When writing a descriptive essay, you must first select the topic of your work. The topic could be any range of things such as a flower or a desk, your favorite place to read, or an inspirational person. What is most important here is that you must be personally familiar with the object of your writing. You cannot, for example, write a decent descriptive essay on a beach that you have never visited or about the perfect chocolate cake that you have never eaten.
Once you have selected your topic, you must take some time to brainstorm what attributes you can recall, what attributes satisfy the five key senses. Your goal here is to precisely convey each sense so that the person is able to sense everything you do.
If, for example, you are describing a non-native flower that bloomed in your garden overseas, you want to do more than state that the flower was beautiful or had a powerful fragrance. You want to explain the color of the leaves, petals, stem, and stamen.
You want to describe the flavors found in the powerful fragrance.
- Was it a combination of earth, vanilla?
- Was it sweet or bitter?
- Was it something that accosted the senses or was a light after-thought lingering in the air?
- Was it a scent surrounding the immediate vicinity of the flower such that stepping into the world of the plant brought you into the smell itself, a smell which permeated your nostrils, hair, even your clothing, and stuck with you for days after?
Do more than just explain the colors found in the flower. Tell your reader what each part of the flower felt like to touch.
- Were the leaves soft?
- Was the petal hard and firm?
Explain the size, shape, patterns found in the plant, how it hung from the stem or whether it was an upright plant. These are all important items to cover. You want to leave no stone unturned here. Your reader should finish your paper as intimate with that native flower as you are.
Diction and economy are imperative to your success in descriptive writing. Because it is descriptive by nature, you must be careful about your diction, or word choice. You have to include the most appropriate word, a task which can take hours or even days if you are really searching. While a handful of words might be sufficient, if there is one word that embodies what point you are trying to get across to the reader, you will be much better off relying on it instead.
For example, describing someone as “loquacious” rather than saying “he enjoyed talking all the time” is a much better use of the English language, for in one word you can convey so much more than you did in the latter five words.
For this type of writing, the organization is not as critical. You have a great deal of leeway with regard to the structure of your body because of the different topics you might select. You can choose whichever organizational method best suits the purpose. To ease your writing process we’ve also prepared interesting facts about life in Kenya and topics based on the book “A Primate’s Memoir”. Use them for your paper and you’ll see how simple it can be.
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