Thursday, August 27, 2009

the importance of colour

Current work: revisions on Med book
Listening to: Kansas
Reading: Louise Allen, The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst (fantastic, so far – but then again, Louise never disappoints. Maybe should’ve saved this one as a carrot for doing revisions.)

Took the kids to see G-Force yesterday. Not bad, but we won’t be rushing out to get the DVD.

When DH came home, we went shopping for paint and I discovered to my dismay that Homebase no longer stocks Soft Jade. It’s still on the Dulux website; however, it’s not one of the ‘new’ colours, so I suppose that was why it wasn’t on the shelves. Too much of a faff to have the colour made up for us, so we picked another shade, which is a little darker (‘Blue Reflection’ – a pale teal) and came home to check it out: it’s also in the ‘calm blues’ section, so it should be fine (and, more importantly, work with my new duvet covers).

I could be a bit flaky here and talk about colour psychology. I did some quite interesting research on the subject for magazine articles, a few years back, and how colours can influence mood. I discovered a couple of articles yesterday which claim that yellow is not a good colour for walls. Apparently, babies cry more in yellow rooms, and people are more likely to argue in yellow rooms. There wasn’t any research in the article to back up the claims, though it’s probably linked to the idea of yellow being a mental stimulus. (Hmm. Had it been my article, I would’ve had an expert quote to back it up, and/or a reference to a research paper, because that statement needed qualifying. It’s also too sweeping, because the effect of the colour depends on the shade of yellow and the quality of the daylight in the room – whether it’s morning or afternoon light, plus the room’s orientation. Not to mention the fact that it looks different again at night, and that depends on the way the room’s lit – whether it’s harsh overhead light or muted by table lamps/use of uplighters. And it also depends on the colour of your furniture and flooring.)

We’ve chosen ‘Egyptian Sand’, which is pretty much what it says on the tin: a soft, sandy yellow. I think it makes the rooms feel large, warm and welcoming during the day, and cosy at night. (White ceiling, light oak flooring, terracotta soft furnishings with cushions to match the walls.)

Also arranged to swap the paint DH bought: the dreadful indigo is no more, and son chose a more sensible shade. (DH is trying to brazen it out, but he knows it was a mad decision and it will go down in family legend.) I guess I’m lucky son didn’t spot the metallic shades and ask for one of those. (Hmm. They were just starting to be trendy when I used to write for First Home, at the beginning of the decade. Am a bit surprised they’re still in.)

Other than that, lovely ed came back to me with revisions. It’s nice to be getting back to work; however, I must ignore the fact that I know she’s on holiday next week, or it will tempt me to be a lazy mare and do absolutely nothing for a few more days. I know it would be far more sensible to ease myself back in to work (and start using Lotus Organizer again, working to schedules and timetables - otherwise, tasks expand to fill the space and you don't get as much done). Just as I’m tweaking bedtime to get the kids back to sensible school bedtimes by Sept 4...

Plan for today: think about how I’m going to restructure the book, and maybe take the kids bowling. And I’m going to try a slightly different way of plotting – the sticky notes on a blank wall thing. Except I lose bits of paper (dog brushes against board, wags his tail, and sticky notes go missing), so I’m going use text boxes in Word. If I use a highlight on the text, I'll be able to see what I’m doing in two-page view – i.e. the same effect as using different coloured notes – and be able to shuffle things round. Not sure if it’s going to work for me (my instinct tells me it's likely to make me structure things with my head rather than my heart), but it’ll be good for me to work outside the box and try something different. And if it doesn't work, that's fine: I'll go back to my usual way of plotting.

Question of the day: how do you tackle plotting?

16 comments:

India said...

My tip of the day: NEVER let your husband go shopping for stuff that matters. Mine did the uniform day for daughter #2's new school because it was the day before my last deadline. I spotted straight away that the blazer he'd got was a mile too big for her, but only yesterday did we realise that the skirts are too small...

Good luck with easing back into work. I'm going to go for the icy plunge next week. Will you hold my hand?

Caroline Storer said...

