1. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida

    The Color of Burnt Anxiety

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ClusterChuck, Jan 19, 2012.

    I like seeing the stories I write through the eyes of my characters. I allow them to show me things I hadn't expected to write from the onset. In psych-heavy pieces this leads to interesting challenges. One I love facing is when my MC is struck with the mind aching setting of colors beyond his (my) normal perception. Usually through the aid of dimension/hallucination/doors-of-life-and-death type scenerios.

    What I end up with is lines like:
    The whole scene was tinted in a color born in a neighborhood past red and orange that sparkles and hisses and never sleeps.

    Or:
    From the being's words came a play of light that cast a hue unknown to my living eyes. In them I heard the color of burnt anxiety.

    How do you describe the implausible?

    And, who should I be reading for inspiration? Besides Dante, him I know inside out.
     
  2. TheWritingWriter
    Offline

    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    A little to the left
    From the being's words came a play of light that cast a hue unknown to my living eyes. In them I heard the color of burnt anxiety.

    I probably read that sentence about 10 times, each time liking it even more. I love to play with words like this. On a really creative night, I'll just come up with the most brilliant stuff and just have the time of my life. And it's creative little lines like this, when I find them by other authors or create them myself, that make my night. That's me, though. I'm passionate about holding words in high regard.

    "In them I heard the color of burnt anxiety." This one line intertwines three concepts: hearing, sight, and emotion. Some description is so intense that it's so specific but ambiguous at the same time. Specific enough to get the point across, but ambiguous enough for you to interpret a line in more than one way.
     
  3. Kallithrix
    Offline

    Kallithrix Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    UK
    These make absolutely no sense to me at all. I am very literal, and most of the time I abhor things that do not make sense - abstract poetry makes my eyes bleed. People being 'clever' with words by mashing together incompatible metaphors and spouting nonsensical gibberish make me want to beat the author to death with a dictionary.

    So, I'm sorry, but I can't really help you. This kind of writing is anathema to me.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    be careful what you wish.
    one is entitled to their own ways of expressions, It is not yours to beat anyone with a dictionary because you do not take to their gibberish.
    I would suggest ignoring or not reading it. One has to learn that differences is what makes the world tick.
     
  5. Cacian
    Offline

    Cacian Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,907
    Likes Received:
    5
    implausible is part of the fun and to describe something unbelivable is exactly like watching superman fly to rescue a plane on his onw back and land it safely to the grounds.
    It is interesting you used 'hearing' when subjecting the reader to ''see,process then think'' first.
    In other words I am not able to hear when I am reading I can only imagine inside my little word of imagination then hopefully process it out onto spoken or written words until then I am able to hear it or see it again in a different light.
    I think I would have described it differently:

    ''In them I see/I breath/I string a breeze of relief as anxiety dissipates and emotions run free upon a hazy sky of blues.''
    something like that.
     
  6. bethklewis
    Offline

    bethklewis Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    London, UK
    Oy. This is purple prose gone mad. I totally agree with Kallithrix. Those sentences don't mean anything, they don't tell me anything about a scene and the first one is especially hard to read -

    The whole scene was tinted in a color born in a neighborhood a past red and orange that sparkles and hisses and never sleeps.

    A tint is a colour, so you're basically saying it was coloured in a colour. The repetition of 'in a' is laboured and disrupts the flow, as do the 3 uses of 'and'. This sentence makes no sense. What does the neighbourhood have to do with red and orange and sparkles and sleeping? If it was, for example written as - 'The whole scene was the colour of my neighbourhood in summer, the reds and oranges of the late evening, the sparkling of the river in the sunset, the feeling that the day will never end and we will never sleep'. Would make a bit more sense, still purple as a dinosaur but it tells the reader something.
     
  7. Kallithrix
    Offline

    Kallithrix Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    UK
    Exactly. I expressed an opinion, and I am entitled to it.

    Ok, I know I said I am very literal, but you really do take the cake, Cacian. Do you honestly think I go round murdering people whose opinions differ from my own? Even though SOME people I might want to make an exception for...

