How I Use Color To Name Book Characters

I have synesthesia. I associate color with words, letters, and numbers. That’s right, even the word ‘the’ has a hue of its own. In fact, the word ‘writing’ is a shade of indigo, identical to the color of Writing Colorfully’s logo.

Having synesthesia fits quite well into my literary talents. In fact, synesthesia helps me when it comes time to name my characters. The process for naming a character has more to do than a name just “feeling right” or matching in origin to the setting or time period.

It has to do with color.

Whether I’m writing a novel or short story, naming the characters within the piece is an important decision to make. I take it seriously and don’t like to mindlessly label my characters with a name just so I can jump into the exposition.

While I am outlining, I group my characters together based on their relationship, whether family or friendship-wise and even romantically. From there, each character within that group are named based off of a single color or a related color scheme.

For example, the main characters in my last short story are Marcus and Sophia. Both of these names are maroon or a darker red. In my mind, the color they exude are related and therefore, these names fit together.

In the novel I am writing, the two main characters create an orange and yellow color scheme, Brandon and Zoe. Zoe’s friends have their own group through a red and orange scheme with Abby, Hannah, and Ophelia. Brandon’s friends Tanner, Nate, and Lucas are a neutral color palette.

Each writer has their own system for naming their book characters. Some take extra time to select the name based off of its origin or meaning, while other authors look toward other factors.

For me, synesthesia strengthens my relationship with words, writing, art, and the action of creating altogether. The fact that I am able to use synesthesia in a unique way to help with the process of writing, is very interesting and special to me. Synesthesia allows me to bring my characters to life a bit more, while also allowing me to visualize their name in a more colorful way.

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