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A Step by Step Guide on Descriptive Writing Process

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Although descriptive essay is a common requirementespecially in high school and for English, writing and literature students, you have to agree with me that most people understand this type of essay only on the surface-level.

Descriptive writing isn’t just freely describing and narrating events as you write your essay. There are steps and important techniques to follow.

So this blog article gives you a step-by-step easy to follow guide from Prentice Hall’s Grammar and Compositionfor writing descriptiveessays.

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But wait! Before we start what is Descriptive Writing first?

Descriptive Writing is a type of writing that allows readers to see, hear, smell or even experience what is written. All parts of the writer’s work such as essays and novels are collaborated in order to draw persons, places,objects and events for the readers to imagine.

Because of this, descriptive writing requires specific details, sensory impressions, and figures of speech.

Step 1: Gather details

As mentioned just earlier, details help readers imagine your work, but what exactly do you need to detail in order to do this? And how are you supposed to achieve this?

Well what are the details you need to gather?

Prentice Hall’s Grammar and Composition gives us a very useful tabulated guide for this:

Topics What to describe
Person height, weight, mannerisms, facial expressions, features, gestures, voice, walk, clothing, mood
Place or Experience dimensions, weather or season, time of day, number of people, activity of people, atmosphere, surroundings, sounds, smells, sensations
Object size, shape, texture, use, color, condition, location, any motion, noise, speed, smells, taste

Now there are 3 ways to acquire these details:

First, is through preliminary observation or thinking what are the important things you need to describe to arrive at the dominant impression or mood of your work.

Second, is through memory and recollection. Recall your past experiences or any other form of records such as documents, photos or even recordings you have on the topic you want to write.

Third, is through imaginative thinking. This allows you to still be able to describe people, objects and events even though you do not have first-hand experience with them.

Step 2: Prewriting

This is the stage where you write the outline your work if you’re writing an essay. While if you are writing a longer piece, such as a novel or short story, this is the stage wherein you write freely into your narrative.

Step 3: Writing

This is the stage where you write the majority of the content of your work. While you are writing your descriptive essay, make sure that you put in mind that your readers have no idea about your topic.

Hence in writing your descriptive essay, be sure that you focus on descriptive purpose through using descriptive language. All of which should work together to appeal to your readers’ senses, imagination and understanding of your entire piece.

Write a topic sentence focusing on dominant impressions:

The topic sentence placed at the beginning of the paragraph can help set the scene for readers. It allows readers to gain a preview of the entire piece and trigger readers’ interest to further read.

While a topic sentence placed in the middle allows readers to focus their attention on the important impression made.

And when a topic sentence is placed in the end, it can act as a conclusive part wherein readers can make sense of all the details preceding to it, and thus contribute to a single dominant impression.

Write the supporting details

Here you can use the details you gathered in step 1 in supporting your esay’s topic sentence and the entirety of your descriptive essay.

But wait! There’s more! As mentioned above, it is important that you, as a descriptive writer, appeal to your reader’s senses.

So below is tabulated examples for Sensory Impressions:

Sights Sounds Smells
The shadows of the trees were long and twisted. – Madeleine L’Engle A woodpecker went into the wild ratatattat. - Madeleine L’Engle In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla. – John Green
Tastes Feelings (touch) Sensations
I  sank my teeth into the crunchy shell of my first bufriedo and experienced culinary orgasm. – John Green FLORIDA WAS PLENTY HOT, certainly, and humid too. Hot enough that your clothes stuck to you like Scotch tape, and sweat dripped like tears from your forehead into your eyes. – John Green As the dribbling shower slowly soaked my body. – John Green

Step 4: Evaluate your descriptive essay

There are 4 things you should consider in evaluating your descriptive essay:

1. Think or ask someone unfamiliar to your topic, if they are able to grasp clearly the people, events and narrative of your essay.

2. Think or ask someone familiar to your topic, if you have written the people, events and narrative of your essay correctly and close to reality.

3. Give a breathing space for your essay and read it again after a day or two. This will enable you to see the flaws in your essay.

4. Double check the accuracy, vividness and completeness of the details in your essay, whether they resemble realistic perceptions.

Step 5: Revise your descriptive essay

In revising your descriptive essay, it is not enough that you check possible grammatical errors. You should also check for the structure, clarity and cohesion of your essay.

Make sure that you have organized the details of your essay in logical and understandable manner whether be it chronological or some other order. Maintain the relationships between the details to establish clarity and consistency.

An extra tip: Do use strong action verbs, specific nouns, and exact vivid adjectives to appeal even more to the senses of your readers!

This blog article was written by Charm from Inkmypapers.

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