Descriptive Essay Writing

Read on to learn more about what a descriptive essay is, and how to go about descriptive essay writing…

Descriptive essay writing is exactly what it says it is – writing, rather describing something that you want to talk about. When you are writing a descriptive essay, you, as the writer, are going to create a picture in the reader’s mind.

It is quite easy to say that, but how does one go about doing it?

The first thing to remember is to use all the five senses - touch, smell, sound, taste, and sight – in your essay to portray your description. With the help of these senses, you have to describe either a scene, or an event, or a location, or a person or an object. The list is virtually endless.

The key is also, to use descriptive words while writing the essay.

You can go about descriptive writing in a step-by-step manner.

First decide the topic you want to write about. For example, you want to write a descriptive essay about the time just before it rains.

Once that is decided, you need to decide what the focus of your essay is going to be – are you going to talk about how you like the weather just before it rains, or are you going to talk about how the gloominess of the environment makes you feel sad. The focus decides the approach of your essay. Obviously, if you are going to write about how you like the weather before the rains, the essay would be more upbeat, and if you are talking about the gloomy aspect of the weather, your essay would focus on your feelings of sadness etc.

Then you have to decide what senses are you going to use – are you going to talk about what you see, or how you feel or how the smells are – so that you can begin creating a visual image in the reader’s mind.

Using the example above, let’s see a short paragraph with both the approaches we discussed above.

Here is the paragraph where the weather before the rains makes me feel good.

As I leaned out of the window, I inhaled the fresh air smelling of wet earth. I looked up and saw the clouds slowly gather together so that they could shower their cool drops upon us down below. The trees were swaying slowly to the light wind that had picked up. It felt as if Mother Nature herself was getting ready for her dance in the rain.

Here is the paragraph where the weather before the rains makes me feel gloomy.

As I leaned out of the window, I smelt the damp smell of earth. Looking up, I saw the clouds gather together to drench us with their cold, wet drops. The trees swayed in the wind, as if they protested the unexpected drizzle that was coming their way. I felt as if Mother Nature was getting ready to cry and let out her pain onto us all.

If you observe, in both the cases, a description of the event has been given using action-oriented words. The maxim of ‘show, not tell’ has been used along with descriptive words to create the picture of the time before it rains. The approach then gives the feelings of either happiness or sadness with the imagery thus created. Descriptive writing techniques of using all the senses have also been used to the best effect to describe, for example, the ‘smell’ of the earth and the ‘sight’ of the trees swaying.

Descriptive essay writing is thus a culmination of the process of creating a visual image with the help of words and senses.

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