Color Smarts

color smartsI love paint shopping. I have fun looking at the names assigned to  the hundred and hundreds of colors available. So many Reds-Blacks-Blues-Greens-Oranges-Whites-Purples-Pinks-Browns-Yellows and ALL the colors in between. Sometimes I think the folks who assigned the names are wanna-be novelists. They do know the importance of naming a color.

Visual imagery is important. It can evoke emotion, mood, tone, convey character, foreshadow, or be ironic. So, assigning a color name might be important in your story. ( Or not, depending on your genre and authorial voice.)

Next time you watch a movie pay attention to the lipstick color worn by the women. A gal in a matte dark red is usually the “bad” one. Even the level of gloss reveals the character’s personality.

Color imagery is easily conveyed in written form.

Does your character wear a red dress? What kind of red dress? Red—beyond the western symbolism of lust, power, and anger—doesn’t really tell a reader all that much—which is OK if that’s your intent. BUT, if you want to add a bit of symbolic punch to your writing be mindful of the names used when describing color.

  • A rose-colored dress conveys ladylikeness or love.
  • A cherry dress is suggestive of sexual prowess or desire, or…ahem…a woman wishing to be deflowered.
  • An apple-red dress suggests something forbidden or idyllic.
  • A blood-red dress…well, when you mix two symbolic words you get a metaphoric punch in the symbolic face!
  • A woman with ruby lips is sultry and expensive.
  • A woman with candy-apple lips sounds like a damn good fun time.

You’ve all seen the meme dismissing color symbolism and yet consider this, fabric described as bone produces a much different emotion than one described as snow.

Consider the following when assigning a color name:

  • Genre: Sweet Romance novels might use more romancy color names. (caramel—sweet and gooey, like love—instead of light brown ). Historical fiction authors need to be mindful of using color names that didn’t exist in that century. A lipstick-red dress isn’t gonna work if they had no lipstick back then. You’re better off using a descriptor like ruby. 
  • Foreshadowing: In Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore there’s a lot of blue. One of the main characters wears only blue.
  • Revealing character: Is your character a murderer? He/she might see their color world in shades of viscera. A gardner or florist they may see their world in shades of blooms and flora. A chef or a woman on a diet might describe the world with food colors.
  • Mood and/or tone: Is your novel dark? Light and happy? Full of irony? Religious? Sarcastic? Is your main character clueless, evil, dying, in-love, oppressed, or stoned? Using a color descriptor specific to tone, mood or character will convey that.
There are many ways to describe color.
  • Jewel tones convey preciousness, worth, or rarity.
  • Nature colors convey the idyllic.
  • There are city colors and farmland colors, youthful and aged colors, fun colors, mysterious colors, clean colors and dirty colors, evil colors and good color descriptors.
Does all color need to be symbolic? No, of course not! It’s your novel after all, you can have as much fun ( F. Scott Fitzgerald with The Great Gatsby certainly did ) or not with color as you like.

For more information regarding color symbolism ( and remember there’s a difference between western and eastern color symbolism ) check out the Color Symbolism post.

Have a colorful day!

Related Posts: Rock Your Writing, Symbols & More Symbols; Readin’ & Writin’

Writer’s Grimoire page 2

Grimoire table of contents

Spell for Increasing Word Count! 

Don’t ask where I found this manuscript! I won’t tell you ( the repercussions and all that, you know ). But I will share the Writer’s Grimoire–hey, we writers need all the help we can get! A little magic or spirituality never hurt anyone either. In fact, any author or wanna-be author will tell you the very act of creating is magical!

grimoire increase word count

Disclaimer: L.Z.Marie assumes no responsibility for the failure or success of increasing word count, nor side effects caused by misusing spells or incantations.

Related Posts: Rock Your Writing; Symbols & More Symbols; Readin’ & Writin’

Tips For Living With A Writer

tips for living with a writer“What’s this week’s blog about?” Hubby leans over my shoulder to look at the computer screen.
“I got nothin’,” I say.
“How about Tips for Living With A Writer?”
“Am I that difficult to live with?”
“Um….” Hubby looks away.
“I’m listening.”


1. “Run while you can! But if you love them too much to do that..”.

2. “Grow Big Ears for listening, whether it’s about plot, characters, computer issues, or the publishing business.”

3. “Get into your significant other’s story. Be all in. You’ll be hearing about this story and the characters for many months so you might as well embrace it with the same passion they do.”

4. “Be willing to act out scenes or physical actions. Remember when you tried out that choke hold on me?”

5. “Offer honest constructive criticism. Hope the love you share is strong enough to weather the fall out. Better I point out a flaw or problem than someone else.”

6. “Be willing to read novels in their genre, that way the honest criticism is valid.”

7. “Grow thick skin. Be prepared for the response,  ‘that’s stupid, I can’t write that!’ or ‘you can’t do that with first person POV!’ when you offer an opinion.”

8. “Learn to become an escape artist. I disappear when you need time alone.”

9. “Have a ready shoulder. Creative people go through sh** we uncreative types can’t begin to understand.”

10. “Be willing to make Starbucks runs.”

11. “Be their champion.”

