gold, lemon, saffron, mustard, ochre

Green: avocado, ivy, lime, olive, emerald, bottle green, forest, chartreuse, Granny apple, teal, aquamarine, jade, aqua, neon

Blue: azure, turquoise, cerulean, cobalt, sky, peacock, robin egg, royal, indigo, sapphire, navy, baby blue, cyan, denim, ultramarine

Purple: violet, mauve, plum, amethyst, lilac, orchid, magenta, periwinkle, lavender

Pink: (technically pink is a tint of red, not it’s own colour) salmon, blush, fuschia

Brown: chestnut, tan, rust, caramel, coffee, beige, chocolate, ecru, dun, walnut, cinnamon, mahogany, burnt sienna, sandy, terracotta, khaki, sepia, fawn, taupe, burnt umber

White: alabaster, snow, chalk, bone, ivory, pearl

Black: jet, ink, coal, ebony

Gray: silver, ash, dust, charcoal, smoky, slate, steel

Using metaphors and similes is another wonderful way to add colour to one’s writing. You probably noticed that many of the words in the above list are actually metaphors. Orange is an especially good example. Many of the words for orange are types of food.

Have fun with this list and add a little colour to your writing—and your life!

Tracy Krauss (sm)Tracy Krauss is a multi-published author and playwright living and writing in British Columbia.

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1 comment

  1. Pam Mytroen says:

    The orange list makes me hungry! ha ha. These are great Tracy!

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