Updated: Sep 11
Imagine the satisfaction of completing your 60,000 word masterpiece, followed by your copy-editor saying it lacked color.
It has just happened to me!
As soon as they said it - I knew what they meant and - I knew they were right.
Colorful writing creates a better picture and ensures readers remember you.
I had already written and re-written the story three times, hopefully spotted and ironed out all anomalies, pretended to 'read it out loud' to make sure it scanned well, and conducted a thorough grammar and spelling check.
Q: What could possibly be wrong with it?
A: The plot was 'OK' but it lacked sparkle
If that really was the case, then I guess it would end up being a pretty bland read. What readers would remember me then, let alone come back for more?
The worst part was - I initially thought it was a good story well told. How wrong was I?
What I failed to realize was that I had missed out a most important ingredient - color.
Q: So where was this illusive 'color'?
A: It was still in my head.
I had imagined each character, scene, and turn in the plot - but I had not always expressed them in sufficient detail to ensure they were also 'real' to my reader. (Even if I had a clear picture in MY mind.)
Q: So what was the answer?
A: Add colour to your writing
Simple. I had to embark on another revision - another re-write. And add more character.
Previously I have always claimed that re-writes are - and should be - fun, as well as instructive and leading to improvement. So I could hardly refuse, let alone complain.
On the plus side, it meant that engaging a good copy-editor paid off. Better that I discovered such a glaring deficiency before publication.
One word of caution though. Inevitably, this final process may lead to 'more words being written', but be careful.
Make sure you do not merely 'pad out' areas you determine require more attention (and your copy-editor can help you to identify those sections or aspects of the story.)
Clearly, you already associate well and intimately with each character's personality, as well as locations, scenes and settings.
As long as you strive to deliver that same 'closeness' for the reader to pick up on, you should be fine, scoring 10/10 with your copy-editor and audience in your final, final version.
Now learn how to make adding colour a fun experience...
P.S. Here is the story I had to go back to and working on to add colour to my writing...