color palettes

kitsune_zen made a comment last night, about different settings/story sets of hers having different colors in her head. Which added another item to my list of Weird Metaphors Through Which I Perceive Stories.

Midnight Never Come is, in my head, strongly influenced by Shekar Kapur’s Elizabeth (the one with Cate Blanchett). It’s shadowy and dark, with dark rich jewel tones. Invidiana’s black and silver and cold glittering gems.

The Waking of Angantyr, to pick an unpublished novel, is a palette of blues (midnight and pale ice blue) and grey-browns that have no real warmth to them. Welcome to the bleak Viking revenge epic, eh?

The Vengeance of Trees has jewel tones again, but they’re brighter than MNC’s, and warmed up with copper and gold.

Sunlight and Storm is the brightest of the lot: sunshine gold, the blue of a midwestern sky, the grey-blue of a thunderstorm, the yellow-green of plains grass. With a cameo appearance by the variegated earth tones of badlands.

Not everything has colors in my head (notice the absence of Doppelganger, for example), but somet things do. How about you all? Stories/novels you’ve written or read, what color palette do they evoke in your mind?

0 Responses to “color palettes”

  1. mrissa

    Off the top of my head — since I’m supposed to be cooking, not doing lj — Dwarf’s Blood Mead and The Mark of the Sea Serpent are very high-contrast books, very saturated colors, deep blues, lively greens, blinding whites, dark granite greys.

    • Marie Brennan

      Sounds about right, since those are Norse-based too, right? And if you just imagine them drained of life, you’ve got The Waking of Angantyr, wherein the draining of life out of everything is an important part of the plot.

      • mrissa

        Very Norse-based. But it looks like the as-yet-untitled Aesir noir novel will be draining the color out the other side (leaving everything muddy rather than ice-ish); I wonder if they’d end up reading that way, too. Maybe someday we’ll find out.

  2. dsgood

    Sounds to me like synesthesia, though it’s not among the types discussed here:

    • Marie Brennan

      Ish. I find myself wondering where one draws the boundary between synaesthesia and just odd metaphors. I think I might have a mild bit of synaesthesia in the way music translates to abstract motion in my head (which could have been intriguing, had I pursued my interest in dance choreography), but the ways in which stories are colored or textile-y in my head might not quite merit that label.

  3. kitsune_zen

    Well, as mentioned, The Carpet-Weaver Tales have an earthy color palette of the kind that you might get with natural dyes: red-browns, bricks, some saffrons and periwinkles, mossy greens. The City of Light and Shadow has jewel tones, brighter ones for the upside — I’m specifically reminded of the jades and golds of the Roman Springs in Bath — and darker for the underside — onyx and amethyst and garnet. The Broadcast Signal of the Universe is in urban-goth/rave colors, with lots of metallics and chromes. All in all, a nice trefecta for a Teleidoplex ;>

    • Marie Brennan

      Described that way, I’m now seeing The City of Light and Shadow as Midnight Never Come with The Vengeance of Trees sitting on top of it. <lol>

      • kitsune_zen

        Probably about a century later, and more Mediterranean than Brittanic. Plus, though I’ve only talked about Vengeance of Trees with you, I never got the idea that you went particularly undercity/urban with it…wheras I’m thinking sewers and catacombs for the Shadow part. Figure Dangerous Beauty as opposed to Elizabeth (we’ll meet in the middle and watch Queen Margot together for inspiration. Oh, the yumminess!);>

        • Marie Brennan

          No, see, that’s why TVoT is on top. It’s sort of vaguely Renaissance Italianate, at least in its colors, though the Elizabethan theatre scene is what got me started on it. MNC is darker and on the bottom for the undercity part (the Onyx Hall is literally beneath London anyway).

  4. diatryma

    This is one of the times I just have to look at what I can see of your brain and shake my head. Stories? Colors? Not my think. I don’t know how I see stories, but it’s not color-related, not directly. The colors are part of a bigger association, part of still shots and random scenes, rather than being just there.
    I like your brain. It’s interesting.

    • Marie Brennan

      Hey, if you think this metaphor’s wonky, I heard somebody — I think it was Karina Sumner-Smith, though I might be wrong and it might be Mrissa or Sarah Elliott or somebody — talk about how stories “spin” in her head. As in, she puts them on a mental fingertip and spins them around to see how they wobble.

      Writers’ brains in general are weird places.

      • diatryma

        I’ve seen that one, and it seems to fit me a little better. The metaphor for a story seems to depend to a certain extent on the story.

      • diatryma

        And it’s not that I think the metaphor’s off, just that it’s not one I can currently grab onto. I like seeing things like that.

      • ksumnersmith

        I’m way late to this thread, but yep, that’s me. I have a very visual/tactile sense of story shape and structure. It’s all about movement and density.

        Not so much about colour, though, which I find fascinating.

        Writers’ brains are weird places indeed. *g*

        • Marie Brennan

          For me, the visual/tactile aspect is that I sometimes think of stories as textiles, where one thread may be too tight and warping everything else, or a certain patch might be too losely woven.

          All hail the weirdness!

  5. ninja_turbo

    GeeKon is concrete gray, convention-center light white, rose-red, and the almost-pastel of ancient ‘color-me-in-with-wax’ polyhedral dice.

    The Sinking of Quloo (which still needs a better title) is sky blue, cloud white and grey, aged-wood brown and the silver-grey of steel.

  6. selenya

    The one story that really jumps out at me for colors is Dog People, which is filled with autumnal colors – the bright reds and oranges of dying leaves, and the pure white of a snowy cat. 😀

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