Monday, July 14, 2014

Colors Bring the Old West to Life

Did you ever notice how color helps set the stage in a novel? It can be used not only to let readers “see” the picture an author creates with words, but can also convey a character’s emotions. Sharla Rae, a good friend of mine, posted an article about this topic on Writers in the Storm back in October 2013:

Sharla used an example from my novella White Witch to illustrate one of her points. The Devlin family flees the Great Chicago Fire:

Bright sheets of fire flapped in the air, frighteningly beautiful in hues of orange, gold and angry red. Flung out by the murderous blaze, burning debris scattered hither and yon, a threat Jessie constantly fought, using a blanket to smother cinders that fell on the wagon.

 Here are a few additional excerpts from my Texas Devlins series showing the use of color:

From Darlin’ Irish – Captain David Taylor's first sight of Jessie Devlin in the Omaha train station:

Finding a gap in the crowd, David caught sight of a red-faced young corporal. The trooper bobbed and weaved, arms raised to fend off blows being rained upon him by a woman in a brown poke bonnet. Her weapon was a heavy looking black reticule.

From Dashing Irish – At a Saturday night social, Lil Crawford’s impression of the man her parents have forced her to accept as her escort:

He was big, with strong, even features and shoulder-length blond hair. In his dark blue shirt with its fancy yellow piping, he was easy on the eyes. He was also vainer than a turkey cock.

Also from Dashing Irish – Tye Devlin’s impression as the northbound cattle drive he's with approaches Fort Worth:

Fort Worth rose against the warm, crystal-blue morning on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River.

From Dearest Irish – Rose Devlin finds Choctaw Jack working in the smithy:

. . . she recognized Choctaw Jack by his long, midnight black hair, tied back with a leather thong at his nape, and by the healed red scar across his left shoulder blade. . . .

Coated with sweat in the heat from the forge, his muscular arms and torso gleamed like molten copper.
Whether you're a reader or an author, try to notice how color enlivens stories . . . and our lives.

Amazon – Kindle & Print

White Witch                             

Darlin’ Irish                            

Dashing Irish                          

Dearest Irish                           

Barnes & Noble (Nook)


Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Lyn. I liked your colorful examples from your stories. Layering scenes with the use of our five senses (which includes color) does, indeed bring them to life. I enjoyed reading your blog and your samples. All the best t you.

Lyn Horner said...

Hi Sarah. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the examples from my books. I hope you checked out Sharla's article. She included two great lists of colorful descriptors. (She's known for her descriptive word lists.)