Color Thesaurus Entry: Green

Real World Comparisons:

Light:

Cabbage
Celery
Lime
Honeydew melon
Pear
Pistachio
Unripe banana
New shoots
Fish scales
Moss
Poplar tree bark
Streaky dye job
Over-clorinated hair (swimming pools)
Iceberg lettuce
Tree frog
Grasshopper
Pea soup
Apple
Tea
Grapes
Cactus
Lizards
Cut kiwi fruit
Golf course greens
Timothy hay
Alfalfa
Pea pods
Rice paddy
Tree python
Duck weed
Smog
Barley field
Fish eggs
Frog eggs
Peas
Pea soup
Lime koolaid
Lime jello
Preying mantis
Frogs
Boogers
Bile
Tree sap
Guacamole
Tree moss (Old Man's Beard, etc)
Safety stripes/Safety clothing (police/firemen/etc)
Parrot feathers

Medium:

Corn stalks
Aloe Vera
Jalapeno peppers
Green peppers
Grass
Grass stains
Bog muck
Gangrene
Romaine lettuce
Lily pad
Grasshopper
Mossy rock
Grassy hill
Olive
Emerald
Jade
Asparagus
Relish
Clover
Ivy
Fiddle heads
Bamboo
Palms
Stop light
Pond grass
Reeds
Carrot tops
Champagne bottles
Tea leaves
Flower stems
Beans
Parsley
Cilantro
Lichen
Mold
Recycle symbols
Jade
Scallion
Onion tops
Leeks
Peridot
John Deer products
Broccoli
The Incredible Hulk
Christmas lights
Menthol cigarette packs

Dark:

Wet leaves
Mold
Mint leaves
Shamrock
Zucchini
Algae
Bog muck
Gangrene
Seaweed
Leeks
Pine needles
Cucumber
Avocado
Bay leaf
Sage
Kale
Turtle shells
Myrtle
Spinach
Money
Dirty aquariums
Hedges
Pond slime
Military clothing
Military vehicles (tanks, jeeps, etc)
Christmas wreath
Cedars
Lizards
Rot/mildew
Stagnant water
Marshes
Swamps
Garbage trucks

Shades of Green:

Chartreuse
Neon
Gray-green
Yellow-green
Greeny-brown
Forest
Army
Celandine
Hunter
Kelly
Verdant
Virid
Viridian
Chlorophyll
Teal
Turquoise
Cyan

Make every detail count

Colors are powerful descriptors, not fillers. Make sure that if you use a comparison or contrast to highlight a color, you choose the right one. Look at the setting and atmosphere you are working to create, then draw from the viewpoint character or narrator's history, education and past experiences to find the right fit.

A poor example:

When Jasper said his cousin was comin' to visit, I figgered he'd be like the rest of the farm boys: sturdy and dumb as an ox. Boy, was I wrong. His hair was raven black and his skin was fair--you could tell he weren't the type to spend long hours in the sun. And his eyes! Green like emeralds sparkling in the showcase window at Tiffany's.

What's wrong with this example?

The style of writing here suggests the character has minimum education and life experience. It's doubtful he would liken someone's eye color to a high-end, big city jewelry store product, right?

A strong example:

I didn't know what to expect--I mean, I'd never seen anyone poisoned before. They said she had survived, but now after seeing her, I wasn't sure. The hair I'd always envied was straight and dull, like the curl had been sucked out of it. Her lips were as thin and flaky as a waffle cone. And her skin--not only was it pulled tight over her knobby bones, its color was wrong. You know when water sits in a ditch for awhile, it gets that layer of greenish scum floating on top? I covered my nose, in case she smelled like that, too.

Why is this example better?

This example works because the character's thoughts lead to a comparision that creates a vivid and unpleasant image. This detail fits perfectly with the conflict (a poisoning) and supports an atmostphere of erosion and decay.

13 comments:

Bish Denham said...

OH! This is going to be WONDERFUL! Thank you!

Angie Frazier said...

Awesome, I'm always in need of color descriptors! Thanks :-)

PJ Hoover said...

Love this!

Lapillus said...

So, so awesome!

Brown-Eyed Girl said...

Okay. Where the heck do you get all the ideas for subject matter that you come up with??

Sheesh! I think you have a magic well.

Scratchy Paw said...

Bow WOW! Never knew there were so many ways to describe green. Thanks.

parakeva said...

Reading this it really felt like Spring had come. Thank you.

Kat said...

I'm so, so, so glad green is your first entry in the new thesaurus! My MC's love interest has green eyes, and I was running out of new ways to describe them!

You ladies are awesome! Keep it up!

Angela said...

Thanks everybody! I hope this helps!

Vicki, I'm not sure about the magic well, but Becca and I have struggled with creating vivid description in the past and thought these lists would help others struggling as well.

Anne Spollen said...

Cool list -- not a list person in the slightest, but that was actually fun to read.

Donna said...

This thesaurus is going to be great! I can't wait to read more and I'll definitely pimp the book idea on my blogs! They would be an enormous help to all writers.

Hannah said...

OHMIWORD! Thank you so much! This will be EXCEPTIONALLY helpful for Nano! ^^

Miguel, Eloy, Fran, Danny said...

wow, this is absolutely fantastic! thanks a great deal for putting up this essential info

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