What are descriptive essays?
A descriptive essay is an essay written for the sole purpose of describing certain events or subjects to the reader. Such essays take a highly descriptive language and approach to paint a mental picture. The essay type aims at describing events vividly. You want your reader to have the same experience you had. They will witness the event through your essay. Therefore, success in this kind of writing depends on how much the reader can see what you want them to see, feel what you want them to feel, and hear whatever you intended.
With this writing, you will have the power of taking your reader on a mental trip. You have to convince them to experience the subject through your person. As you can already tell, this style comes with a lot of author’s bias. As an author, you can shape not only the opinion of your reader but also their attitudes and perspective. Ensure that the article paints the picture you want your audience to see as they read your essay. Hence, the power of descriptive writing rests on the author’s convincing prowess. Good descriptive authors tend to be very convincing!
How to write a descriptive essay?
So, how then can you write a killer descriptive essay?
Many people struggle with writing an excellent descriptive essay. This is not a surprise. While some writers are born orators, some have to claw their way through books and articles of tips and guides on how to master the skill. Even born orators sometimes find it hard to put pen to paper about an issue clearly. Well, being a successful descriptive essay writer will take persistent practice. You must be willing to put in the hours to acquire and master this skill.
Here are some pointers that will help you work on your essay and grow its command of attention and concentration.
- Choose a relevant topic
Choosing an essay topic is probably the most serious part of your essay. It is the topic that will determine your indulgence, vocabulary, content depth and general command of knowledge on the topic. Never rush into choosing a topic. You might end up choosing something you do not have full command over or a subject that you do not believe. Remember you are trying to describe something to the best your ability. The better you understand your topic, the better the description you can give. If you are recounting the events of a function, it is best if you attended the function yourself. That way, you will be able to give a detailed account, including details that might somehow be missed during the recount.
For example, if you are asked to describe the events that transpired during 911, your description would be based on hearsay, news reports, movies produced about the bombing and such kind of sources. First of all, these sources have conflicting information and accounts. Secondly, they will lack a personal touch. These two are the main hindrances to writing a great essay.
- Outline your intentions
After figuring out the topic, you might want to brainstorm on the content of the essay.
It all counts down to what exactly you want to convey to your reader. As a rule of thumb, you should strive to “show the reader,” not “tell the reader.” To “show the reader,” you must appeal to the five senses. The five senses determine our interaction with the environment. It is possible for two individuals to perceive the same stimulus differently, all thanks to our different senses. In the descriptive essay, you will exploit the advantage of using one set of sensors, your own. This way, as a descriptive essay writer, you will be able to manipulate the perception of the readers through your senses.
They will view the world through your eyes, hear the sounds through your ears, feel the environment through your fingers, smell it through your nose and taste through your tongue.
Note down a list of the things you want your reader to experience in every sense. The list will guide you as you accurately describe the topic.
- Tap into their emotions
Whenever describing something becomes a bit of a challenge, you can also use the “emotion” card. Humans are emotional beings. We all have experienced a myriad of emotions in our lives. Some are pleasant some are not. Emotions always have a deeper appeal than the five senses description. You can describe the touch, taste, smell, sight, and audio, but until you describe the emotional aspect of it, it will be close to impossible to move the reader. The best descriptive essays are supposed to get the reader in the right emotional mood.
- Avoid too much digression
In a descriptive essay, it is so easy for the writer to be lost in his/her descriptions. Have you ever read a novel that goes on and on about something that you deem irrelevant to the topic? Well, that is an example of a writer veering off the topic without even noticing. Getting carried away by the plot comes so easy that most writers only notice it when they are paragraphs into the diversion. A minor digression can end up being a major story overshadowing the main plot.
You must always strive to follow the topic. A good practice is one of constantly checking the title as a reminder of what you are writing. You can also try minimizing digressions by using short, concise sentences and avoiding fluff.
Every digression should have a clear connection to the main plot. Many readers tend to get bored easily especially when introducing another plot into the main plot. To maintain the readers’ interest and attention, always establish the connections as soon as possible. You do not want to lose your reader too soon, do you?
- Spice up your language
Much as you are trying to keep your language simple and understandable, it is imperative to spice up your writing with vocabulary that best appeal to your target audience. When describing something to engineers, you might want to throw in some engineering jargon once in a while. The whole idea is for you to relate to your readers. Your readers get hooked on your essay once they realize that you relate to them in style and language. Strive to maintain this kind of connection to the end by appealing to the specific target audience. Remember you must always have a target audience in mind. Imagine yourself as the reader and picture what you would enjoy reading.
- Be orderly in your description
There is nothing that puts off a reader faster than bad grammar and disorganization. Once a reader establishes that he/she cannot follow your chain of thought and events, they will stop reading the essay. It is your duty to your reader to describe every little detail systematically. Take one aspect of your theme that you wish to start with and describe it comprehensively before moving to the next one. An example is when you are describing a car. You can choose to start with the exterior details before moving to the interior. Keep all related description together. Do not place a detail about the exterior of the car in between interior description.
- Descriptive Essay outlay
Descriptive Essay Structure. How to start and finish your essay.
Just like any other essay, the descriptive essay must have an introduction, body and a conclusion.
- The introduction
The introduction must be brief and straight to the point. You know the way people always say don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, people do judge from the first impression. Always give an opening statement long enough to cover the relevant areas but at the same times short enough to leave the reader thirsting for more.
You can explore the use of questions instead of statements for this part. Structure the question in a way that it will leave the reader in suspense trying to find out the answers inside the text.
- The body
The body contains the comprehensive description of the essay. Keep it engaging and informative. Make your reader experience whatever you are trying to describe.
As you finish up your essay, conclude with an enduring appeal. You might have lost your reader during the lengthy description. There might have also been many emotions evoked during the process. However, as you leave your reader, ensure to pick one take-home message to highlight. This message, emotion or thought, should come in the form of a summary to remind the reader what mattered the most in the whole piece.
IMPORTANT: Read the descriptive essay!
Reading your essay to a friend or just to yourself is very helpful to your writing. Some sentences might have sounded right when you wrote them, but reading the article shows that they are a bit off or do not make sense. Proofreading your work also helps correct grammatical, spelling, and sentimental errors. At the same time, you can tell whether or not your essay is convincing. Remember the tone and language is that of a person addressing another.
Your achievement will be measured by how much you showed the readers as opposed to how much you told them.