Choosing Adjectives… or Not.

The how-to books on writing page-turners basically say that you should use adjectives sparingly. I suppose they’re right, but it ain’t necessarily that simple…

If your viewpoint character is an artist, she’s going to see color, contrast and shadow. When she talks (inner monologue, regular dialogue and description), she’s going to use specific names for colors that would require a troglodyte to get out a thesaurus after asking his wife what color the old Volvo was – not purple or red, but…

“Mauve,” my wife would say, or maybe, “Burgundy.”

Mauve or burgundy would work if your narrator (vp character) is an artist (a painter). The fact that you’re an artist, however, is no reason to write like one. You may be a famous artist as well as a poet with a vocabulary of caged puppies ready to burst out, but if your viewpoint character is a garage mechanic, she’s…

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