Colorful Characters

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!

Published by clairelaminen

I am a Ventura, California native with a compulsion to create. I'm a storyteller, through writing, photography, and occasionally music. Weekends are for camping with my husband, reading, and hunting for vintage treasures, which I sell in my Etsy shop, Peace & Goodwill. My favorite things include lavender lattes, swimming in the ocean, true crime podcasts, The X-Files, and Peaky Blinders. I hope to become a full-time writer, bestselling novelist, and a continually improving reflection of God's grace. Proverbs 16:24

2 thoughts on “Colorful Characters

  1. I associate smells with my characters, in the very cliche way that all fantasy writers do, but I try to base them on realistic things. Like my farmer family is very earthy and herbal and natural, and the villain has a cloying sweetness about her.

    Liked by 1 person

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