How to Write a Descriptive Essay

The next time you get a chance, pick up an apple. Feel the weight of it in your hand. Examine it for blemishes. What caused that little black spot? Did the apple tenaciously hang onto the wind-whipped tree branch as a storm dashed it into a neighboring twig? Did a peckish bird sample the apple for ripeness? Look at the apple again and feel it as it warms in your hand. Anticipate the burst of flavor as your teeth crunch through the rich redness of its thin skin.

The above is a sample of descriptive writing and a hint of some of the ways you can take an ordinary object and change it into the extraordinary using words. Writing a descriptive essay is a chance to explore your own creativity as you use the senses to draw a picture in words.

  1. Could you feel the weight and temperature of the apple?
  2. Did you see the blemish and visualize the windstorm or the bird?
  3. Could you hear the crunch as you bit through the skin?
  4. Could you taste the explosion of flavor?
Actually, there is more than one way to write a descriptive essay. Some descriptive essays are written objectively, using only the facts: Tip: Keep your essay on topic by applying descriptive text to your subject only. Notice above that no description is applied to the tree.

Other descriptive writing, like the first example, is subjective in that it intends to paint a vivid picture that elicits sensations or arouses emotion in the reader. However, in either form, descriptive writing adds strength to your essay by adding interesting and specific details to your composition.

Although the first example is a descriptive paragraph, be sure to follow the standard essay writing format of introduction, body, and conclusion when writing your descriptive essay. Use your introduction to both present your subject and to tell your reader why you found it interesting.

Choose your details carefully. In writing a descriptive essay, your objective is to leave your reader with just one impression.

For instance, if the apple was grass green instead of rosy red, you might take some "poetic license" and leave that fact out, selecting only the details that support your description and convey the impression or a ripe and juicy apple.

When writing a descriptive essay, start building your description by brainstorming the facts

By the time you finish this process, you'll probably have written an objective description and only need to put it into sentences and insert them into appropriate paragraphs of your descriptive essay. In writing a subjective description, you'll want to build on the facts by adding adjectives to some of them and using synonyms that are more descriptive for others. (e.g. rosy red as opposed to red or weighty as opposed to heavy).

Choose two or three of the descriptions you've built and use them as the focal points of your descriptive essay body, with supporting information that describes why they are important to your overall view. (In this example, the ripeness of the apple.)

Conclude your descriptive essay with a summary of your points and restate the impression you meant to create.

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