CST Entry: Yellow





Real World Comparisons

Light:

Margarine
Butter
Cooking oil/olive oil
Ripe honeydew melon
Spaghetti squash
Pasta noodles
Buttered popcorn
Baby chicks
Sunlight
onions
Under ripe corn
Pus
Sand
Elephant tusks (ivory)
Vanilla pudding

Medium:

Bananas
Lemons
The sun
Buttercups, dandelions, black-eyed Susan, daffodils, sunflowers, forsythia
Canola fields
Passing lane
Canaries
Big Bird
Mustard
Rubber chicken
Phone book
Corn
Yield signs
Fireman clothing
McDonald's arches
Egg yolk

Dark:

Autumn leaves
Old bruises
Document envelopes
honey
Used cooling oil
Citrine
Bile
Cat's eyes
School bus
Dijon mustard
Jaundice
Amber
Saffron
Topaz
Urine
Curry
Pitch/sap
Pollen
The pages of an old book

Shades of Yellow:

Ochre, blond, buff, cream, ivory, tawny, sandy, honey-toned, cream

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:

Aunt Edna flitted through the cluster of middle-aged bachelors, her throaty laughter drawing every eye as much as her flimsy bumblebee yellow sundress.

What's wrong with this example?

The description is compromised by using the comparison 'bumblebee'. The reader immediately associates it to a black and yellow striped image, not bright yellow.

A strong example:

After seven days at sea, the cloud cover finally broke. Shafts of honeyed light spilled down, gleaming against the waves, bringing us hope that the storm was finally over.

Why is this example better?

Honey is a term we associate with health, warmth and comfort. Pairing it as a descriptor for the both color and a change in weather amplifies the feelings of the characters and leaves the scene on a high note.

12 comments:

C.R. Evers said...

For some reason this list is making me hungry. ;0)

Bish Denham said...

Ooooo, daffodils. Such a lovely shade of yellow, so springy. As a kid yellow was my favorite color. Yellow room, yellow quilt.

Nate K. said...

"Ochre"? Never heard of that. But good post. :)

Mary Witzl said...

Say what you will about that being a weak example -- I find myself intrigued by the idea of Aunt Edna's bumblebee sundress!

GutsyWriter said...

I often struggle with yellow and red. The honey example is excellent. I can't wait to see your red examples.

PJ Hoover said...

I've used your Green entry like ten times today, so I'm thrilled to see another color!

Christina Farley said...

I feel a bit of sunshine just reading these words. Thanks for more great ideas!

Amber Lough said...

Ooh, good post!

Pen Pen said...

Lists of alternate words are as important to my writing as my computer is! :) Thanks for the gorgeous words!!

Kate said...

Some good ideas there. What about custard? You can't get more yellow than that.

Angela said...

Thanks Everybody! I'm glad this helps. Thanks for the custard addition--that's perfect!

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

Mary Witzl, I agree. That bee image resonated more strongly with me than the honey sunrise, and I didn't think about black in the bee at all. I would argue that most people think of bees as being primarily yellow. I love that the dress is flimsy, which I visualized as thin, like bee wings. Some image preferences depend on the reader's imagination, experiences and assumptions, which I realize is a very deconstructive belief on my part.

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