Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Do Colors Have Character?

I'm reading something written by another author I know who is also writing a police procedural. When offering him comments, I ask about his habit of giving subjective qualities to colors. He speaks of eyes being a "rich hazel" color, for instance. I can see light hazel, dark hazel, speckled hazel, hazel with a dark rim, but how can the color hazel be "rich?" I assume he means a medium brown with yellow in the coloration. He speaks of a carpet being "lush green." Again, I see green as light, dark, blue-green, mottled, whatever, but not "lush." If a piece of slime were the exact same shade of green, would it also be "lush?" I think not. I think the carpet is lush, its color is green. His room also has "lush avocado" drapes. My old refrigerator was avocado green; was it also "lush?" This is such a minor point, and the reader still understands what the author means, but I wonder if it isn't the beginning of a slippery slope. If we do that little descriptive side-step with colors, what shortcuts in our writing will come next? Thanks for reading. Joan Sween

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