How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Most essays are designed to prove a point or to lead the reader through a logical set of points in order to arrive at a conclusion. A descriptive essay is not this type of essay, but rather allows the writer to use a great deal more freedom in language usage and subject matter. When a writer is composing a descriptive essay, their job is to create an experience for the reader that is vibrant and powerful. Colorful language and meticulous inspection greatly help in this pursuit. It is also important for the writer to understand exactly why the descriptive essay is being written. Even though there is not a specific point to prove, a descriptive essay is still centered around a common theme.

The steps

The first step is to figure out exactly how the writer is going to focus the writing of the essay. For example, if the writer is going to describe a dog, it might be a good idea to list the various observations that are made by simply watching how a dog behaves throughout the day. Making a list of the things that a dog does is a great way to begin. But simply listing various aspects is not enough. Following the same example, the writer might wish to convey how excited he or she is to have gotten a new puppy. In this case, listing the actions of the puppy will not convey that feeling. This is where it is important for the author to invoke powerful descriptive language.

Establishing the foundation of exactly why the description is being written is extremely important in focusing the writing. What is the point? Why would anyone want to read this? Keeping this focus will help the writer to effectively tie the descriptions to a common theme.

One of the other mistakes that many writers make is that they tell rather than show through their writing. This is the power of descriptive language. Rather than say, “Billy threw the ball”, which would be simply telling the reader what happened, it is better to show the reader what is happening. Going with the same example, the writer might describe the same situation like this, “Bringing the ball behind his head, Billy leaned back to give more force to the throw. Quickly uncoiling, Billy whipped his arm forward, releasing the ball.” This type of language helps the reader connect with what is being written.

It is important to remember, when writing a descriptive essay, to have a good understanding of why the essay is being written and what the writer is trying to show. Couple this with vivid, powerful language and the essay will be a success.

Template

Descriptive essays vary greatly in format. It is up to the creative motivations of the writer as to how the writing takes shape.

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