Online College Courses for Credit

Putting Vivid Details Into Stories

Putting Vivid Details Into Stories

Author: Aleigha Ahlness

Today I am going to give you a tutorial on how to make stories more interesting.

But first of all, do you love to write?
Do you want to become an author someday? 
Well, I certainly do!
So, enough chit-chat, let's get started!

This tutorial will show you how to make your stories more interesting if they need more juicy details :)

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

47 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


All About Writing!!


Characters: Oh! Oh! This is my FAVORITE part of story writing (even though we're just at the beginning!) In this section, you can get creative and put characters into your stories! I bet you're like: "what's so special about characters? Characters are just people!" even if you aren't saying that, it still isn't true. Characters aren't just people. They can be anything actually! From animals, to objects, even plants! Anything can be a character. Do you remember in Kindergarten of you made a story about a choo-choo train? (probably not.) But that's an example, you didn't write about a person, you wrote about a vehicle! So get creative and don't just write about people (that's another way to juice up your stories.) On to the next step. 

Plot: what's a story without a plot? That's right! You CAN'T make a story without a plot! A plot is the section where you would list the events in your story, which also states the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Read the example below to find out more!
Beginning: 1. Sally meets a stray dog named Peter in her back yard.
                     2. Sally takes Peter on a walk.
                     3. After Sally and Peter were done, Sally hung FOUND DOG posters on every street corner 
                         in her neighborhood.
Middle:  1. A lady named Ms. William goes to Sally's house to explain that Peter belonged to her
                2. Sally praised the dog to Ms. William that Peter has been a lovely house guest for her and  
                    that she is sad to let him go
End: 1. Ms. William decided to let Sally visit Peter anytime she wishes

Do you get the idea of plot​? 
I hope so!

Summary:The next step of writing a story is having a summary. The summary tells the reader what the story is about. Read the example below.
Example: When Sally Brooks finds a mysterious stray dog in her backyard, she instantly knows who the dog is and who it belongs to. But there was something strange about that dog. It had glowing yellow eyes and howled at the moon. This was no ordinary dog. Could it possibly be... a werewolf?

Sure, it is a simple summary, but did you notice how I spiced it up? In my plot, it didn't say anything about Peter having the possibility of becoming a werewolf. Get the idea? Let's move on.

Rough Draft:  
this is where some people may get confused. They would most likely confuse this with a summary (let's just say a long version of one!) But the rough draft is the outline of your story. You can't just whip up your story and publish it! You have to go through something called the Author's Progress. This is when you start writing her story in messy form (not literally messy, don't spill soda on your story!) What I mean by "messy" is the first draft of your story. The reason why this is in the Author's Progress is because what if you want to make changes to your story? And so, if you've already published your story, there is no way going back to make it better. So PLEASE, ALWAYS start with a draft of your story. You can write your story by hand, or type it, either way, you'll get a good story. So let all your ideas spill out!

​Details Part 1: The best for last. You want to put lots of details in your stories, be creative! I hope you know your adjectives, because your going to be needing a lot of those! Adjectives, verbs, pronouns, nouns, and much more are in stories. If you need help with telling the differences, read the definitions below.
Adjectives: Describes a person, place, or thing. Example: The ​red​ door
 The word, red, is the adjective
Nouns: a person, place,or thing. Example: WalMart. WalMart is the noun
Verbs: an action word. Example: Sally ran. Ran is the verb.
I hope you understand on that now. On to Part 2 of Details

​Details Part 2: Now that your rough draft is in place, you need to be descriptive, not like "adjective descriptive" but expressional. Show what your characters are feeling at that moment. Are they feeling dark, vicious, curious, klutzy, happy, sad, etc.? Well, when you are expressing your characters' feelings, don't say this in a sentence: "Sally is feeling sad." Oh, PLEASE don't do that. That was SOOO 1st grade! Instead of being SOOO specific, this is what you do.
Sally felt a wave of sadness wash over her as she saw the stray dog limping toward her.
SEE? Doesn't that make that sooo much better?! That's what I mean on Putting Vivid Details Into Stories. Do you mind if I put a story in here as an example of "juicy details"? I hope you don't because if you still feel like, "whoa! I don't think I really get this" then, maybe my story will help you.
Here it is! I hope you enjoy it.
After coming home from the store during the blizzard, my house was flooded with water.
"How could this have happened?" I asked myself. Sure it was snowing but there was no leak in my roof. I called for my sister, Annie. I had to walk in the water to search for her. As I walked into the bathroom, the sink, the toilet, even the bathtub was flooded. The shower curtain was closed. I called once again, "Annie?" I opened the curtain.
I screamed.

