How to Write a Descriptive Essay
The following are words of doom for any student whose essay writing skills are almost non-existent “Write a descriptive essay about…” Ugh! Could anything be worse than having to describe that exact moment when you found yourself involved in or the star of a YouTube worthy moment? Remember that time when you volunteered to cook dinner for the family? You dared to livestream the event to your parents on their home from work. The horror of the burned pork loin coming out of the over is something you will never live down. You see it vividly in your mind. You can re-live the event every time you close your eyes and think about it. The problem, is that you fail miserably when you try to write about it as a descriptive essay. It’s almost as if you have a trauma you can’t overcome. Descriptive essays are the “noun” of the essay world. You can write a descriptive essay about any person, place, thing, event, memory, or experience. While the topics for the essay are numerous, writing it poses a problem to most students because of the personal nature of a descriptive essay. Not to worry though, these simple tips should be able to help you get the image and actions out of your head and onto paper.
- Remember to engage the senses of the reader. It isn’t enough that you chose a topic for the essay. You need to pick out a topic that you can accurately describe in a manner of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. Put it this way, the stronger you feel about the topic you have chosen to describe to your reader, the more engaging your descriptive essay will be. Transport the reader into the world that you experienced first-hand. That’s what makes for an effective descriptive essay.
- Make sure to set out a theme for your essay from the opening statement. Aside from picking out the topic, the reader needs to know why they should care about this descriptive essay. What is it all about? Your birthday? First day at summer camp? An achievement in your life? A turning point you never expected in your social life? Whatever it is, make sure that it is something that your reader can relate to on a simple instead of complex basis.
- Make sure to relate the events in order of occurrence. That means, if you are talking about a party, start the essay at the point when you were invited to the party and then work your way up, all the way to what happened as you left the party. If the food served was delicious, then describe it and say why. If it was horrible, compare it to something horrible that could be the counterpart of the food in a manner that the reader can identify. Since this is a descriptive essay, you need to accurately describe more than the background, you need to do a good job relating the events and other related elements that transpired, in order, as well.
- Sensory details count. Make sure that you don’t just give a one – dimensional description of the events, place, or thing. Remember, the essay will only interesting to the reader if you can keep their senses engaged and active throughout the essay. Don’t scrimp on the explanation about the touch, smell, sound, feel, and look of the essay topic. That’s what the descriptive essay theme is all about.
- Outline, outline, outline. Just like coloring within the lines, the outline helps the writer to keep the chronological telling of events in the essay. Don’t get so overly descriptive that you lose track of the story you are trying to tell. Keeping a chronological outline of the events for discussion will help you not only stay on track, but also feed your imagination when it comes to getting descriptive in the paragraphs. Don’t go beyond 5 paragraphs in your outline though. As long as the outline includes an introduction, at least 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion, in a descriptive manner, your essay will be on the right track.
- Make sure that the conclusion is as interesting as the opening statement and the early paragraphs of the essay. Most students fall apart when it comes to writing the conclusion of the descriptive essay because of the limitations in writing the closing statement. Provided you, as the essayist, writes a proper wrap up of the discussion by providing a proper summary of the discussion, highlights of the descriptive moments in the essay, and an interesting closing sentence that ties everything together, the essay will be just fine. If the reader remembers what you wrote long after he has read your essay, then you will have written a pretty interesting descriptive essay.
- Just because you finished writing doesn’t mean your work is done. Nope. The work has only just begun. Step away from the essay for a few hours to a few days then review your work. You should be able to read the content from a fresh perspective at that point. This will allow you to see mistakes that you made in grammar and punctuation. Most importantly, reviewing the essay at that point will allow you to make more effective descriptive changes to certain points of your essay. Hopefully, you will end the review with a much more improved version of the first essay. This is point where rewrites become a necessary evil if you wish to have a truly interesting descriptive essay.
- Finalise your content. If you are absolutely sure that you have written the best descriptive essay that you can, wrap up the essay. Dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Make sure that the spelling is impeccable, the grammar in every sentence should be proper, and there should not be any rogue punctuation marks in the essay.
Once you have completed these steps, the descriptive essay should be in its final
form, ready to be read by the world. Give yourself a pat on the back. Be proud of your work. You’ve managed to write one of the most difficult essay types that a student can ever come across. After you have successfully written one descriptive essay, the next descriptive essay topics should be easier for you to develop.