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How to write Descriptive Essays?

Blog Essay
Posted : 2019-02-04
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Lydia Sserwadda


How to write Descriptive Essays?

Did you know there are over 20 types of essays? Yes, that’s right. There are actually that many! Over the course of your student life, you will be asked to write several of these types with descriptive essays being one of them. Descriptive essays are different from your standard essays as they are all about a detailed description of something you wish to write on. As with all other essays though, you have to know how to write them properly so your assessor can award you with the best grades.

In that spirit, allow us to help you know how to write the perfect descriptive essay so you can submit your paper with the confidence that you do well.

Descriptive Essay – The Basics

As we told you before, a descriptive essay is meant to be a detailed description of a subject. What or who that subject is dependent on the type of descriptive essay you have been assigned. As such, there are 6 different kinds of descriptive essays-

  • Person-based essay: In a person-based descriptive essay, the subject of your paper is a person.
  • Place-based essay: Place-based descriptive essays are a detailed account of a place.
  • Wildlife-based essay: Such essays could be on animals or birds, whether domesticated or wild
  • Memory or experience-based essay: In this essay, you are supposed to recount a specific memory or experience that you’ve had. This could be on your personal or professional life.
  • Object-based essay: Object-based descriptive essays aim to describe an object such as a vase or a gadget for example. They are non-living things.
  • Emotion or behaviour-based essay: You can write about a particular feeling or a behaviour in this kind of descriptive essay.

Clear on the basics? Now let’s move on to stages of writing a stellar descriptive essay.

Descriptive Essay Writing Steps

Stage #1: Planning your descriptive essay

When you have a plan in place, you can be sure that your descriptive essay will turn out just the way you want it to. Let us plan you through the steps of planning your descriptive essay so you know exactly what to do-

✅ Go through the prompt

Once assigned the task of a descriptive essay, your professor/teacher will provide you with a prompt. This prompt will lay down the theme of your essay, such as a person, place, object etc. as well as the rules you are supposed to adhere to while writing your essay. Read this prompt carefully as it will help you plan your essay in a much better fashion.

✅ Cook up ideas

Since the prompt will outline the theme of your essay, it will give you a clear idea of the direction in which you should look for your topic. Descriptive essays are personal. Even if you write about a person, animal or object, they are supposed to present your viewpoint on them. So make sure that the topic you zero in on is personal and relevant to you as that’s the only way you’d be able to bring passion into your writing.

✅ Chalk down points about your topic

Once you decide on a topic you are sure would be the perfect fit for your essay, start jotting down a list of points pertaining to that topic. At this stage, write down every single thing, every small detail about that topic that comes to your mind – whether it seems relevant or irrelevant. You can choose omit certain details later but having all the points in one place will help you know what exactly about your topic you wish to present in your essay. Basically, it’ll help you decide the angle you want to take.

✅ Organize the points of your essay topic

You have all the points you need about your topic now, so let’s do some organization shall we? Your descriptive essay should have a smooth flow, hence the organization of your points is crucial. Consider the following questions as they will help you organize your essay-

  • ❓ Who or what am I describing?
  • ❓ What is the reason behind me describing what I’ve chosen to?
  • ❓ Which are the specific qualities I wish to portray while writing?
  • ❓ While answering these questions, sift through the list of points you have as they’ll help you find the right to answers to each.

✅ Give your essay a structure

Without a proper structure, your descriptive essay would be quite lost. The basic structure your paper will consist of three elements – the introduction, the body paragraphs and the conclusion. These elements are absolutely vital. While creating the structure, insert points relevant to each portion of your essay. This will help you know what goes where.

This ends the planning stage of your essay. Next comes the writing stage.

Stage #2: Writing your essay

Now begins the main task – that of writing your essay. Although it may seem challenging, you don’t have anything to worry about if you have planned your essay well. Besides, we have detailed the steps of writing below for your convenience so you know what to do-

✅ Create your first draft

Start with a rough draft of your essay. You already have all the points in place and know the structure you need to follow. So at this point, just try to fill in all the relevant details in the right section. This is just for practice so don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Give it a read once you’re done and then begin writing in earnest.

✅ Write the introduction

The introduction of your essay should contain three essential things – the hook, which should be an attention-grabbing opening line; the context or background to your topic so your readers know why this topic is important and relevant; and the thesis statement, which gives a short one lime summary of your essay. Write each of these in a clear manner. Also, make sure that your hook is really interesting.

✔ Move on to the body paragraphs

As for body paragraphs, you will have to have three of them in your essay at the very least. These paragraphs will focus on entirely on your topic. However, each paragraph should make a different point or argument pertaining to your topic.

You will need to start each body paragraph with a topic sentence so that your reader knows what you’re going to talk about. Proceed to describe your topic in vivid details. Both sensory and factual details have to be mentioned and the description you give should be very detailed.

