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Playing with Paint Chips

Playing with Paint Chips

Playing with Paint Chips

Do you have a word you use so much that it has lost its’ impact? I overuse the word “juicy.” I am so thirsty for some “non-juice words,” but I’m stuck in a rut.  Searching the thesaurus, I come up with “succulent” “racy” or “robust”-all fine choices. But, sometimes I need a bit more originality. So, here’s a little trick we use in our writing circles to add some real flavor to sentences—playing with paint chips!

Next time you’re at the hardware or paint store, grab a few strips of paint. Take a look at the color names—they are so juicy (See, I can’t stop using that word!). Today, I have a handful of green squares with fun colors like: “celery ice” and “fresh lime.”

Now, the “play” part…Combine the color name with a random noun of your choice:


“Sweet pea” + elevator                             “Celery ice” + nostrils

“Neon green” + respect                            “Fresh lime” + love


Pick the word combination with the most appeal, let your imagination seep in it, then start free writing (no edits, just let it flow)…for example, I picked the green paint chip labeled “Fresh lime” and combined it with “love”:

“Fresh Lime Love”—that citrusy feeling of being newly in love, when life is full of possibility. The freshness clears your sinuses and puts your brain in a tizzy. You want to sit outside at a city cafe on a hot summer day in a strappy sundress sipping limeade while smiling into your lover’s eyes. Your thighs are so sweaty they stick to the vinyl seat, so you cross them the other way. The scruff of his beard has caught a tiny pulp of lime, and you pull it off and pop it between your fingers. You daydream about the noisy air conditioner in his apartment…

And the best part—I found an alternative to my overused word “juicy” and still got the feeling I was craving. Instead of saying “juicy,” I might try “fresh lime” as in…try this “fresh lime” writing prompt…

Here’s one more fun thing you can do with paint chips. Take a strip and try using all the wondrous paint color names to write a note to someone or a try crafting a poem. I put this one in my son’s lunch box:

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I hope you enjoy these writing tips for playing with paint chips!

Allison Fragakis is a writer, artist, songwriter who loves helping people reconnect with their exiled creative selves. Search WritingAllison.com for upcoming creative writing workshops.

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