I'm fascinated by eye color and I always notice, and usually remember, eye color. I started thinking about eye color once again the other day when my husband started talking about the upcoming new Star Trek movie, which we're all greatly anticipating. Anyway, he mentioned that the "new" Captain Kirk, played by Chris Pine, has bright blue eyes – just like the old Captain Kirk played by William Shatner.
But I remembered Shatner having light brown eyes or possibly hazel eyes, and furthermore I remembered that no one in the original cast except for DeForest Kelley (Doctor McCoy) had blue eyes. Anyway, that sent us both to the internet to look it up: it turns out Shatner has brown eyes.
People are fascinated by eye color, judging by all the celebrity-sites out there that carefully catalog the eye color of the rich and famous (celebrity heights are of great interest, too). This is even though the trend in some fiction (literary, mystery, science-fiction) is to avoid giving much detail of a character's physical description. Even in those genres, eye-color is a small indulgence that most writers permit themselves.
Fortunately, our m/m genre is most closely related to the overall romance genre where physical description is not just encouraged, it's mandatory. So we writers can go all out with our fancy descriptions. As I understand it, the most common eye color to the least common is as follows: brown, blue, hazel, gray, green, and violet. Of course, we might get the urge to dress up the basic color with some fancier words.
The weirdest word for an eye-color that I remember reading recently? Ochre. The word jolted me right out of the story when I read it. I think the author was going for a tawny-brown. But I remember ochre from my childhood art classes as being a real unattractive shade of grayish-tan that oozed out of the paint-tube like mud or slime. I'd associate ochre less with eyes and more with the uniforms and mud of, say, the trench warfare in the First World War.
Eye color descriptions can be hard to do and stay away from the usual clichés such as china-blue, sky-blue, storm-gray, nut-brown, and so forth. If you're curious about how to describe eye color, see my Kindle document on Amazon: How to Write Descriptions of Eyes and Faces (Just so you know, this 15,000-word book contains the 3,651-word Eye Color list from my website plus the 1,731-word article How to Describe Eyes, also from my website. The other 9, 618 words in the book are all-new material.)
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