Setting Thesaurus Entry: High School Hallway


Lockers, scuffed floors, trophy case, fire extinguishers, doors, lockers, plaques, student art work or sculptures, school pictures, school colors, framed school jacket or flag, garbage cans, discarded gum wrappers, broken pencils, forgotten erasers, crumpled papers ringing the garbage cans, spills and stains, janitors, teachers, principal, students, people sitting in the halls, laughing studying, piles of books or backpacks resting on the floor, signs to office, exits, handmade student posters for pep rallies/dances/games, some small graffiti carved into door frames or markers in more hidden places, locks on lockers, papers or shoelaces caught in locker doors, people texting and trying to hide it from adult eyes, people yawning


Shoes squeaking on floor, echoes, talking, laughing, the clink of locks being opened, doors slamming, people being jostled into lockers, teachers ordering kids to settle down, disperse or get to class, bell for class, announcements on the speaker, muffled ipod music, phones going off and quickly silenced, coughing, sneezing


Perfume, deodorant, aftershave, hairspray, sweat, gym clothes, nasty-stuff-in-a locker-close-by smell, minty breath, cigarette smoke coming off clothing & hair, cleaning supplies, sweaty gym clothes, food odors from the cafeteria or student kitchen, marker smells from newly-hung posters, photocopied odor of just-printed fliers


Food, sweets (candy, chocolate, gum, mints), fizzy pop or energy drinks, bitter or sweet coffee, water, mouthwash, metallic braces, dust, just-waking-up-from-falling-asleep-in-history taste


cold metal lockers, swirling the dial of a lock, smooth paper or binders being transferred from the locker to hand, the press of a textbook against the chest or at the hip, cold metal doorknobs, sweaty hands, chewing on a pencil, tapping a pen against lip, writing a phone number on the hand before class, crunching up a paper and tossing it into the trash, the pull of a backpack on the shoulder, flicking long hair back over shoulder, combing fingers through the hair before class, spreading on a coat of lip gloss in a locker mirror, shedding 'home' clothing to reveal 'school' clothing, feet shuffling with dread toward class

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I strode out my office into the hall, inhaling the tell-tale scent of bleach and pine sol. Sun streamed through the glass front doors, gleaming off the freshly buffed floors. Rows of lockers stood like proud sentinels, displaying their uniforms of fresh paint. I smiled. Everything was as it should be. Soon, summer would end. Soon, the halls would be filled with young minds eager to learn.

Example 2:

"Hello?" I called, eyeing the dark corridor. My voice sounded hollow and weak in the emptiness. No one responded, but then I doubted there was anyone around other than the janitor who'd let me in. I made my way toward my locker, my steps quick and soundless. Gloom spilled out from a classroom doorway to my left, and I edged over to the right. This place sure turned El Creepo at night. I wanted to grab my chem assignment and get out of here.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) I snapped my locker shut but it echoed through the empty halls, making me jump. It was creepy after hours, this place--more like a funeral home than a school.

Example 2: (Metaphor) The final bell rang, filling the hallway with students: hormoned-fueled cars rolling down the Weekend Freeway at high speeds.


PJ Hoover said...

Love the squeaky sneakers!

Lady Glamis said...

Heh, what a great choice for an entry! This will be helpful to all those YA writers out there!

CJ Raymer said...

Thanks, Angela! You confirmed for me that I was on the right track. You described the same things that I had to describe in several of my scenes. It felt good to know that I'm "seeing" and "hearing" it correctly. XOXO

Christina Farley said...

Oh I just discovered your site. Love it!

Angela said...

Glad this one helps. I hope it'll have wide appeal.Thanks everybody, and we're glad you found us, Christina!

Robert said...

Thanks, Angela! You confirmed for me that I was on the right track. You described the same things that I had to describe in several of my scenes.

Shannon said...

This is a really cool idea. Nice!

Anonymous said...

As a high school freshman myself, this one is spot on! You forgot PDA for sights though :) the just-waking-up-from-history is great though.


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