This type of content employs the use of descriptive language to reveal the meaning of a subject through detailed, sensory observation. The language used in a descriptive essay should be illustrative to capture all the human senses to bring a subject to life for our readers. A good descriptive essay should be able to describe an emotion, a feeling or an object in a way that readers feel as if they experienced the subject in real life.
When writing one you need to have a particular reason that can help you focus your description and instill your language with a particular perspective or emotion.
Example: Imagine that you want to write descriptively about your grandfather. You’ve chosen to write about your grandfather’s physical appearance and the way that he interacts with people. Your reason for writing a descriptive content piece on him is to convey your admiration for his strength and kindness. To achieve this, you might focus one of your paragraphs on describing the roughness of his hands, roughness resulting from the labor of his work throughout his life, but you might also describe how he would hold your hands so gently with his rough hands when having a conversation with you or when taking a walk.
- Topic/Subject Establish who or what you want to describe and why. This could be a person of importance in your life or an object or place that brings memories. The person could be a grandparent, the object, a favorite toy, and the place, a tree house. Once you have decided on the topic, identify the qualities you want to describe. Think about all the details related with the topic such as location and physical features. You should also consider other aspects such as memories, feelings, and ideas the subject stirs up. Create an outline that will help you put these details into a coherent flow
- Show! Don’t Tell Follow the outline you created to ensure you maintain a logical flow of events. Ensure you consistently use illustrative language to show and not tell readers about the subject. To achieve this, your language should manage to involve all of the senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Write so the reader will see the sunset, hear the song, smell the flowers, taste the pie, or feel the touch of a hand.
To create the intended image in the reader’s mind use figurative language such as similes and metaphors. Here are some examples:
The house was old.
He was smart.
The clock had been in our family for years.
The house frowned with a wrinkled brow, and inside it creaked with each step, releasing a scent of neglected laundry.
If you had to pick a study buddy, you would pick this guy.
The clock stood by our family, faithfully marking the minutes and hours of our lives.
The key to writing this is the writer’s ability to create a mental picture for the reader by focusing on the five senses.
- Review After writing your assignment you should re-read it and make changes where necessary through reorganizing, modifying, proof reading and editing to correct errors in grammar and sentence structure. You can also have someone else read the easy to help you with getting read of clichés and loading up on adjectives and adverbs. This will also help reexamine your style choice. When reviewing your work the following should be considered:
- Does the essay unfold in a way that helps the reader fully appreciate the subject? Do any paragraphs confuse more than describe?
- Does the word choice and figurative language involve the five senses and convey emotion and meaning?
- Are there enough details to give the reader a complete picture?
- Has a connection been made between the description and its meaning to the writer? Will the reader be able to identify with the conclusion made?
A good one must be precise in its detail. Avoid generalizing but be rather specific to involve the reader all through the opening to the closing paragraph. Feedback Publishing your descriptive essay and make it available for public access is the best way to get honest feedback or fair criticism that will help you improve your writing in future. Remember experience is the best teacher.
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