When a character grabs me by the scruff of the neck and says “Write me damn it,” the first thing I do is look them in the eyes. What do their eyes tell me about their personality? Hmmm. How do I find that right shade of blue, green, grey, brown or mauve?
If you are as nuts as I am about getting the right colour without it being clichéd then you already know to look at magazines, look to nature, paint palettes and to study the people you deal with every day. My children are always asking me, “Why are you staring at me like that?” It’s nothing creepy. No matter how rude they are, naughty they are being or pulling the I hate you right now glare, their big brown eyes still have a warm glow about them. I know I’m getting a cuddle afterwards.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I have three other ways of researching and finding a unique eye colour.
1) Try a book about crystals and gems. The books that not only give you the physical attributes but the spiritual and healing powers as well. Subtext, gotta love it.
2) Makeup. You heard me. Don’t use it much myself but they do come out with interesting names. Look at the names of eye shadows, lipsticks and my favourite, nail polishes. (Found the perfect name for a character because of a hue of a nail polish. What a pity I don’t have a story for her yet.)
3) Go to your local hardware store or house paint supplier and pick colour sample sheets, the paper ones. Just don’t tell them the real reason you’re there, they might think you’re weird or something. Just looking to paint your living room, that’s all. Just looking. Can’t make up your mind whether you want Torrent Blueberry or Beagle Brown for the feature wall. (I just made those colours up, but they do sound good.)
This has been a tasty morsel by,
E. J. McLaughlin
P.S. Don’t let the non-writer in the family find your stash of colour charts. You might have to start your collection all over again. Or worse still, you’ve inspired them to repaint the house. Damn it!
I just know when the sales assistant sees me coming towards the front door of their paint shop they’re thinking, not that nutbag again. But as a writer, I’ll do just about anything to get my character’s eyes right. At least it gets those pesky characters you’re not ready to write yet off your case—for a little while.