The goal of descriptive essays is always to describe something. This means that the reader should be able to create a visual picture of the scene based on the words provided on the paper. If the writer is effective they can almost make the reader feel as if they are witnessing the event.
A lot of students will inwardly groan when they are assigned descriptive essays – some will even groan audibly. A common complaint is that such writing is just too demanding. The reality is though that once people put a bit of effort into their descriptive essays it can be the most rewarding assignment there is. It allows one individual to share their experience of the world with another in a way that is usually not possible. It is sort of like transplanting visions from one mind to another. Of course, this can only happen effectively if people go about their descriptive writing in the right way.
Tips for Descriptive Essay
- One of the first decisions you need to make with any descriptive essay will be in regards to what you want to describe. It would take forever to describe every detail of a situation and you are almost certain to bore the reader if you tried this. If you have been given a topic then this will form the backdrop; you then need to decide then which aspects of the backdrop you wish to bring to the forefront.
- The most important consideration when writing descriptively is deciding about how you want your reader to feel. At the end of the day these descriptions are there to provoke feelings. This type of writing can create a ‘whimsical feel’ or possibly even put people in the depths of depression. You need to decide on the feel you are trying to create.
- Descriptive writing relies on your ability to show and not tell. This means that you don’t tell people what happened you describe to them what happened. So instead of writing “the man was drunk” you could say, “he steadied himself against the toilet door as he belched the nauseating aroma of whiskey into the surrounding air”. When describing the scene here there is no need to actually say that he was drunk; the reader can figure that out for themselves.
- When you are describing something you will want to appeal to all the five senses of the reader. You don’t just want to give them a visual image; you also want to describe sounds, smells, sensations, and tastes. This way the reader will be able to build up a much fuller picture of what is going on.
- It is best to plan your writing before you begin the essay. Do a general outline and decide on what you will put in each paragraph.
- Write your first draft of the essay. The aim here is to just get everything down on paper so don’t worry about grammar or spelling.
- Keep editing your essay until it is the best you can make it.