Writing Process: Gathering Details

Contributor: Delaine Thomas. Lesson ID: 12888

Your writing will be fruitless if you don't prune the information you gather and pick out the best details. Your writing needs to be rooted in relevant, organized facts so as to satisfy your readers!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What do you look for when you gather fruit? You want the good stuff, so you have to choose carefully from all the fruit around you. This ability will make you a better writer!

Have you ever gathered fruit the way the little girl in the above picture is?

Perhaps you gathered blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, or apples.

  • What do you look for when you gather fruit?

You look for fruit that is ripe, and for the most part, not damaged. You don’t want to pick fruit that is still green or not yet ripe. Only the fruit that is just right is what you will pick.

Gathering details for writing is much the same as gathering fruit. You want to select only the details that are about your topic, that support your main topic in some way. You do not want to include information that is not relevant to your writing. You want to gather the information that fits your topic perfectly.

In the previous lesson in our Writing Process series, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you chose a topic from six writing prompts and created a T chart that placed the events in the order that they happened. You will need that T chart for this lesson, so get it out if you haven’t already. In this lesson, you will gather details that will help make your story more descriptive and interesting.

There are many ways to gather information for a paper. You could possibly interview someone who knows something about the topic. Sometimes, you gather information through observation or you might rely on your personal memory. You may also need to do a little research if you want to add some interesting facts about your topic. Whatever method you decide to use, you need to have a graphic organizer of some type to gather your information.

One way to gather information that will help you describe what happened is a sensory chart. A sensory chart is used to help you write down what the character saw, smelled, heard, touched, or tasted. It looks something like this:

Sight Sound Touch Taste Smell


Take out a piece of paper. As you watch the video clip, Using Sensory Language, by Vivian Price, follow her directions to write down the things you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste from the video clips:


At the end of the clip, Ms. Price states, “The writer must paint a picture for the reader in the way that an artist creates images on canvas.” Using sensory details and descriptive language is very important when writing your paper.

Turn your paper over and create a new sensory chart. Look over your list of events for your story. Fill in the sensory chart with sensory words to use when you write your paper. Do this now.

Remember to gather on the information that relates to your topic.

Continue to the Got It? section to practice using a gathering grid.

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