what is description writing
“The idiosyncrasy of this town is smoke. It rolls sullenly in slow folds from the great chimneys of the iron-foundries, and settles down in black, slimy pools on the muddy streets. Smoke on the wharves, smoke on the dingy boats, on the yellow river–clinging in a coating of greasy soot to the house-front, the two faded poplars, the faces of the passers-by.”
The sunset filled the sky with a deep red flame, setting the clouds ablaze.
This paragraph opens the third chapter of Maxine Hong Kingston’s “The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts,” a lyrical account of a Chinese-American girl growing up in California. Notice how Kingston integrates informative and descriptive details in this account of “the metal tube” that holds her mother’s diploma from medical school. She uses color, shape, texture (rust, missing paint, pry marks, and scratches), and smell, where she has a particularly strong metaphor that surprises the reader with its distinctness. The last sentence in the paragraph (not reproduced here) is more about the smell; closing the paragraph with this aspect adds emphasis to it. The order of the description is also logical, as the first response to the closed object is how it looks rather than how it smells when opened.
by Barbara Carter
Mitchell, D. (1996). Writing to learn across the curriculum and the English teacher. English Journal, 85, 93-97.
This video is published with permission from the Balanced Literacy Diet. See related how-to videos with lesson plans in the Writing Processes and Strategies section.
Many people form a journal. It is a daily record of events or work you do. Journals also refer to periodicals and newspapers that are published on a daily basis. In Journal writing work you must give details of important events to meetings in extended form to make it informative.
- The Life of Princess Diana
- Describe the Castle at Vincennes
- Describe the Beauty of Niagara Falls
- The Great Himalaya Mountain Range
- The Hot Fudge Sundae
- Description of your childhood memories
- An event that changed your life
- A trauma or happiness
Even though everyone writes differently and it’s okay to have more dialogue or more description, both are equally important. Just because you favor dialogue doesn’t mean you can nix description altogether.
One way is figurative language. This is used to show imagery through metaphors, smilies, personification, and more. These are the terms and skills you learn about in English class back in elementary school. It’s a great way to describe people and places. It’s fun to compare and make connections from one thing to the next as well as adding more depth to objects.