A year earlier...
Annie and I were walking in the park one afternoon. Mother was out of town so since I was the oldest, I had to take care of my kid-sister, Annie. She can't take care of herself since she has just reached the age of five. I had a brother, sixteen in fact. But he was killed in one of the planes on 9/11. It was horrible and tragic, But we were all okay. We moved to another part of New York after that. Ever since my brother's death, mother has been going on lots of trips with our Aunt Kelly. I'm finally going to be sixteen in December. Which is two jumpy months away. Annie thinks it's her birthday everyday, which is quite annoying if you think about it.
"Bella, when we go home, can I open my presents?" she would ask me. After we fed the pigeons, we walked to Chinatown to eat at a small restaurant. I had $13.00 in the pocket of my dress. I would use whatever was left over to buy a teddy bear for Annie's "birthday". 

After we ate and got Annie's present, we walked along the shoreline in our barefeet—it was our only way home since I couldn't afford a busride. We swung our hands back and forth and sang to the birds. I was thinking about the tune my brother, Thad had taught me when were were little, when all of a sudden Annie fell to the ground. She bumped her little head on a huge boulder. I was so shocked, my throat couldn't even manage a scream. I picked up Annie and ran to the bus station.
"$3.00, Miss." the bus driver said,
"But I don't have $3.00. I spent it on something else." I explained.
"No money, no ride." he said as he began to close the door.
"Wait! Please! My sister fainted and fell on a rock! I need to get her to the hospital!" I explained.
The driver sighed and grunted but he let the us on the bus. When it was my stop, I put Annie back in my arms and started for the front of the bus. But before I could step on the stairs, the driver grabbed my arm and spun me around until I was facing him. "No money." he grunted again. "Here's the bill. I want that in by Tuesday." he said as he gave me the piece of paper. I ran off the bus without saying goodbye. I ran into the hospital and asked one of the nurses for help. The nurse nodded and took Annie out of my arms. 
I sat in the waiting room for an hour but then the nurse came in and said it was okay to take Annie home. As I followed the nurse to Annie's hospital room, I thought, How did Annie even faint?
"I happened to do so." A voice said.
"Who said that?" I said aloud.
"I didn't say anything." said the nurse.
"No, not you...someone else."
"No, I said something! How could you not recognize your own brother?"
"Thad?!" I turned around to see him but there was nothing there. I'm just getting worked up for nothing.
8 hours later...
By 9:00 Annie was feeling like her old self again. I gave her her teddy bear to keep her distracted from the lightning outside. We huddled together next to the warm fire.
"I'm going to get us some milk,okay, Annie?"
She nodded slowly.
"Stay here until I get back."
As I went to the kitchen, that familiar voice I heard at the hospital was back.
"C'mon, Bella. talk to your own brother!" it said.
"Thad? If you're here, then go away."
"I'm here. And I'm not going away." Thad said,
"I thought you were dead," I declared.
"I am. The last time you saw me was when I got on that plane." he said,
'Don't remind me." I turned around to face him. But he wasn't there. "Thad, where are you? Show yourself!"
The voice—Thad—he was gone.
I went back to the living room with the two warm mugs of milk in my hands. Annie wasn't there. "Annie? Where are you? You know I don't like to play -hide-and-seek! C'mon, Annie, I got some milk for you."
No respond. A flash of lightning struck. Then the power went out. A candle was lit in Annie's room, so I followed the light. "Oh Annie, you silly—" I gasped.
A ghost—Thad, was sitting on Annie's bed, brushing Annie's hair.
"Hi, Bella." he says darkly.
"Thad, what are you doing here?" I said with resentment. 
"Well, you said you wanted me to show myself and so as your big brother, I gave my command to your wish."
"Why are you here? Have you always been here?"
"Yeah. I haven't moved on, yet. I want to spend a little more time on the Earth Plane. And of course, be with you guys. Once you've entered the spirit realm, you stay there forever. Now what kind of dead person wants that?"
"Oh, well, I don't know...the ones who WANT to move on. TO a BETTER PLACE."
Thad rolled his eyes and continued to brush Annie's hair.
"Get away from her." I commanded. "Why can't you bother someone else—like Gwen." I can't believe I even remembered Gwen. Of course she was my sister, but it was so painful to lose her, all I wished was to forget her.
"Because Gwen has her own problems. She's trying to get some girl to resurrect her." 

"She's still our sister—she's pretty lonely."
"Well, Hello?! I'm lonely, too!" he pointed out.
"Then move on, Thad! If you move to the Spirit City—or whatever it's called—you'll find tons of people like you." That are dead, I wanted to add.
"It's called the Shadowlands. And besides, most of the spirits there are old people."
"And your point is..."
"Doesn't matter." he says.
" Cana you at least tell me why you're here, you know instead of"there"?"
He stopped brushing Annie's hair and led me to mother's room.
"I'm here because Annie is in danger."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't tell you. All I can say is—don't leave the house during the blizzard." he said in a low tone.
Before I could say, what blizzard? He was already gone.
I went back to Annie's room. She was fast asleep.