    Um... yes. Why don't you try taking your own advice next time you feel like starting another random thread about your very narrow and prescriptive concepts of literature?
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Nicholas C.
    Offline

    Nicholas C. Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    5
    The first sentence is a bit of a trainwreck to me. Sorry, just my opinion.

    The second one I like a fair bit better. Although the bit about "heard the color" screams of trying to hard to be abstract.
     
  9. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Both lines are examples of a style that was pulled from two different pieces mid-paragraph. Alone they may be jackpawed but i didn't feel like pasting the entire paragraph for context purposes. Trust me they both make sense in the flow of the narrative.

    Thanks for the critiques though. You'll find 'By Water' in the novels workshop if your truly interested.

    My only questions here are how do you write things like colors that don't exist.
    And
    Who should I be reading that does this well?
     
  10. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    The color in which the scene was satutrated was born in a nieghborhood along the lines of red and orange, but further out closer to the train tracks, where things get loud and more alive.

    Its suppose to give the impression the scene was cast in a hue somewhat like a red but further out, unreal, and unruly. This is clear in the tone and context of the story but I could see how it's can be seen in a odd light all on its own. The absolute newness of the color was most important though.

    Tinted could also mean uniformly satutrated.
     
  11. TheWritingWriter
    Offline

    TheWritingWriter Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    A little to the left
    Yes! You and Cacian are both right! You are most certainly allowed to have an opinion. And you're allowed to express your opinion. However, lines like the one quoted above are unacceptable in my opinion. If you don't like abstract poetry? Awesome. Totally your thing. I completely respect that. However, I'm probably out of place but I'd like to suggest that in the future you might want to re-phrase your thoughts, and use ideas other than violence to get your point across. One day someone might consider it a threat, whereas ClusterChuck might just be too busy or an easy going guy to care about a comment someone didn't think out. Again, might not be my place. Take it or leave it. Just a suggestion. :/
     
  12. Nicholas C.
    Offline

    Nicholas C. Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    5
    The context is irrelevant. Saying that you "heard a color" doesn't make sense in any context. As I said, it's trying a little too hard to be abstract. Just my $0.02
     
  13. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    I'm thinking that that colour would be a sort of umber with a bitter aftertaste!
     
  14. prettyprettyprettygood
    Offline

    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Edinburgh

    On this one, I don't think you're a million miles away from what you're aiming for. I like the idea of using a neighbourhood to explain a colour, but at the moment it doesn't quite work to me- playing around with the words some more could really help. I'd explain my thoughts more but this isn't your question so I'll stop :p


    On your actual question of reading recommendations, I'm not generally fond of this type of writing so my knowledge is limited but you might want to read, or find extracts of books about magic. Just as an example I recently read the first of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series, and I'm sure there are descriptions of magical colours in there. These types of descriptions may not be as abstract or complex as what you are looking for, but might give you some ideas.
     
  15. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,722
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    I'm afraid I have to side with those who say this stuff doesn't make sense. I understand that you're striving for something beyond normal human experience, and that's a valid thing to do, but it seems to me that you've climbed a ladder that isn't high enough for you, and are now reaching for rungs that just aren't there. So you come up with concepts like hearing colors and burnt anxiety, which really have no meaning. I don't believe that you yourself are seeing in your own mind what you want your reader to see, and you're substituting words for that lack. You're trying, but your sentences have no meaning.

    I think this is where metaphors come in. Instead of clouding your prose with concepts that don't make sense, invent metaphors, even rather elaborate ones, that actually help the reader understand the vision you have in your head. What ARE you actually seeing in your mind? Is it really something that is outside of the experience of normal readers? Can you come up with a metaphor, an image, that makes the reader feel what you want him to feel about your scene? Don't just throw random words at the problem; come up with an image - a powerful image.
     
  16. Kallithrix
    Offline

    Kallithrix Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    UK
    I'll leave it, thanks. I express myself in terms that *I* deem acceptable. Whether that offends those delicate flowers who haven't the sense to take it in the tongue in cheek tone it was meant really isn't my concern.
     
