how to write a descriptive essay

It’s Time to Learn How to Write a Descriptive Essay

Posted on Posted in descriptive essay, writing tips

When writing a descriptive essay, you should create a vivid presentation of a thing, place, or person. This is a special kind of assignment that shows how well you can convey your sensory observations through words.

Why Is It So Hard to Understand How to Write a Descriptive Essay?

The main challenge when writing a descriptive essay is creating a strong impression for the reader. When you’re writing a persuasive essay, for example, you know how to do that: you support your arguments with facts. Descriptive writing is more subjective. It’s difficult to make the reader accept your point of view when you’re only using your senses to describe something.

The reader should be left with an impression that they have really met the person, seen the place, or experienced the event you described. You should create an emotional bond with the reader. In essence, a descriptive essay should take the reader by the hand and show them something they can almost see or sense when they close their eyes. You do that by expressing your impressions through detailed observations and descriptions.

What do you see, hear, smell, touch, or taste? These are the main things to have in mind when engaging in descriptive writing. The language should be vivid, so it will create a realistic impression for your reader. Well, that’s exactly why descriptive essay writing is so challenging.

Important Tips: How to Write Descriptive Essay

When students come to XpertWriters for help, they have few things they want to learn:

  • How to write a descriptive essay about yourself;
  • How to write a descriptive essay about a person;
  • How to write a descriptive essay about a place;
  • How to write a descriptive essay about a picture.

Your professor’s instructions will determine whether you’ll be writing about yourself, a person, place, or picture. If you don’t get such instructions, you can choose your own focus. There are few tips that will help you deal with all kinds of descriptive writing.

  1. Don’t Skip the Pre-Writing Stages

What or who will you describe? The theme will set the tone of your essay. Think about it. Go through the brainstorming stage, so you’ll get ideas before you start writing. What reason do you have for writing this particular description? Never write for the sake of completing the assignment. You’re going to write it anyway, so you might as well pick a topic that gives you a real reason to write. It may be a powerful memory, feeling, or idea the subject evoked and you want to describe.

When you’re done with the brainstorming stage, draft an outline that will keep you focused on the process of writing. Plan what you’ll write in each paragraph. When you have that structure, it will be easy to fill in the gaps.

  1. Trust Your Senses

Descriptive essay writing is all about sights, smells, sounds, textures, and smells. When you have the subject, you should rely on your senses in order to describe it. Your language should be vivid, but it should paint a real picture for the reader.

Provide enough details and descriptions, so the reader can gain a complete impression of the topic you’re describing.

  1. Maintain the Logical Flow

The structure of a descriptive essay is more flexible when compared to the one of an argumentative essay. You won’t have a thesis statement, three main arguments, and conclusion. You’ll have an introduction, body, and closing paragraph. You may rearrange the body paragraphs to get the best flow.

Although the structure is flexible, you should make sure you’re not bouncing around the topic without saying anything in particular. You may rely on your vision first and describe the looks, and then you’ll describe how it tasted. That’s just an example. You’ll define your own structure and you’ll stick with it.

  1. Don’t Tell; Show!

When students come to our college essay writing service for help with descriptive writing, this is the main tip we give them: don’t tell; show!

The woman was beautiful.

This woman charmed everyone when she walked it. As she was making secure steps towards the host, her dark blue eyes didn’t show any emotion. She smiled, showing her imperfect teeth had no effect on her self-confidence.

In the first sentence, we tell the woman was beautiful. That doesn’t tell the reader enough. In the second example, we show how beautiful this woman was. Do you see the difference?

You Don’t Need Much Preparation to Start Writing a Descriptive Essay

The best part about descriptive essay writing is that you don’t need much preparation. You don’t need to conduct serious research and support arguments with facts. You only need to understand the topic you’ll be describing and focus on your own perception.

There will be a process of preparation, but you’ll go through it rather quickly. Plus, brainstorming is always fun!
If you have no idea how to start writing your descriptive essay, it would be wise to read some of the best descriptions ever written. You’ll usually find such descriptions on the first stages of great novels.

“A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool.” That’s from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Do you see how the author relied on his senses to make you imagine the scene?

That’s what powerful descriptive writing is all about: painting a picture. You’ll be getting better with practice, so don’t get too disappointed if you don’t get it right with the first attempt.

You Don’t Know How to Write a Descriptive Essay? We Can Help!

When compared to an argumentative essay, the descriptive essay takes less time and preparation. However, it takes the same level of writing skill. In fact, you have to be a really great writer to write brilliant descriptions. With lack of writing skills, the descriptions get dry and boring.

Everything is in the language and tone you use. It’s not about the scene, person, or sound. It’s about the way you describe it.

If you’re stuck, there’s no need to worry. is here to help you with all kinds of assignments, including descriptive essays.

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