What is a descriptive essay?
A descriptive essay creates a lively image of a person, a thing or a place by means of thorough observation. This type of writing conjures up a vivid picture of the subject in the reader’s head affecting all their senses with the power of language.
Reading a successful, well written descriptive essay people feel as if they have met this particular person, held this particular thing or been to this particular place.
Stages of Writing a Successful Descriptive Essay
At this stage, the authors should define the subject and the reasons why they want to depict it. It is recommended to take time and think everything over. The writers may choose anyone or anything that is significant for him or her, for instance, the person could be the best friend, the thing, the favourite CD, and the place, the grandparents’ house.
After choosing the topic, the authors should think about the features they want to portray. Try writing down all the associations that emerge in your mind at this stage. Every detail may be of vital importance. Contemplate on the surroundings even if you are not describing a place. Take into account both physical and emotional characteristics such as ideas, feelings and memories aroused by the subject. Make an outline of your essay, think over paragraphing and logically organize all the details.
While writing the first draft stick to the outline but do not forget the most important principle of writing a descriptive essay is “Show, do not tell”. In order to show you should bring to action all the reader’s senses that is sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. The aim is to make the reader see the storm, hear the birds singing, smell the flowers, or taste the cake.
Descriptive and figurative language will add to the “show” effect especially epithets, similes and metaphors.
During this stage, the authors review and reorganize the essay to bring it to perfection.
Reread your work keeping these questions in your mind:
1) Is the subject described in such a way that helps the reader estimate it at its true worth?
2) Are there any paragraphs that confuse the reader?
3) Does the essay language arouse all the five senses and communicate both meaning and emotion?
4) Is your description detailed enough for the reader to imagine the complete picture?
5) Is there a connection between the description and its significance for the writer?
At the editing stage the authors proofread their essay for vocabulary, grammar, and spelling mistakes. They may also improve the style by eliminating clichés and watching out for too many adjectives and adverbs. It is advisable to ask a parent or a friend to give the essay a fresh look.
Here is an example of a successful descriptive essay which will inspire you to write your own
My Piece of Paradise
A have spent all my childhood and adolescence in a megacity. I still live there so most of the year I am doomed to inhaling exhausted fumes and enjoying the grey morning full of smog. It is quite a problem for a person who adores nature with its bright, vivid colours, fresh aromas and song-like sounds. That is why I always longed to buy a cottage somewhere in the picturesque countryside far from the dirty and noisy city. When I was 20, my parents presented me with the house of my dream!
My first impression was the odour of flowers that covered the ground like a soft colourful blanket. The summer had just started, and the sun gave us its pleasant, gentle warm touch. It aroused in me an exciting emotion which I still feel every time I come there.
Our cottage was built in the middle of the previous century in the British style. It was made of various materials. Thus, it comprises stone foundation, brick walls and a wooden roof. The dwelling has five spacious rooms and a cosy kitchen.
When the sky pours its tears, and everything outside is wringing wet, we enjoy the warmth and dryness of the antique stone fireplace in the living room. It is furnished with a massive oak table, some chairs and a piano which match the style. Big windows eliminate the possible gloominess and give an air of grandeur.
Tall grand trees surround the house. They look especially green in summer – my favourite season – when I enjoy sitting in the shadow and reading a book with nothing to care about.
The best time here is the night. The yellowish moon is reflected in the pond near the cottage and the stars can be seen in the sky. This appeasing and romantic landscape makes me feel such freedom that can never be felt in the urban surrounding.
I was asked a million times about why I like our house. Now I can tell – it is the happiness I feel there that makes me leave my work, friends and change my city apartment for my rural paradise.