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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anatomy of Color

Our world is awash in a variety of color; especially this time of year when the leaves don their fiery hues. But, what does color mean to our writing. The movie 'Sixth Sense' used the color red as clues to different aspects that were not explained. As people, different colors create different reactions: black hole, white knight, green goblin, purple prose. How do the different colors strike an emotional spark?

RED - Fire, passion, love, strength. Red pushes individuals into quick decisions, alerts them to danger, & indicates high energy levels. A red sports car, a fire hydrant, a red letter in the mail.

Light red is for joy & sensitivity. Pink is femininity, friendship & love. Dark red is angry, dangerous, but also full of longing. Brown & brownish-red hues are indicative of earthiness, steadfast character, masculinity & autumn.

ORANGE - Sex, sunshine, determination, creativity. This color instantly infuses warmth. It pushes oxygen to the brain increasing activity levels. In heraldry, orange indicates strength, vitality & longevity. It is also used in the promotion of products for children because it is associated with health.

Dark orange - deceit or distrust. Red-orange is about domination, aggressiveness, passion & pleasure. Gold is prestigious, royal, & quality.

YELLOW - Joy, happy, energy. Honor, loyalty, sunshiney. This color is an attention grabber. However, it is flighty & unpredictable. 

Dull yellow is jaundiced & sickly; while light yellow indicates higher intellect, lemony freshness & warm fuzzies.

GREEN - Harmony, newness, fertile fields. It is healing & restful. This color promotes a feeling of safety. Stable & enduring vs. young & inexperienced. 

Dark green is envious & greedy. Yellow-green is discordant, cowardly, sickly & jealous. Aqua is protectiveness & healing. Olive delineates peaceful negotiation.

BLUE - Sky & ocean, deep & stable, confident & true. This color impedes metabolism creating a lulling effect. Blue is pious & sincere. It is indicative of precision, masculinity & an appetite suppressant.

Light blue is soft, tranquil, healthy. Dark blue is competent, serious, steadfast.

PURPLE - Royalty, luxury, extravagance. It is independent & wise, mysterious & magical. It is also introspective & playful.

Light purple is nostalgic, whimsical & romantic. Dark purple is gloomy, melancholic & depressed. It can also denote frustration.

White & black indicate polar opposites. The white wizard vs. the black knight. Perfection & obscurity. Cool & clean; dark & dirty. Simplicity vs. confusion. Purity vs. besmirched. 

Color is utilized to denote emotion & character. It defines feelings in regards to environment. This aspect plays an important role in defining the action of our novels. It is powerful, evocative & necessary to the writing toolbox.

Questions: How does color play a role in your writing? Do you use color as a surprising element in your writing?

Happy Writing,



  1. Love this post Patti: I also love color and all the drama or peaceful feelings it can provoke.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  2. Thanks Nancy. I am right there with ya.