smudged windows, black rubber runner down the aisle, torn leather seats, signs (emergency exits, rules, stay behind the yellow line, bus driver's name), red handles on emergency doors and windows, bus driver's seat, big stick shift for opening/closing door, flashing lights, the view outside (urban, rural, etc), trash, crumpled papers, snack wrappers, dirt, backpacks, students, driver, books, pencils, paper airplanes, trash can, sunlight, rain, windows open at all levels, patches on the seats, gum stuck to the floor, crumbs, wrappers, lost or broken pencils on the floor, kids (bouncing on seats, hanging over seats, laughing, waving hands, nudging/jostling/poking, passing notes, checking cel phones, listening to iPods), cars/landscape whizzing past the windows
Laughter, talking, cel phones going off, backpacks thumping against the seat as kids walk down the rows, stomping, whistling, heckling, hooting, squealing, shouting, the bus driver yelling, paper crumpling, candy wrappers crinkling, slurping of pop, water, & juice boxes, Velcro on lunch bags, backpack zippers opening
Feet, sweat, fruity/minty gum, perfume/body spray, flavored lip balm, fresh air from open windows, mildew/mud (on cold, wet days)
leftover lunch items (granola bars, fruit, sandwiches, chips, cookies, carrots, celery), pop, water, juice boxes, dry mouth from thirst, gum, mints, candy, chocolate bars
Hard seats, cold metal bus walls, unzipping a backpack, the pull on a backpack on the shoulder, lifting a heavy backpack off the seat, shoes sticking to a spill on the floor, kicking the seats, the rush of cool air on forehead from the window, Someone tapping you from behind to get your attention, pokes, prods, nudging, pushing, shoving, leaning head back against the high seat, hugging a backpack to chest, flipping through a book or comic, a cold drink in the hand, scraping frost or fog off the window to see out, pressing a hand against the window, tapping feet against the floor, pulling self up to see over a seat, rooting through a bag or pack, condensation on drinks
Helpful hints:--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
I walked down the isle, holding my breath tight inside me like it could somehow make me look smaller, like it could make up for the fact that my hips almost brushed the seats to each side. The bus was silent, dozens of gazes on me. I found an empty seat halfway down and gently settled into it, and for the first time in a long time hope welled up me that this school would be different. A smile started to pull at my lips, and then I heard a voice loudly proclaim, "Wow, she needs a wide load sticker!"
John rubbed his temples, glaring in the rear view mirror above his seat. The image staring back at him was almost worse that the shrieking, brain-melting noise: kids pelting each other with half-full juice boxes, wrestling among the seats, candy wrappers littering the isle. He grit his teeth and slammed the gearshift into drive. Time to dust off the resume.
--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile)
I made a grab for my backpack, but it was too late. Joel, a tenth grader with a cracked front tooth and homemade tattoo on his neck hoisted it over his head and tossed it two rows down. Soon my backpack weaved over the busload of kids like a beach ball at a rock concert.
Example 2: (Metaphor)
Miranda paused at the front of the bus, waiting to be noticed. The first shout of her name caused the others to look to the front, and soon hands poked the air, waving madly for her to come sit with them. Miranda shook her blond curls back and let her regal gaze drift over the crowd, a queen surveying her subjects, then chose a seat next to Brent, the most popular boy in school.