The purpose of a descriptive essay is to create a clear and vivid representation of a particular subject for the reader. The subject could be a person, an object, an event, or other occurrence. Descriptive writing allows the writer to be creative in using language to appeal to the reader’s senses, but it also requires careful planning and organization in order to stay focused and effective.
As you write, consider these guidelines and suggestions for creating a descriptive essay.
Prewrite – Get your thoughts on paper.
Brainstorm to get as many thoughts, details, and descriptive words and phrases about your topic as possible on paper.
Determine the overall impression you wish to create regarding your topic. This will be your focus and help organize your writing.
Draft and Revise – Choose your words with care.
Be concise. Choose words that specifically describe your subject. While you want to give as much detail as possible, you want to do so efficiently. Make sure all of your writing serves a purpose and is not repetitive.
Be clear. Choose the word that most clearly conveys your ideas. For example, use sweltering in place of hot.
Be cognizant. Consider the emotional charge of your words. For example, stubborn has a negative connotation, but determined is a positive trait.
Think with your senses. Whenever possible use descriptions that appeal to your reader’s senses. Describe the way things feel, taste, smell, sound, and look.
Stay focused. Make sure everything in your essay clearly relates to your topic and helps describe and define it.
Stay organized. Be sure your ideas flow clearly with effective transitions.
Edit and Publish – Polish your work
Read aloud. Grammar mistakes and awkward transitions are much more obvious when they are read aloud.
Proofread and edit. Proofread for errors and make corrections as needed.