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!