Thanks for the blog post, hon. Now about that Starbucks run…

Related Posts: Rock Your Writing; Readin’ & Writin’

Xtreme Conference

Xtreme writers confJPGWriters conferences provide inspiring and informative sessions and keynotes. Most include social media strategies, general publishing information, writing critiques, and query letter how to’s. But sometimes I wish they offered a bit more. Here’s a few classes you’ll never find at a writers conference.

1. Grit: Learn why a writer needs this character trait to succeed. No-nonsense strategies for  maximizing grit during the writing, querying, and publishing process will be revealed.

2. Work-Space Optimization: Organizing desk to accommodate research materials, notes, and tea/coffee while writing. Best office chairs for a bad back will be reviewed.

3. How to Stay Sane While Waiting To Hear From An Agent: Both traditional and non-traditional methods for reducing stress and anxiety will help determine your best opiate. Alcohol consumption, binge reading, yoga, and chocolate overdosing will be evaluated for effectiveness. Class does not include prescriptions for anxiety and depression.

4. Writing While Making Dinner 101: No-burn, no-fail, nutritious 10-minute-preparation recipes guaranteed to feed family while you write.

5. Best Brews For Stimulating Creative Alertness: Includes sampling French Roast, Sumatra, Kona, and other blends while discussing the impact of roast strength and brewing methods on word count.

6. Ranting & Raving 101: An open forum where writers can complain in a safe, non-recorded, and social media-free zone. (Best done after the Best Brews session.) Electronic devices are forbidden during this time. This is a popular session, sign up in advance.

7. The Future of the Adverb: An academic look at the fate of the much maligned adverb. Where will they go? What will happen to the useful -ly suffix? This is for writers who truly absolutely honestly care about adverb extinction. Save The Adverb and Save A Suffix T-shirts are available for purchase upon request.

8. The Truth About the Publishing Biz 101: From beginning your foray into novel writing to polishing the final draft, this session discloses the facts and statistics you don’t want to know because you will cry. Great as a prerequisite to Ranting & Raving.

9. The Truth About the Publishing Biz 102: From query-writing to beyond, more facts and statistics guaranteed to make you shed a tear or two. Attendee responsible for their own tissues.

10. Inspiration and Why You Don’t Need It:  Taught by a bad-ass drill sergeant who orders you to “sit your ass on the chair and start writing,” this session whips your excuses  into shape.

11. How Not To Piss Off People on Social Media: Discover all the ways you can unintentionally insult, mock, antagonize, and belittle potential readers and your writing friends. A revealing glimpse at just how easy it is to look like a jerk/douche bag/fool.

12: Beta-reader Speak: Formerly How to Critique With Smiley Faces: How to word criticisms about a novel in author-friendly terms. Phrases like “Your MC’s motivations might need some shoring up” and “This is an amazing concept”  and  “A good editor will perfect your final draft” and other niceties will keep you on speaking terms with other authors.

13: How To Laugh In The Face Of Rejection: A follow-up to the Grit seminar, a powerful class offering tips to increase grit while maintaining a positive outlook. Free hits of nitrous oxide ( laughing gas ) will assist in promoting the proper attitude.

14. How Not To Engage: A rigorous class designed for those writers unable to stop themselves from responding to a social media post or negative comment. Real-time dis-engagement strategies will be taught and practiced.

15. Selfie Stick Symposium: Tips and tricks for finding your best pose, background problems, plus benefits and pitfalls of  usage. Please bring your own selfie stick.

What class would you like to see offered at a conference?

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’; Rock Your Writing

Shades of Writer

shades of writerWriters are never content with the mundane or pedestrian way of saying something. And neither do the words author or writer convey the joys and tortures of years spent slaving over manuscripts.

Here’s a few colorful monikers I’ve come across while scouring the internet.

  • diction demon—sounds perfect for the horror or urban fantasy/paranormal writer
  • dreamer—is the writer actually doing any writing?
  • fictionista—chick llt, anyone?
  • hack—reminds me of a guy I met who said he was a ‘used car salesman.’ Turns out he owned the biggest car dealership in the county.
  • mystery maven—channeling Agatha Christie
  • novelist—succinct and specific
  • plotter—maybe because the word sounds like plodder, I imagine a writer slooowly making his way through his work in progress
  • plot pundit—an expert at plotting or merely someone who enjoys discussing his opinion about plotting in public forums?
  • prose poser—a funny understatement or a writer trying to emulate a master of prose.
  • scribbler—either an understatement or the description of a writer who actually writes in longhand.
  • sentence slinger—I think Louis L’Amour and hear music from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
  • story spinner—many things come to mind with the word spin. Medieval times, Rumpelstiltskin, craziness, political spin doctors, and, of course, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
  • storyteller—a down-to-earth, stories-for-the-everyman no-ego writer
  • wordsmith—visions of a writer hammering, firing, crafting, and forging a sentence for maximum efficiency and beauty come to mind
  • word weaver—pastoral with a touch of ‘artisan-crafted’
  • word wrangler—sounds dangerous

A few words about the word aspiring. An aspiring author is one who aspires to be published. An aspiring writer is one who aspires to write. There’s a difference.

Sooooo, what is the best word to put on your social media bio? Hell if I know!

Related Links: Readin’ & Writin’; Rock Your Writing