The Wonderful World of Color: Writing Mysteries

In a previous post, I talked about using exact color words in writing workshop. Do you have students who are mystery readers?  I was such a reader, gobbling up every Nancy drew and Bobbsey Twins book that came my way. Many of our students probably would like to try writing a mystery. Here are some other ways to use your color list as an exercise to plan a piece of mystery writing or to provide more choices for possible notebook entries.

  1. If you were writing a mystery in which someone had stolen a valuable antique necklace,
  • What color(s) would the jewels be?
  • What color green would you make it?
  • Would you make the chain banana yellow?  Why or why not?
  • What color is the jewelry case?
  1. List three things that might be called banana yellow (other than the obvious choice!).
  1. If the hero or heroine of your story had green eyes, which green would you use?
  1. What color would his or her hair be?
  1. Describe the scene where the stolen necklace was found? What color(s) is the room? Ceiling? Furniture? Or if you are outside, describe the sky. Parking lot, buildings with color words.
  1. Describe the thief’s clothing with color and texture words – even brand names.
  1. Look for descriptions of famous sleuths in books and comic books such as Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey twins, the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, Dick Tracy, Mrs. North, Lew Archer, Pierre Chambrun, Flash Casey, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Clouseau, Batman, and the Shadow. Use colors in your character snapshots.
  1. Try writing a parody of a heroic description, using any colors you wish. For example, it is one thing to say a woman’s teeth are as white as pearls.  It is quite another thing to say her teeth are as white as antique ivory or faded linen sheets!

Have some fun!

I am participating in #SOL17. Thanks to the
twowritingteachers blog team for creating and sustaining
this wonderful writing community!slice-of-life2

13 thoughts on “The Wonderful World of Color: Writing Mysteries

    • Thanks, Diane, I think I am going to try one, too. When I had my own fourth grade classroom, we tackled mystery writing on occasion because so many of my students enjoyed reading mysteries like Encyclopedia Brown and even Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!


  1. Fun with color! I can see how the kids would enjoy getting the words just right for the color they envisioned.
    PS: I loved all those same mysteries you mentioned. Did you know Trixie Belden too?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kids would have a ball with this. I could see them start with a big generalization and then narrowing it down and making it more exact by adding specific color. Thanks for the ideas. Lynne.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVE (yes, I’m shouting) this post. I am not much of a narrative story writer and I have trouble giving guidance to my writers. They seem to prefer writing narratives as opposed to the reflective style writing I do. But, this post gives me a concrete scaffold to follow. I need that to get the ball rolling. I picked my copy up of COLOR ME A RHYME and was playing around with color as suggested in your previous post. My writing piece turned a different corner and I’ll be sharing that on Wednesday. Thanks, Lynne. You have inspired the writer in my again and again!


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