Finish each body paragraph of your essay with a sentence that introduces the next paragraph. Transitional sentences add order and logic to your essay and make them much easier to read. Remember that even though there should be at least three body paragraphs, you can write more if you wish.

✔ Conclude your essay

After finishing all the body paragraphs of your essay, write your conclusion to it. Your conclusion should make a point and should tie up all loose ends, if any. When writing your conclusion, begin by reflecting on why you wrote about this topic and how it affected you. Then progress to mention the important details in brief and then write the concluding line. Your concluding line should be relevant and leave an impact on your reader. It could be in the form of a question, a quotation or an intriguing thought.

Once you are done writing your essay, the only thing that should be left is polishing it. That is what we will talk about in the next section.

Stage #3: Reviewing your essay

Congratulate yourself on your writing your essay! The hard part is truly over. Now all you have to do is review it, which basically means proofread and edit it. However, do not attempt to proofread and edit your essay on the same day you complete writing it. You won’t be able to find any mistakes at that moment. Give yourself a break from your essay before you review it and do the following things while you’re at it-

✔ Read your essay out loud

Reading your essay out loud, whether to yourself or an audience, will make detecting mistakes much easier as your mind won’t wander as much. When reading, listen for any sentences that sound awkward or have double meanings. Highlight those sentences so you can change them when you get down to editing your work. If you decide to read out your essay to others, take their feedback positively and make necessary changes.

✔ Edit your essay

At this point, you already know all the changes you need to make. So get down to making them. Correct sentences that seem wrong or are unclear. Shorten sentences that are too long. Also, edit details that you don’t find necessary and add those that you think should be there. Read it once more after making the changes to ensure that your essay sounds absolutely perfect.

✔ Proofread your essay

The final stage of your descriptive essay writing is proofreading it. This stage of your essay is fairly easy as here you only have to take care of the technical details. While proofreading your essay, you will have to check your paper for grammar and spellings. If you mind mistakes in these two areas, correct them immediately. Also, ensure your essay is in the correct format and meets all the requirements of your essay prompt. Once you get everything right, you have got yourself a complete essay.

These are all the stages you need to follow to craft a descriptive essay that would make even the nuttiest assessors love the way you write! Just make sure you follow them with due diligence.

Useful tips for writing a descriptive essay

We are not simply going to stop at giving you the stages of descriptive essay writing. We are going to go one step further and give you some very useful tips that can make your task much easier than it would otherwise be! So without any further delays, let’s get started-

  • ➤ Make your conclusion strong. A strong conclusion instantly attracts your readers and makes them want to read more. A weak conclusion, on the other hand, can make them lose interest in what you have to say. So make sure your introduction has your readers hooked.
  • ➤ Use vivid adjectives. There are two ways of describing things – dully and passionately. In your essay, you should adopt the latter tone. So for example if you want to use the word ‘jealous’, replace it with something like ‘green with envy’. This creates a better impact.
  • ➤ Put similes and metaphors in your essay. Similes and metaphors will add colour to your essay and will make them so much more impressive than they could be. Similes and metaphors are great tools for description that create a string impact on your reader’s minds.
  • ➤ When writing, be open about your emotions. Remember, in the end your descriptive essay is meant to be a personal account. So it should rightfully reflect your views and your opinions rather than a third person’s. Be open of the emotions you have for the topic you are writing about. However, just keep in mind not to be offensive in any way.
  • ➤ Write your entire essay in first person. It is your essay after all. It should be written in your voice. Using the pronoun ‘I’ is a must throughout the length and breadth of your descriptive essay.
  • ➤ Use the element of suspense to your advantage. Readers love surprises! So be creative and don’t shy away from introducing an element of thrill or fear in your essay. It will help in keeping your readers engrossed.
  • ➤ Be careful of the words you choose. They should adequately describe what you wish to write and not convey the wrong meaning. Choosing the wrong words can actually ruin your essay and create confusion among your readers both of which you do not want.
  • ➤ When writing, try to take your audience into the fold. Breeding a sense of familiarity in your audience can help them connect with your writing and consequently understand it on a much deeper level. It also shows your maturity as a writer. So ensure that whatever you write, your readers are able to relate to it.
  • ➤ Do not ramble on and on in your essay. Repetitive points and too much of the same thing can tire out your audience and make them want to quit reading what you have written. Even though your essay is meant to be descriptive, it should also be to the point at the same time. This will help keep your readers engaged till the very end.
  • ➤ Be as logical as you can while writing your essay. Remember that your essay is still meant to be a formal piece of writing, an academic task. So refrain from abstract and unconnected motifs as well as very complex language. Just let your essay flow smoothly and logically in the right order.

Now you are all set to write your descriptive essay in the best way possible! We guarantee that after following these tips, your essay will be nothing short of perfect. And what does a perfect essay get? Why the best grades of course! So bookmark this page and keep it handy whenever you need to write a descriptive essay.

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