This month, we asked the 2019 NFFD youth short-listed writers to illustrate their stories in colour…
Simon Brown, What Charlie Left and Psycho Steve
If I were to assign a colour to my flash fiction stories I would say it would have to be a dark blue. This is because I believe they are often quite dark and gloomy, but with a depth of brightness in how they address social issues. Since blue is quite a cold colour it feels as though my stories are often starkly realistic in terms of the story and bleak in the subject matter. However, I also think that I approach the ideas in an intriguing way from a more open angle which is why there is a hint of ocean or sky in what colour they would be.
Zoe Congalton, Cleaning Clouds
If my story were to be a colour, it would most certainly be blue. Bright, beautiful, baby boy blue. The kind of blue that could almost be a very crisp white. Almost white can represent the innocence of the young child telling this tale. However, moving back to the blue, this would certainly portray some of the childish and fun themes of the story. Additional to this, the blue sky the story it based around could be easily compared. There would be no other colour that could come close to this perfect pastel blue. Not a chance.
Hannah Daniell, No Need and Gummy Bears
‘No Need’ is the colour of a red brick wall in the dark. It feels like a bit of a cop-out to say that ‘Gummy Bears’ is gummy-bear-coloured…but it is. It’s the kind of muted primary colours, just transparent enough that you think you could almost see what’s behind it but you never can.
Alice Horero-Hunt, Taking Shape
My story, Taking Shape, is about war, rebirth and memories. It’s spiritual, in a way, with this whole rebirth aspect and the symbolism of geese helping to transport a soul from the dying soldier to a new-born baby. Most of the short story is set in a battle scene. ‘Taking Shape’ is also pretty sad because the soldier dies, so, if someone was going to ask me what colour I think of, it’s grey. Grey captures war, death and smoke. But I think of white too, which reminds me of rebirth and new hope.
Maia Ingoe, Noisy Silence
‘Noisy Silence’ explores the sense of sound, a fallible narrator and visual perceptions. The colour that immediately springs to mind is a deep, dark blue. Blue is a colour that, in some circumstances, inspires feelings of being lost in something large, dark, and suffocating – like being lost under a huge body of water, at night. I feel that blue is a colour of significance in Noisy Silence, in the characters feelings of disorientation and hopelessness. A very, very dark blue, a blue suggesting something grander than oneself, and seems to me to encapsulate the key message of ‘Noisy Silence’.
Cybella Maffitt, Funeral Hymn for a lost toy, Five rules for liking girls when you are young and prone to heartbreak and Il faut laisser aller le monde comme il va
For ‘Funeral hymn’, a murky grey. It’s quite a confused story, and in places a desperate one. That sort of clouded vibe is very fitting.
For ‘Five rules’, a light blue. It has a much lighter narrative, and though a bit sad, I view it as ultimately hopeful.
‘Il faut’ would be a bubblegum pink, for obvious reasons.
Phoebe Robertson, Youth
The color that best describes my NFFD story is different for each reader. ‘Youth’ is designed to appeal to the recklessness of being young – something that everyone can relate to. It should bring up memories of similar situations or comment on how fragile life can be. How something silly – like getting in the car with someone not sober – can ruin it all. So, it should appeal to everyone differently and manifest as a different color in each reader’s mind. This ultimately expresses what all fiction is: what the reader wants it to be.
Derrin Smith, I Hope The Others Sang
‘I Hope The Others Sang’ is the colour of the sky at nighttime, when the moon is obscured by trees and your torch is beginning to fade. It is a feeling of being a little bit lost in a very big place. It is the colour of the water in a lake that is deeper than it appears. ‘I Hope The Others Sang’ is the image of wet ripped jeans illuminated by soft twinkling lights. It is the feeling of chills running up your spine, and the pure determination to keep on singing through a broken voice. For these reasons, ‘I Hope The Others Sang’ is a deep dark blue.