While working with Antone Roundy's online Color Wheel generator to get some ideas for an e-book cover art in progress, a writing lightbulb flickered.
Everyone remembers from school what a color wheel is, right?
When people like artists, interior designers and quilters work with color, they are constantly thinking about how to put different colors together in a palette to create a certain look. Monochromatic color schemes, for example, are all tints or shades of one color (sky blue, medium blue, navy blue), while analogous schemes are all different colors which are side by side on the color wheel (green, blue, and violet.) Complementary schemes are when you put together colors from opposite sides of the wheel (green and red; blue and orange.)
I can talk color all day -- quilters are obsessed with values and patterns and such -- but that's not why I latched onto this color wheel thing. For years I've tried to explain how to balance characters in a story, but I never had a logical way to show how I do it. I always ended up trying to draw a schematic of the process and making a mess of it.
But now I'm thinking: is it possible to create a cast of characters in the same way artisans and designers use a color wheel to work out a design scheme? In romances, I know I prefer to write complementary heroes and heroines, and create sort of an analogous cast around those two contrasting characters. But the terms for color schemes don't quite translate right; we'd need personality traits to be the colors and define very different combinations. Each novel might require a new wheel, and I doubt any two writers' wheels would look the same.
It might still be too complicated a process to put together a character wheel, but I really liked the idea. It would make a great teaching tool, too. What do you guys think?