Hi Kate. I'm in the process of using index cards. One for each chapeter. These will go on my small fibre noteboard that I keep by my desk. Hopefully I can then see how each chapter pans out and links to each other. Otherwise it's "by the seat of my pants writing". Going to experiment with some sort of computer programme - maybe the one Michelle Styles was blogging about the other day - but I don't want to confuse myself. Take care. Caroline x

Donna Alward said...

In keeping with India's comment - also never leave husbands in charge of school picture day. Husbands just don't do girls' hair well.

As far as yellow walls - we have a warm yellow through our kitchen and foyer and I adore it. It is so sunny and warm and cozy. My office is slightly darker, a shade called Burnt Sugar and a cozy yellow-gold set off by wide white trim. Again - love it.

I love earth tones so it works for me. I also like red - we painted our front door a colour called cinnamon cherry.

About plotting - yuck. LOL. I tend to do a colour coded synopsis after the fact, and see where I have some colours missing. That helps a lot.

Nell Dixon said...

Oh dear, I don't plot. I have a document for eachbook that I paste stuff in that I think might be important or that might be needed later. It makes for fun reading at the end of the book. One of the notes for a new book just says 'Mr Flibble is a cat' I think I failed plotting 101.

Jill said...

It's interesting to hear how all you pubbed folks do it. I hate plotting, but I've come to accept I have to do it otherwise people will have long conversations and do nothing for the whole book.
I've tried post it notes and all sorts of boards and it's just too messy for my already very messy office/husband's office/living area.
I borrowed something I heard at the RWA conference in D.C. that I liked. "write down 20 things that have to happen in your book." That sounded less daunting than the word "outline." I wrote down 40 things since I tend to have problems beefing up conflict for my scenes (working on that too). It's just a Word document that I keep open and reference while I write.
I like a lot of the ideas here. Anything that doesn't involve picking up post it notes off the carpet! ;-)

Kate Hardy said...

India - mm, I've been there. Good luck with the icy plunge, and of course I'll hold your hand :)

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - that's a really interesting way of doing things. And you're so brave, being a pantster. The idea fills Little Miss Nerd here with horror!

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - LOL on the girls' hair. I remember my dad being terrible with hair, too.

Love the sound of the colours on your walls, and what a fab name for the colour of your door.

Hmm, colour-coding AFTERWARDS. That's clever. Might try that one, too (even though I'm a plotter).

Kate Hardy said...

Nell - what a FABULOUS note. I'm smiling, even thinking about it. (And for some reason, I can hear Rowan Atkinson reading it. Probably because we've been watching way too much Blackadder, this hols.)

Kate Hardy said...

Jill - that was the problem I have with a plotting board. There's a pic somewhere of Will Self's office, and there are literally hundreds of sticky notes on the wall. In this house, the dog would shove past a child and knock some off, a child would accidentally knock more off, youngest would be helpful and stick them back up (but not in the same order)... chaos city!

I do like the "20 things that have to happen" idea. A bit like the Black Snyder beat sheet that Anne McAllister raves about.

And I think I might do a blog on plotting, next time I have to do a group blog post...

Lacey Devlin said...

Indigo? What's wrong with indigo???? ;)

Kate Hardy said...

LOL, Lacey.

Take one almost-a-teenager boy and one small bedroom. Cover in indigo paint and watch it shrink...

Oh, wait. Does this mean I'll be taller than son again? :o)

Olivia Ryan said...

I'm not a good plotter, I'm afraid. I have an outline, which gets changed a lot as I go along, and I have a notebook with lots of scribbled ideas in it. Then I do a chapter summary, very brief, in the notebook after writing each one. That's it. I feel very inadequate when I read how cleverly and efficiently most writers work!

Shirley Wells said...

I adore yellow. My study is yellow - 'Sandy Shores' - and I find it warm, sunny and welcoming.

As for plotting, pah. Can't do it. I just have to go for it and hope for the best.

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - we all work in different ways, and I'm fascinated to see how others work. I need lots of discipline and structure in place, otherwise I float around and end up scrapping every single word :o)

Don't feel inadequate. Vive la difference!

Kate Hardy said...

Shirley - what a lovely name for a colour. (Eyeing the Egyptian Sand and wondering what kind of idiocy made me buy matt paint that's already showing fingerprints going up the stairs...)