Amazing Kids! Magazine

Writer’s Tips – Tips for Writing a Knock-Your-Socks-Off Adventure Story!

By Olivia Pineda, Assistant Editor

So, let’s say that you’d like to write about a fictional adventure, or would like to describe an adventure that you once had to your readers. This could be anything from swimming in the ocean to skydiving, but there is one crucial element to writing any sort of descriptive piece: imagery. Imagery is a literary term meaning describing to your reader vivid scenes by using all of your senses to communicate. Showing what you smelled, tasted, touched, sensed, and heard are all important aspects which make up imagery. To show you how this might work, I’ll be describing to you a hike that I took in the Pacific Northwest.

The mountain looked daunting. While the hike was a mere three miles, there was a huge elevation change, which meant that it would feel like I’d be walking up thousands of stairs to get to the top. The view at the summit was said to be stunning, but I knew that the beautiful view came with a price.

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for hiking; it wasn’t sweltering, but wasn’t freezing either, with a gentle breeze slightly rustling the trees. It was fairly quiet with the exception of the sweet cries of birds soaring up ahead. The trail was narrow, just enough for two people to walk side-by-side, and comprised primarily of switchback trails which curved ever so steeply around the bend. Early on, jackets came off and light conversation turned quieter as my family and I ascended an increasingly steep and narrow path. Soon, the only sounds were of heavy breathing as the thickening trees masked any sort breeze, trapping in the heat with dense leaves.

The last two sentences of the second paragraph depict something called “showing, rather than telling”. This is an important part of imagery as well. Instead of telling you that my family and I felt tired, I showed the effects of tiredness through the cease of conversation, and heavier breathing. I’m painting a picture for you, the reader, by showing how we were tired, instead of telling you that we were tired. This allows for a more eloquent and poetic type of writing, instead of blunt, straightforward writing which “tells”, rather than “shows”.

The path seemed never-ending. Despite drinking an ample supply of water, I found each step to be laborious and energy-draining. However, as we became more and more enveloped with the wilderness, I took my mind off of my fatigue and began to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells around me. It had rained the day before, giving the forest a wonderfully earthy smell. The air had a fresh, clean scent, devoid of the typical city smell which I had grown so used to. The slightest waft sent the surrounding shrubs and smaller trees whirling together in unison, the rustling growing louder as the draft passed through more and more undergrowth. The path became slowly more crowded, and after asking a fellow hiker how long it was to the top, I felt newly invigorated once I learned that it was not far, not far at all. Suddenly, after pushing through a particularly dense clump of shrubbery, we arrived to a large clearing.

The view was, as promised, truly spectacular. The surrounding foliage framed an impressive view of an undeveloped area of Eastern Washington. I could see for miles around, and, with a lunch sandwich in hand, was finally able to sit down and really enjoy the vista with my family. While the trek itself had proved to be a bit more difficult than expected, the reward went above and beyond my highest expectations. It had been a challenging climb, but, with the extraordinary scenery stretching out below me, I knew that it had all been worth it.

It’s also really important that you describe how you’re feeling throughout this ordeal. In order to truly put the reader in your shoes, it’s imperative that you not just describe what’s going on around you, but also, how you’re feeling emotionally, physically, and what changes as the writing goes on. Towards the middle of the hike, as you can tell, I was feeling tired, and subsequently I was discouraged. I felt as though, as I said in my writing, that this would go on forever, with no positive culminating result. Yet, my feelings changed once I saw the spectacular landscape that lay out in front of me once I’d gotten to the top. I also use almost all of my senses to describe what the hike was like, through my eyes. If someone were reading this to me out loud and I closed my eyes, I might be able to hear, in my imagination, the birds chirping, the rustle of the trees, and smell the deep scent that emanated from the ground.

Now, go find your own adventure, write about it, and send it in to Amazing Kids! We’d love to hear from you!