No, that isn’t a metaphor. And it isn’t a statement about whitewashing in YA either. I mean actual, literal color.
I think this needs some explaining. When I write my reviews, I assign the book some colors. Not on purpose, really, but I just imagine the book in my head and the first impression/color I get is what it is. Maybe one character is orange, while the other is aqua. The plot might be red, with some hints of pink, or maybe even a streak or two of white. After they get their colors, I assess how those colors make me feel. If a character is orange, they’re a bit fiery, but maybe more controlled than a red character would be. If a character is aqua, then they’re softer, more comforting, and a steady temper. A red plot might mean it’s full of action, but the pink and white indicates that it slows down in some parts.
I know, I know. But it’s the only way I can sort out my feelings sometimes! I don’t always have the words at first, but if I have a color, I know exactly what impressions that color gives me, and I can always put that into words. Usually it translates pretty well when I’m trying to describe a book. Besides reviewing books and writing my blog, this actually applies to the rest of my life. If I want to remember something, I give it a color. Memory recall goes up by 100% after that!
So now that I’ve explained the psychosis I live by, here’s my actual point: I wish more authors would write using color. I wish they would describe their settings and characters with more vibrancy. Often I find that when describing a setting it’s just the basics, maybe they mention that there’s a skyscraper or they’re in the woods. They rely on my previously ingrained images that I may have gleaned from google to fill in the blanks. I don’t want that. I want to see the exact forest that they see! I want to know if the windows are so clean they reflect the blue sky, or if they’re tinted so darkly that they’re nearly black.
Of course the lack of color doesn’t make me automatically hate a book, but when I find one that includes more than normal, I pretty much fall in love. Two really stand out to me as ones that I remember: Angelfall by Susan Ee and White Like Milk, Red Like Blood by Alessandro D’Avenia. Angelfall had a setting that was just vivid – everything was described in detail, using a million colors, from the forest to the sky, and the angels’ aerie was flawless. White Like Milk, Red Like Blood focused more on the characters, and there were two in particular – Sylvia and Beatrice. Leo, the main character, described Sylvia as blue like the ocean, and Beatrice was red like her fiery hair. Sylvia was calm, steady, and peaceful, and a hidden quiet force, while Beatrice was bright and extroverted, shining like a flame.
Both those books really sucked me in, because it was written like I think! I didn’t have to adapt to someone else’s way of thinking; I just slipped right in like I was home. It’s the greatest feeling when I find a book written with color. And I really wish I could find more authors who write that way!
So now that I’ve exposed my crazy sauce, let’s turn the tables on you. Do you like books written with lots of detail and colors? Do you understand at all what I’m trying to say? What writing styles do you feel most comfortable reading?