Bead Shades and Word Choices: Details Matter

Anybody who’s been to a paint store or a bead website knows this is true: there are dozens of variations on any one color. To pick just one site, Fire Mountain has somewhere over 40 different varieties of white just in Delica 11/0 alone.

Oddly enough, red is one of the colors that tends to come in a limited number of shades. Probably because just a slight departure from true red shades into what we tend to call orange, pink, brown, or magma.

But back to white. I suspect one of the reasons there are so many variations in white beads is the popularity of white for weddings. So you can have lovely designs, intricate details, and all of it still falls under the accepted category of white.

And this is where beads and words, in my mind, intersect yet again. Because writing is the ultimate two-color design: black letters on a white page.

(Unless you’ve switched around stuff in your text to have white letters on a blue page, or chartreuse on pink, or what have you. In which case, ow, my eyes salute your visual fortitude, and good luck with that.)

So a writer has just those two colors to evoke all the brilliant panoply of our 3-D, wildly colorful world. And part of the way to do that is careful choice of shades of meaning – in this case, words.

Does your protagonist run quickly or swiftly? Does the antagonist strike fear into the hearts of men, or drown all souls in a rising tide of horror? Are we looking out on a quiet dawn, a peaceful dawn, or the hush of a new day, perfect as the dawn of the world?

Details matter. Choice of words matters. Like using a matte white versus a silk-white bead in your design: do you just want to hit the viewer with a dot of white, like a drop of paint, a sailboat’s hull, or do you want a glimmer and sparkle that hints of snowflakes, sun on ice, fragile feathers?

There are reasons to use each of these. So when we’re writing, it’s always a good idea to take a step back now and again, and check if we want to use that exact word in that specific spot. Readers will appreciate it!


12 thoughts on “Bead Shades and Word Choices: Details Matter

  1. It’s a shame how many words are used so rarely, you only recognize them in print. I’ve long since lost count how many words I’ve mispronounced, simply because I’ve never heard them used. There is very little in the way of creativity in recent speech tendencies. Even cursing is less impressive, which is a real shame. Proper imagery is everything.

    Very, ok, like… not particularly effective.

    And then there’s texter’s chat. Damn, I hate texter’s chat. With the passion of a thousand dying suns, even.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re texter’s chat: Oh, yes. I am perfectly capable of using correct spelling and grammar to get my point across in 160 characters, so why, oh why, do people have to take an axe to those to do the same thing?


    2. It is so nice to hear that other people have that pronunciation problem. Though in my case its more that I read most of the time and almost never talk to people.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a sucker for well-written description or turn of phrase or a good pun. Which is probably why I enjoy the Discworld books so much . . . and Good Omens.

    I sometimes struggle with word choice in my writing. Sometimes it’s uncertainty with what image or thought I’m trying to project that is clogging the works and once that’s figured it out, the words come readily to hand.

    But sometimes I know exactly what word I want to use but I can’t spell it close enough to correct for the spell-check or dictionary to know what I’m talking about. I tend to spell out words I don’t know how to spell phonetically (which is typical for people with dyslexia) which is often very unhelpful with English words considering how many words are not spelled how they sound.

    And sometimes it’s because my dyslexia, normally very manageable, is being a singular pain in the behind for reasons known only to the powers that be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have mispronounced words I read so many times because I’d never heard them used or did not realize the written word and spoken word were the same thing. ^^;

    To date the most eloquent piece of literature I’ve read (ie the one that had me admiring the prose while I was reading) was non-fiction. The book is “Kabuki: a Baroque fusion of the arts” and I still think of it as one of the better examples of language as an art form. (yes, I am ignoring poetry and all sorts of classic prose; but after one too many bestsellers the language in this one was beautiful and not something you’d necessarily expect form a book on Japanese theater.)


    1. Brian Fagan writes some great archaeological non-fiction; Fish on Friday eloquently ties together Christian religious customs, salt taxes, and the discovery of the Outer Banks. Conrad Totman’s Early Modern Japan is also very cool history. 🙂


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