  17. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi again,

    The color in which the scene was satutrated was born in a nieghborhood along the lines of red and orange, but further out closer to the train tracks, where things get loud and more alive.


    For me the above line just seems a little wrong and I find the image of the train tracks confusing. Maybe it could be rewritten something more along these lines:

    The scene was saturated in colour. Hues in the neighbourhood of orange and red, but further out towards the busy part of town where things became louder and more vibrant.

    NB: You used loud and alive so I copied that as closely as I could, but a thought hectic might be a good word.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    I really love both descriptions (I won't comment on slight errors in them, but the syntax is great). This to me looks like synaesthesia, and I for one can fully identify with it because I experience words as colours often.
    But expressions like these should be few and far between in any piece of prose, otherwise, if there is no actual firm substance to it, too much of this can lead to purple prose.
     
  19. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank you, you seem to grasp my game. The first is from a novella about a boy taken into his unconscious mind and many more less possible places by an entity from the future that can astral project through space/time as she 'dreams.' This is taught to her by her species's overseers that harvests her and her kind for energy. Yes those Overseeing slave drivers are what humans will turn into in a couple thousand millenia.

    The second one you hit right on the head. It's a doors of death story about a man perceiving reality after the death of his physical senses. There's a coming together in way where the senses are felt from one source. Soul. And not all the things we 'see' on the way to the other side is benign and uplifting. Synaesthesia was a definite inspiration for this one.
     
  20. kablooblab
    Offline

    kablooblab Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    at home
    I love how you never budge. Too many people are quick to jump to the apologies and winky emoticons when someone doesn't like their post
     
  21. RusticOnion
    Offline

    RusticOnion Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    8
    I'm sorry, but this seems beyond abstract to me, when you're describing something it should be to clarify said "thing" not confuse the reader even more. You also need to work on grammar and punctuation.
    In this sentence you're giving the sound a color, then you're giving the color a sound which is a color of an emotion which has a smell. Do you understand how irritating that is?

    The aura of the cyrstal gave off an aroma of liquid fear, bathed in the red hue of it's cursed chimes. <--- this is probably alot worse than what you did (It's also in reverse) but I'm just trying to give you an example of how damaging this is to the reader's immersion, and the flow of the story itself.

    If you want to describe something abstract or alien to us, you need to relate it to something we know, like in science fiction when we describe aliens we typically use animal similies.
     
  22. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    It's cool, it wasn't the first time I was threaten to be beaten to death with a dictionary over my writing. I actually respect Kaillithrixes stance.

    I hate pasta and everytime I'm in a italian resturant and I hear someone ask what is some really good speghetti they should try out to, ya know, enrich thier pasta eating world... Well I have to fight the urge of charging thier table and twisting thier jugular with a fork. I totally get it. [insert winky emoticon]

    Now can somebody please tell where I can find some off the wall literature akin to Dante'd Divine Comedies so i can see how i can better express myself when i do chose to enter the fifth dimension, and come back think to myself, "How do I describe that feeling of being completely immersed in warm honey pulsating with a color six degrees north of the coziest blue," at the risk of my own safety, of course. What with the literary climate and all.
     
  23. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    Okay that particular line was in a tangent of the story that was stumbling in it's own imagary because the MC was in fact stumbling in the images of his newly acquainted reality. The color was tripping over it's audibility because that is what the charater saw. In his own words, he actually makes more sense of this new world as the story goes on. And his images become more coherent. It's an experimental piece and far from perfect. Again, out of context it's just a jackpawed sentenced and a bad example of what i'm getting at.

    I really just want to know who does this well so i can learn a bit more about writing the absurd.
     
  24. RusticOnion
    Offline

    RusticOnion Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    8
    You could try Some of Ray Bradbury's earlier stuff?
     
  25. ClusterChuck
    Offline

    ClusterChuck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Messages:
    164
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Florida
    I've actually been told to check out some ray bradbury years ago. Never got around to it. Thanks mate.
     

Share This Page