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The Art of the Descriptive Essay

Definitions, Structure, and Tips on Descriptive Writing
by

Mavra Choudhry

on 21 October 2013

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Transcript of The Art of the Descriptive Essay

The Description Essay
Essay Structure
Similar to a narrative essay, but less of a "play-by-play" recounting of subject/experience
Figurative Language
Metaphors, similes, personification, onomatopoeia, imagery -- anything goes!
TIPS & TRICKS
What is a Description Essay?
Describe the experience w/ subject (person, event, etc) vividly enough that the reader feels like s/he is there
Uses
sensory images
, describing
sight
taste
touch
hearing
smell
of descriptive writing
the art of
Evokes an emotional response from the reader that literal description would not
Focused on descriptive details (appeals to senses) so the reader experiences it with you
Should have an overall purpose to depict subject in a certain light
LITERAL:
She loved him dearly.
FIGURATIVE:
She loved him as the barren desert loves the sweet, cool breath of rain.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
WHAT TO AVOID:
The sunset slowly consumed the faint blue sky with the colour of basketballs.
INSTEAD . . .
The faint blue of the sky was consumed slowly by the orange of the oncoming sunset, as though it were a newspaper someone had tossed into the embers of a fireplace.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
Remember: evoke the RIGHT feeling!
The sharp scent of dry, cool pine lingers lightly in the air. A gentle wind whispers through dry leaves, the rustling masking the soft sound of my boots hitting the yellowed pine needles carpeting the forest’s floor. Even the sunlight, filtering through the looming trees surrounding me, is tinged faintly with green, so that it feels like I am walking through an enchanted wood. At that moment, the wind picks up, the chill breeze pouring over my skin like rainfall, and the magic is complete.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
Vocabulary
Like figurative devices, the words you choose should evoke the
right
feeling.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
Figurative Devices
AVOID BEING
TRITE
.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
AVOID BEING
CONTRIVED
.
ACHIEVE A
HAPPY MEDIUM
!
TRITE (ADJ.): DULL ON ACCOUNT OF OVERUSE.
CONTRIVED (ADJ.): deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
His eyes were as blue as the sky.
His eyes were as blue as industrial grade copper sulfate.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
His eyes were as blue as a still sea moments before a storm.
Sense Images
REMEMBER:
Don't just stick to
sight!
SHOW
, DON'T
TELL
!
always remember,
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
It was Christmastime.
VERSUS
The ice-slicked sidewalks of the city were hardly visible amid the hordes of bustling shoppers braving bitter gusts of wind to peruse department store windows lit up with twinkling red and green lights; all the while, snowflakes danced gently down from the cold, grey sky.
You can experiment with
combining different senses
for effect.
Her heart palpitated expeditiously.
vs.
Her heart thumped wildly.
FOR EXAMPLE . . .
The air was
scented
with the
crisp red
of autumn leaves.
Any point-of-view; lots of creative freedom
Full transcript