P.R. Mason Entanglements Book Tour: In (More Than) Living Color
Please help me welcome Entanglements author P.R. Mason to GraveTells today!
Over the past few years I’ve become more and more analytical when I’m reading. It’s the curse (and the blessing) of an author, I suppose, to be hyper aware of the “structure” and “technique” in a novel. When a book really engages me and sparks emotion, I have to go back and analyze the methods the author used to tell their story. I don’t want to copy their book but I do want to use their techniques. And the other day I saw a movie that reminded me filmmaking techniques can also teach some novel writing lessons.
The film was Midnight in Paris with Owen Wilson. The plot was cute and had a good payoff on the theme. The screenplay was extremely witty, but the “writing” lesson I came away with was about the use of color saturation. The setting, Paris, become almost a character by the way Woody Allen played with coloration. At the beginning, when the hero had an idealized view of the city, the color saturation was pushed on the Paris scenery to the greatest point possible without becoming cartoony. Paris, as depicted, was gorgeous. It had a postcard perfect look with bluer blues, reds more luscious and greens the height of crisp. At the end, when the hero had a more realistic view of the city, the color saturation was reduced back to ordinary levels. This technique was, in my opinion, well used along with dialogue and plot twists to show the character’s arc.
The same technique was used in reverse in the 2004 British mini-series, North and South, starring my favorite actor Richard Armitage. ***Author’s note: if any of my friends are reading this they are laughing at my RA obsession right now. Anyway, in that series, the filmmakers reduced the color saturation, making the northern mill town more gray and stark, at the beginning of the story to reflect the heroine’s dislike. By the end, the coloration had warmed along with her opinion. (BTW the director of North and South, Brian Percival, is also behind the wildly successful Downton Abbey.)
The same technique is available to novelists. Our words create our color saturation levels. In describing setting, we can reflect a character’s arc by our choices. By our words we can convey the character’s view of his/her setting as bleak, stark, and gray. Or the character can see the setting as lush, green, and beautiful. The trick is to do it without the reader ever knowing that you’re “pushing” the color saturation levels. Harsh sounding, hard edged words with sharp consonants can work on the reader’s subconscious to communicate a gray emotional color level just as softer, flowing words, can convey a green lush color level.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my discussion of technique. But if I have, go rent North and South right now as a cure. Richard Armitage…. so yummy.
Also, I hope you check out my urban fantasy/paranormal romance, ENTANGLEMENTS.