1 year later...
It was December and Mother was packing for one of her flights. "I'll be back before Christmas. I won't be here for your birthday, Bella. I am truly sorry. But I'll send you a card in the mail. I've put some funds on the counter for emergency uses on;y. Tell Annie I love her."
After that, my mother and I hugged and all and I watched her walk out the door. I had no idea how long these grieving-for-her-loss trips were going to go on.
Last year, the day before New Year's Eve, Annie was paralyzed in her leg some how and now she wasn't able to walk without assistance. Not too long after that event, Annie had nearly choked to death by a baby carrot. Thad had been coming to lurk—or what he likes to call a ghost "visiting" our house every weekend to play with Annie. It felt as if Thad were still alive. When Thad heard what had been happening to Annie, he said it was either bad luck or it was a sign to Annie's danger. I said it was absurd but I had a feeling he was right—it was a sign.

One night, I was making dinner for Annie, Thad and me. It was hard to convince Thad that the food would just past through him but he didn't care. As I was making our salads, I realized I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. So I had to go to the store. I asked Thad to watch Annie while I was gone and he agreed. I put on my winter gear and made sure it was snug because of the snow blizzard that was happening. 
When I reached the store, hardly anyone was there. There was only 4 workers and five other customers. I browsed for what I needed and checked out. The blizzard looked pretty harsh so the co-workers refused to let the customers leave. I started to get worried. Annie was home alone, I mean of course Thad is there, but to her, he's invisible. And things get pretty ugly when Annie is all by herself. But the I remembered—the sign! The blizzard! It's all dangerous! Annie's in danger! I had to get home.
"Please, me go, it's an emergency!" I yelled.
"I'm sorry, Miss, but the roads are filled with ice." a co-worker said.
"I don't have a car. I live just around the corner of this building." I explained.
"Fine." he snapped. "But get there quickly and don't turn back—no matter what." he warned.

After coming home from the blizzard, my house was flooded with water. Thad was nowhere to be seen. "How could this of happened?" I asked myself. There was no leakage in the roof, so where was the pools of water coming from? I called for Annie. No reply. The poor girl can't walk, what could be happening to her right now? I panicked. I walked in the water to search in every room. I checked almost everywhere I could possibly think of. But then I realized there was one room I haven't checked: the bathroom. As I walked in there, the sink, the toilet, the shower, even the bathtub was flooded. I turned the water pressure from the sink and the shower off. Then I went to the bathtub to do the same. The curtain was closed. I called for Annie one last time, really loud. I opened the curtain.
I screamed.

Annie....was lying there, fully under the water of the flooded bathtub.
"Annie!" shrieked. I picked her up and dried her off. Her clothes were horribly soggy. I whispered into her ear—half expecting her to wake up—or for ME to wake up...this just WASN'T real, but Annie didn't.
"She's gone." Thad said.
"But how?" I said, my own salty water flooded my eyes. I was washed with waves of sadness that I didn't pay attention to the fact that I should've been yelling at him for being irresponsible with Annie.
"She drowned." He said softly.

I was sobbing now.
"How did she even get IN the tub?" I was tensed now.
"I can't tell you. That is for you to find out. But Annie is still here."
I looked at Annie's corpse. I formed a confused look on my face.
"No, not there. Here
." Thad said as he revealed a little girl from behind him.
"Annie!" I said with joy.
"Where am I, Bella?" She looked at Thad. "Who is he?"
"He's our brother. Remember? He's Thad." I say.
Annie looked confused.
"What happened, Annie?"
"I don't know. One minute I was in bed, the I took a nap and never woke up. But I'm awake now!" she said cheerfully.
"No, Annie. You're not. You're dead. You died in the bathtub." I explain.
"But she said she was in her bed. I don't understand." Thad says.
"None of us do. That's not important right now. At lease you won't be lonely anymore. You've got Gwen AND Annie now."
"But I don't have you." he said solemnly. 
"You won't need me."
Thad and Annie gave me a big hug. They stepped back and waved. They slowly faded away. They've moved on—on to a better place.

When Bella's mother discovered Annie's death, she was sobbed for days that turned into months, that turned into years. No one exactly knew how Annie got in the tub. Only one person knew. And that person was Bella.

I know it is tragic but I shared this story with you because of all the dialog in it, all the details, descriptions, characters (even ones who weren't important!) I want to know what you think of my story. But that's besides the point. My story is to show an example of making a good story. Many more tutorials will be coming so stay tuned. :)