Tips on Writing a Descriptive Essay
A descriptive essay is notably different from other essay types. The descriptive style of writing essays is used to produce a vivid picture of the object of your description, be it a person, thing or place. Unlike a narrative story, descriptive essay aims at revealing the subject via detailed observation appealing to human senses.
The task of the author of a descriptive essay is completed when the readers get a feeling that they have really encountered a person or visited a place described by the author. And it is even better if the readers perceive an emotional relation to the subject.
The need to write a descriptive essay often arises for students as many of the papers they have to write during their studies are actually normal descriptive stories. Besides, descriptive essays are often produced by various kinds of professionals. Certainly among them are in the first place book writers and journalist, but not only them. A close look at routine duties of such professions as secretaries, government officials and realty brokers (and many others) shows that a nice share of their job is no other thing than writing descriptive essays.
So in our opinion such a widespread activity deserves a lot of attention, which is a good reason to propose a few tips on writing a descriptive essay.
Writing a good essay is always a fine piece of work requiring the author’s creativity and diligence. As is well known, a proper guidance never hurts in a complex job. Based on our experience we’d like to offer you a five-stage plan on the subject. These are our tips on writing a descriptive essay:
1.The prewriting stage
In this stage, the writer decides outlines the essay and decides whether its topic will be a person, object or place. The best topic is neither very famous, nor unusual. If it is a person, it could be a relative. It may be a house, a square, a car but usually not an event, since the essay is descriptive hence it should describe a relatively static object, not an action. On selecting the topic, the author should consider, on the one hand, the subject’s details, and, on the other hand, its surroundings. As for details, for a person it is not only his or her physical characteristics, but also ideas and preferences. The surroundings will describe where the person lives or where the object is located. Here it is good to mention that the place is famous, because, for example, an important event had taken place nearby or there is some old tradition in this town (here it would be great to trace a connection to the essay subject). After that you plan individual sections or paragraphs of your story and consider their logical sequence.
2. Drafting the essay
A draft essay is already the result of your work, just not yet checked for errors (and almost always having errors). The draft essay will change during revision and editing but not radically. So it is exactly here that you determine the general shape of your essay. And the overall success of your work greatly depends on your ability to produce a text that will give the reader a feeling of presence and emotional connection with the essay subject. A useful advice for writing a good descriptive text is that the author should not tell but show. That is the author should use figurative language and bright images. With a good descriptive essay, the readers should perceive the subject with all their senses – not only sights, but also hearing, smell, taste and touch.
3. The revision stage
The authors review and modify their texts. They should try to imagine themselves in the reader’s place and answer the following (or similar) questions:
• Does the essay give the reader a complete image of the subject?
• Does it sufficiently appeal to the reader’s senses?
• Has it succeeded in establishing the reader’s emotional connection with the subject?
Also keep in mind that a good descriptive essay must be precise in all detail. At this phase it is useful to leave your draft essay alone for some time. It is well known that “sleeping on a paper” is always a good help.
4. The editing stage
During this stage of writing an essay, the author proofreads the text and corrects errors. Proofreading is essential. The usual situation is that the author believes that there can’t be any errors left in the text and after proofreading is surprised to find much more of them than expected. Besides, especially with larger volumes, when you read the text from the beginning to the end, it often appears that the style in the beginning is different from that in the final part. Also it would be good to read the essay to a friend. A fresh eye is able to discover points that you did not even suspect to find.
5. Publishing the essay
No matter whether you distribute your essay in a printed form or you read it in the classroom as a home task, it always means sharing your work with the rest of the world, and it is always a bit scary (but at the same time exiting). Such your feelings are not at all special. Any writer is sensitive about his or her work when it is submitted to the audience. For the author, any feedback is valuable and can be used in future activities. A correct conclusion from the readers’ opinions will help you make your next essay even better than this one.