One of the most magical things about writing is the way it leads you to access your subconscious. Many writers I’ve spoken to can relate to the phenomenon of feeling like your characters are writing the story and not the other way around. It seems a little crazy. I’m trying to get to this plot point, but my character keeps getting in my way. I thought I was done with this conflict but apparently, my character has more to say. I tend to work from an outline but more often than not I end up changing it as I go to accommodate what feels to be my characters’ personal choices.
I’ll never forget when, after his first readthrough of Across the Formidable Sea, my editor told me that he liked my use of color symbolism. I believe my response was something like, “My use of what now?” He proceeded to point out various places in the manuscript where I’d used certain colors as signifiers for certain characters and how they influenced my main character. Having him point that out for me helped me strengthen it even further and make it even more meaningful.
It made me realize that without realizing it, I tend to ascribe colors to my characters. I have a secret Pinterest board for the sequel (don’t want to spoil anything for you!), and it’s actually kind of amazing seeing a color scheme emerge across the pins I choose for each character.
For example, Laura is emerald green. Earthy, elegant, understated but still bold.
Sarah is blush pink. Dreamy and pretty, luxurious and pairs very nicely with gold.
A new character you’ll meet in ITRF is Lydia, whose aura is baby blue and navy, ethereal and delicate with a heavy dose of practicality.
I’m curious: what do other writers associate with their characters? Songs? Smells? Let me know in the comments!