Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tips to Add Depth to Your Writing Through Color

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writers are always looking for ways to deepen their writing. That’s who we are and what we do.

We explore the psychology of our characters to add tension and conflict to our projects.

We twist our plots and add dimension to narrative and setting.

When writers use color to establish emotion, the reader is able to experience the actions and reactions on a higher level. Emotions become vivid, and symbolism weaves into the storyline.

Writers, take a look at the following colors and explanations then think about your current writing and how to make your projects more meaningful.

Red is a warm color that causes strong emotions. From warm and comforting to anger and hostility. Red can stimulate the appetite. Now think about your favorite restaurant. Think about these phrases: redneck, red-hot, red-handed, paint the town red or seeing red.

Blue carries a range of emotions from calmness to serenity. Many offices are painted blue because people are more productive in blue rooms. Blue can also mean sadness. Anyone enjoy the blues and a weeping saxophone? Blue Monday? Blue ribbon day. A recent magazine article stated that blue helps a dieter keep her weight in check.

Green symbolizes nature and growth. The color has a calming affect. It’s been proven that those who work in an office painted green have fewer stomach aches. It also can mean wealth, greed, and jealousy. In the 15th century, green represented fertility and wedding dresses were green. Think about that the next time you select a green M&M. What emotions do these spark in you? Green with envy. Greenhorn. A green thumb?

Yellow is often described as cheery and warm. It can also be a color of frustration. More tempers are lost in yellow rooms, and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. This is another color that can stimulate the appetite. But what about the coward who’s referred to as yellow? Or a yellow traffic light?

Purple is often associated with royalty, wealth, wisdom, and spirituality. Sometimes it symbolizes arrogance. Remember the book and movie, The Color Purple? The Purple Heart?

Brown is a natural color that invokes a down to earth feeling. However for a person who is isolated on a farm and feels imprisoned, the color brown may be depressing.

Pink is a romance color. It suggests love, femininity, calmness. Some consider it soothing. Are you in the pink? “The very pink of perfection.”

Orange mixes red and yellow to create a warm affect. It means excitement and enthusiasm. Orange is also associated with autumn, the end of the growing season and the entrance into winter.

White signifies purity and innocence. It can also mean spaciousness or a sterile environment. Remember the fairy tale Snow White?

Black means evil, power, death, or mourning. In the fashion world, it’s used to create a slimming affect, even sophistication. Consider these phrases: Black Death, blackout, black cat, black list, black market, black tie, black belt.

Gray is a mix of black and white, death and life. Gray clouds. Gray moods. What about a gray sea where fishermen brave the seas to provide for their families, but a twist of the weather can mean death?

Understanding color can add emotion and symbolism to your creative process. How can you apply color to your writing?


Tips to Add Depth to Your #Writing Through Color - @DiAnnMills (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. 

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. 

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. 

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. I'm a redneck coffee snob who sees yellow lights as a challenge. I'm never jealous or envious and friends say I'm very patient. I have difficulty making firm decisions, and I'm very comfortable with the word "maybe." No wonder I don't have a favorite color. Most interesting post. Thanks.

  2. Thanks, Jay. Appreciate your feedback. I'm a green gal - which is why I speed through yellow lights.

  3. had fun choosing colors for this sunrise scene:

    I did not get back to sleep, and got up to make coffee an hour later. Sitting outside the front door, I watched as the sun began to peer over the eastern horizon. I marveled always as the tops of the river birch and chestnut oak, sweetgum and sycamore trees turned golden with the glow, and the light filtered through to the thick tangle beneath the canopy of green. Indigo turned to violet, violet turned to a watercolor mauve turned to a tigerlily-golden color. And as the sunrise gave way to brilliant sunshine, the sky itself was a canopy of clear cerulean.

  4. Green wedding dresses? I knew our "traditional" white dresses are fairly recent (Victorian England, I think), but I'd never heard that. It puts a different spin on the normal associations with green.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. All the writers and related to this craft should not miss this page dedicated to all these writer's stuff

  6. I love red, the "look-at-me" color. Brown and earth tones for dressing. I find yellow the most cheerful color. In some countries it is said that a woman who wears yellow is comfortable of her own inner beauty. Blue reminds me of the ocean, which reminds me of home.

  7. My dad once asked my mother why I was always dressed like I was going to a funeral. Black--I wear it a lot. But I love colors.