I know that I've just advised you to write
tightly. That means taking out any extraneous stuff. However, that
doesn't mean your story should read like an SMS.
I always remind non-fiction writers that even though we write about real world people and events, ultimately, we are still storytellers. The qualities that make up a good story still need to be in our articles. That's why it's important for you to add color to your stories.
effective way to add color is to use vivid details where appropriate.
When you describe something or someone, make a point to provide a sense
of place, a sense of the personalities involved and a sense of time, so
that the readers feel like they are actually there.
Below are some comments by journalists from various publications on how they use detail to add color to their stories:
“In a good story, a paranoid schizophrenic doesn't just hear imaginary voices, he hears them say, ‘Go kill a policeman.’”
– David Finkel, The Washington Post
ask the questions: What was it like? What did it feel like? Take the
reader where he cannot go. What is it like in those woods? What is it
like on that island? What is it like in that person's dreams? And you
do that by accumulating every bit of meaningful detail and using it
where it seems appropriate. It's what you leave out sometimes that is
as important as what you put in.”
– Carol McCabe, The Providence Journal
– DeNeen L. Brown, The Washington Post