writing a descriptive essay
The key to a good descriptive essay is to really dig into the five senses as they relate to the subject of your essay. For example, if your essay is about a trek in the forest you’d focus on the senses of touch, smell, hearing, and sight, maybe not so much on taste. A well crafted descriptive essay will allow you to share a picture of something as vividly and as genuinely you can and to transport your reader into experience where they feel that they are actually seeing, hearing or experiencing it themselves.
Forming your Introduction
The first approach is the personal essay. This has much in common with the narrative essay, relating an experience in terms of the writer’s own feelings and responses.
The following is a short example of a classic personal essay. It relates a subjective experience the writer had in vivid language, allowing the reader to experience it vicariously.
The aim of description is to make sensory details vividly present to the reader. Although it may be only in school that you are asked to write a specifically descriptive essay, description is an important element in many kinds of writing. Description embedded in an argument paper, for example, may be intended to make a position more persuasive. However, in this TIP Sheet we will discuss the descriptive essay as it is commonly assigned by instructors as an exercise in organizing sensory information and choosing vivid details.
A quote from your subject or a brief anecdote about him or her may provide an interesting introduction (or conclusion); dialogue can be a great way to add interest to a descriptive essay. In your introduction, you might be permitted to make general, abstract statements (tell about) your subject or supply background information, as long as you demonstrate these points concretely later in the body of your essay.
- An introduction
- Hook sentence
- Context/Background information
- Thesis statement
- Body paragraphs
- Topic sentence
- Sensory details
- Actual details
- A conclusion
- Summary of all main points
- Clincher Statement
Descriptive writing usually appeals to the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. (Ex: JackвЂ™s coffee mug exploded into tiny shards of glass, catching the attention of everyone at the office.) Always appealing to the senses is key to writing a good descriptive essay.
One of the keys to writing a descriptive essay is to create a picture in your reading audience’s mind by engaging all five of their senses – smell, sight, touch, taste and sound. If you can do this, then your essay is a success, if not, then you have a lot of work to do. The first steps in writing a descriptive essay will lay the groundwork for the entire piece.
Your choice of words and language need to convey what you are trying to describe when you talk about a particular topic. The details that you have provided should give your reader enough information that they can form a complete picture. Any details in the essay should help a reader to understand the meaning of the topic from the writer’s point of view.