What colours your writing?

There are bits of unexpected colour everywhere right now. They brighten up an ordinary landscape that’s in transition between seasons.

There are other colours turning up this month, but on houses, inside and out. Purple and lime green Christmas decorations. Teal and orange. Even black and gold. I’ve seen them in recent magazine spreads. “Our decorations are designed to complement the style of the house, not compete with it,” said one set of homeowners. Their rooms look very festive – so glamorous and glitzy.

Although I prefer more traditional colour schemes to the modern ones, I love all the seasonal sparkle. This year we have little white lights on our tree, tucked into garlands across the mantels, over the kitchen cupboards and wound around the railing on our back deck. They’re magical.

For years our trees were a happy jumble of decorations – heirlooms from our parents, others handmade by our children, and some gifted by friends More recently we’ve had a few themed trees. My favourite for a while was wintry white with snowflakes, glass snowballs, frosted pinecones. I added a few new white baubles each year and a snowy white wreath over the fireplace. We hung large snowflakes in the windows and sprayed artificial frost around the edges. Then I began to realize I wasn’t improving anything. In fact, what I was missing was colour.

We didn’t take away the snowflakes but added a few red baubles in various textures and some of the more meaningful old ones. They and a strategically located poinsettia or two changed the atmosphere by bringing a welcome warmth into the room.

There’s a correlation between decorating a home and creating a fictional world. Haven’t you ever noticed how one piece of writing may be sterile while another is as rich as a tapestry? What makes the difference?

How do you add colour to your writing?

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Bauble photo by Kittisak

Showing, not telling: a sensual taste experience

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‘Sweet 100’ cherry tomatoes are ripening and I can’t resist plucking one from the vine and popping it into my mouth. My tongue teases the curves and presses them into submission. Warmed by sunshine the globe bursts into juices that dribble off my chin and give my taste buds visions of Tuscany.

There’s no resemblance to the meek store-bought varieties that do nothing more than garnish a salad. No, this rich scarlet morsel explodes with all the fulfillment of summer’s nurture, provoking my taste buds and enticing me to tug another from the vine.

I see a writing application emerging – demonstrating the difference between telling you that these tomatoes taste good, and showing you the sensual experience of eating them. Mmmm. 😉

Now it’s your turn. How else could you describe their taste, or the taste of another favourite food? Give it a try!

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“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father.”
[James 1:17a KJV] 

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Finding the words to show, not tell

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“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose,
because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”

[Henri Matisse]

Description, we’re told, is best achieved not in telling, but in showing — not in saying it’s raining, but in helping the reader feel raindrops on his face. (Who said that, BTW?) If Henri Matisse thinks painting a rose is difficult, he should try describing one! That God can even create such perfection leaves me without words.

How about you? Could you write a sentence or two that would allow readers to experience the fragile blush, the satin texture, of this beauty?

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Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
[Jeremiah 32:17 NIV]

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