Thursday, August 20, 2015

Western Romance in Full Color

by Lyn Horner

A couple years ago a good friend of mine, Sharla Rae, was preparing a blog post on the use of colors to draw readers into a book and help them "see" the characters and scenes clearly. She asked me to contribute a few short excerpts from my Texas Devlins books to help illustrate the point of her post. Today, I'd like to share those bits with y'all. See if you agree that colorful description makes a story more vivid.

From White Witch – on the night of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871:

Bright sheets of fire flapped in the air, frighteningly beautiful in hues of orange, gold and angry red. Flung out by the murderous blaze, burning debris scattered hither and yon, a threat Jessie constantly fought, using a blanket to smother cinders that fell on the wagon.
2015 Cover for Amazon

From Darlin’ Irish in the Omaha Union Pacific depot

Finding a gap in the crowd, David caught sight of a red-faced young corporal. The trooper bobbed and weaved, arms raised to fend off blows being rained upon him by a woman in a brown poke bonnet. Her weapon was a heavy looking black reticule.

2015 Cover
From Dashing IrishAt a Saturday night social, Lil’s view of a man she doesn’t like:
He was big, with strong, even features and shoulder-length blond hair. In his dark blue shirt with its fancy yellow piping, he was easy on the eyes. He was also vainer than a turkey cock. 
2015 Cover from Charlene Raddon
Also from Dashing Irish Tye Devlin’s impression as the cattle drive nears Fort Worth:
Fort Worth rose against the warm, crystal-blue morning on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River.
From Dearest IrishJack is a blacksmith and cowboy on the Double C ranch
. . . [Rose] recognized Choctaw Jack by his long, midnight black hair, tied back with a leather thong at his nape, and by the healed red scar across his left shoulder blade. . . . Coated with sweat in the heat from the forge, his muscular arms and torso gleamed like molten copper.
2015 Cover by Charlene Raddon

Okay, readers, what do you think? Can you picture characters and settings better if an author describes them in color? Does it bother you when there isn’t enough color description? I'd love for you to share your thoughts.


  1. Lyn--you have done a great job! I love these snippets using the color. I am a "color" person...I don't like anything very flashy, but if I notice anything about the clothing of any person, male or female, it's the color or colors. I'm picky...I'll see a man with a rust colored shirt paired with a pair of dark greenish slacks, and I inwardly cringe. My husband is slightly color blind, so he always checks with me to see if his slacks or jeans go with a shirt he has chosen. He always listens to me..either "change the shirt," or "you did a good job today." Colors in stories are important...and you do have the knack. Good post-I truly enjoyed it.

    1. Celia, I like you, always aware of colors. I also cringe when I see weird combinations on men ...or women. Glad your husband listens to you!

      I'm happy you like the excerpts.

  2. No Lyn, I think we should all use colorless, bland descriptions to promote our books. LOL Of course, I'm kidding. The use of specific colors certainly can invoke an emotion response: blue could make a person feel serene, red screams caution and danger, and so on. As much as I like old classic black and white movies, I admit, I'd rather see them in color.
    I enjoyed your blurbs. I have Darlin' Irish. Your covers are so lovely, too.

    1. Hehehe! You had me going there for a moment, Sarah. Wicked girl! :)

      Charlene Raddon did all my new Texas Devlins covers. I agree, she did an outstanding job.

  3. Lyn, I enjoyed your post and the vivid examples from your books. I love reading books by writers with a flair for the visual. And I am a firm believer as a writer to incorporate all 5 senses into scenes. :)

    1. Agreed, Ashley. If we want our readers to become fully immersed in our stories, we need to engage all their senses. For me, color has always been one of the most important elements. In fact as an art instructor years back, one of my specialties was demonstrating color blending for my students.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Your descriptions are always exceptional, Lyn. Looking forward to the next book.

    1. Caroline, coming from you that's a real compliment. Thank you so much!


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