Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How to: Colors of Things and Feeling the Five Senses

Moved from the original post on my other blog, World Problems and Randomness.
Which explains the bluntness and the sarcasm and the frankness.

Colors of Things:
Eye color, hair color, the color of clothes, accessories, and anything else your character owns

Okay that's it! I'm gonna talk about this.

"His grey eyes made contact with my blue ones"

This is a sentence from someone's writing piece (I am not stealing because it is something someone partially posted on Whisper) but I have seen lots of people do this (I'm not calling you idiots. I do it, too. And I stop myself but sometimes...well *looks sheepish*).

Imagine a moment when someone is looking into your eyes. Do you think "His brown eyes made contact with my brown ones?" NO! We do not normally think about the color of our eyes. The color of the eyes of your character has little value. The color of your character's ANYTHING frankly has little value.

there is some really important-to-the-story reason you have for introducing it.

Blue eyes, in this world, means that that person has ice powers...or something like that. Or the protagonist continuously talks about how she or he is different from her family.

"Everything is the same, except I have eyes as blue as the frickin sky. Thank you recessive gene."

But when we look into someone's eyes, though we might notice their eye color and even think about it, we DO NOT normally think of our own eye color. Do you? I certainly don't unless maybe me and my friends are talking about eye color or hair color then we might think about our own eye color or hair color.

If it's not important to the story, don't mention it.

If it's for your own selfish character-remembering-what-he/she-looks-like scheme, then make a character log. In my own story "Liaffon", I don't mention one bit what color the character's anything is unless it is important.

There is a scene where the MC (Main Character) is talking in the bakery with the young woman baker who he secretly likes. Out of the corner of his eye he sees, outside, a red scarf flutter by. In his mind he thinks about his nosy little sister. We can now link the red scarf and the little sister. I even mention earlier that she is wearing her long red scarf which flutters behind her as she runs.

It is important. This is the brother-sister bit I am showing the reader. Loving and caring and family but yet the little sister is certainly a pain sometimes.

Back to the sentence, are her blue eyes and his grey eyes important? Idk. But frankly, I don't care about her eye color. That sentence literally slowly the reader down. Sometimes you can trust the reader. Also if it's in first person then you can omit lots of stuff. Put yourself in her shoes. Will you keep mentioning your eye color like an idiot?

Feelings: Showing vs Telling

The sentence continues like this:

"His grey eyes made contact with my blue ones and I had a feeling of discomfort. He held me against the wall for..."

"I had a feeling of discomfort." I'm like, yeah, sure you did. But what kind? See, every person has a different way of interpreting things though there are some universal stuff like, something that is unknown is scary or someone who comes off as aggressive may be your enemy. But discomfort...now that's something not all of us interpret the same way.

The writer must describe exactly how it felt.

This is where you use the five senses. Sweaty palms? Lump in throat? Feeling like you have to hold your breath? Wanting to glance away but can't? And what about him? Yeah, what about him that made you suddenly feel discomfort? Was it his grey eyes? The fact that he was holding you against the wall? What if it was normal for the character to be held against the wall? What if that wasn't the thing that made you feel discomfort?

Consider this: "I felt safe with him."

And then this: "I looked down at my feet, suddenly feeling shy. This time I didn't shut them out. I let his words sink in and didn't shrug away his arm. 'I'm here for you,' he said again, now in a soft voice. I leaned my head against his shoulder, it smelled of rain and soil. I let him hold me like that. His natural warmth covered me like a blanket and I finally felt at home."

So, yes, there are more words. But you can sort of get the feeling that she feels at home. Home is safe. So she feels safe with him. This, my friends, is called showing. The short easy one is called telling.

You can tell the reader, "I felt safe with him."

Or you can show the reader through discription and the five senses. Of course you don't have to strain yourself and use ALL the five senses. That would end up as being either pretty crafty or ridiculous.

Sometimes it is okay to tell.

"He had long hair." Is something that you can get away with by just telling.

But complicated things, don't run away from them. Use the creative skills you have. Play with the words, it's fun! :D

I am an idiot too sometimes and I forget. Even if some of us may be born writers, we are not born pro-writers or pro-editors. Sometimes we are idiot-writers and selfish-writers. The first step is to acknowledge that. Then you can go on an editing spree and critique yourself.

C'mon guys, we can do it! :D

Happy Writing! :D

No comments:

Post a Comment