Monday, May 9, 2011

Writing Exercise: Color List - Shades of Green

One of the challenges in writing evocative descriptions is getting the color just right. Making your reader see what you see will draw him or her into the scene, and will help you create a three-dimensional world out of words. That means having a good color repertoire, and one that lets you pull an adjective or noun out of your tool box that will evoke the color without necessarily mentioning it.

So here's one of my favorite writing exercises: the color list. Since it's May and finally spring in Chicago, green is what I see everywhere, so today's writing challenge is to come up with words that let you see green, and only green. So a word like "leaves" will not work because, come fall, they can be anything but green. You'd have to say "leaves in May" which can be quite evocative. What are words that make you see green? Paint palettes, plants and food are great sources. Here's my list for today, please add yours in comments:

avocado
cactus
celery
clover
cucumber
emerald
eucaplyptus
fern
forest
Granny Smith apple
grass
Kiwi
jade
juniper
leaves in May
lichen
lime
mint
moss
olive green
pea
pistachio
sage
shamrock
verdigris

20 comments:

  1. This is quite a challenge! Four-leaf clover, St. Patrick's Day, dill, fir tree ...

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  2. What an interesting exercise. U.S. dollar bills, Oscar the Grouch, peridot, broccoli ... everything else I'm thinking of, you've already come up with!

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  3. hmmmm....Seaweed, Evergreen tree, Durian, pickle...

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  4. Alexandra - yes, it's a challenge, isn't it? Whenever I play with these color lists or ask my students to do some, my mind is constantly churning around that color. I like your additions: St. Patrick's Day, dill, fir tree

    Haley - I love your greenbacks! I would have never thought of that! Peridot is great, too. Thanks!

    Anjuli - I have to admit I had to look up Durian. And I love pickle - definitely green!

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  5. Oooh, nice and visual. Let's see:

    -grass
    -meadow
    -Evergreen
    -pencil crayon
    -buds
    -young

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  6. Artichokes, spinach, recycled glass.

    Great exercise!

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  7. Kids & Mental Health - I love the idea of crayons. You made me check my son's Crayola box for inventive names but the crayons only say "green" or "blue green" or "olive green." Not very inventive. The best one was "jungle green." However, the best part about crayons is not the colors but that waxy smell emanating from the box: One of the classic smells of childhood!

    Raising Marshmallows (I love your name, BTW) - spinach is a great one!

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  8. magnolia, privet, granny smith apples

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  9. Great post! I like: Chartrueuse, moldy, frog, pear, celadon, and neon!

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  10. Jessica & Julia - thanks for adding to the list, I shall publish an update one of these days.

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  11. I have to add other word to this list for green before I forget it again:
    seafoam

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  12. how about jealousy,kermit, chameleon, anole, praying mantis, parrot, slime, turtle, frog, toad?

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