Academic Writing Complete Guide

Descriptive essays

The core objective of descriptive writing is to describe a person, event, a place, or a thing in a manner that forms a clear picture in the mind of the audience. If you want to capture an event through descriptive writing, you must pay attention to every different aspect and use all of your five senses. If students can write more descriptively, they will enhance their skills as well as their ability to write an interesting piece of work that engages the audience.

What is a descriptive essay?

This essay requires the writer to describe an object, a person, a place, an experience, emotion, or situation. It encourages the student to create a written account of something by allowing a great deal of artistic freedom. The idea is to paint a vivid image that is moving in the mind of the audience.

Guidelines for writing a descriptive essay

The following guidelines are very instrumental when you want to write a very interesting descriptive essay.

  • Brainstorming
    If you are required to describe something, you have to take time to think about some ideas before you can start writing. For instance, if you are describing roast chicken, start by writing a few words after which you can begin formulating descriptive lists of reach of the words.
  • Your language should be clear and concise
    Choose your words carefully and consider their relevance about what you are describing.
  • Use vivid language
    Choose words that create a firm image in the minds of the audience. You can offer nuanced meanings at time s to enhance your purpose. For instance, you can use a stallion instead of a horse, tempestuous instead of violent and so on.
  • Use your senses
    When you are describing something, you must appeal to every sense of the reader. You have to explain the smell of something, how it felt, sounded, tasted or how it looked. The moment should be embellished with senses.
  • Consider your thoughts
    To connect with the audience on a deeper level, you must describe emotions or feelings that relate to your topic. It could be ecstatic joy, crushing loss in one’s life or mild complacency. Deliver into these feelings and come up with a good descriptive piece.
  • Impress the reader
    When you write a descriptive essay, you have to create a strong sense of familiarity with the audience. If they can walk away drooling for the chicken you have just described, then know that you are on the highway to realise your full descriptive potential.
  • Organize your essay
    When writing your descriptive essay present an organised and logical description to the audience. This should happen if you are looking forward to a situation where the audience leaves with a cogent sense of what you have just described. Sometimes it is easy to fall into an incoherence rambling of emotions when writing this type of an essay. Get to remain focused from the onset and demonstrate a sense of organisation.

Descriptive essay writing process

As earlier observed, writing a descriptive essay demands one to create a vivid picture of a place, event, person or a thing to this audience. The purpose here is to reveal the meaning of a topic through detailed and sensory observation. The power of language and the human senses are some of the elements that allow descriptive essays to thrive. If the audience goes away having a feeling as if he knows the person being described or the event, then the writer has achieved his objective. If there are an emotional connection and appreciation for the significance of the topic, then the writer has done an excellent job

Writing a good essay takes time and a lot of effort. The following steps are instruments in assisting the writer to come up with a good descriptive essay.


  • Prewriting stage
    At this point, the write should take time to think about what they want to describe and the reasons behind it. The write is supposed to know if he is describing a person who is of utmost significance in his life, or a place or object that has special meaning. The topic that you are writing about does not have to be famous or unusual. It only needs to be unique enough. The person you are writing about can be your uncle, your dad or mum, a favourite object, or a place. Once you have the topic take time to think about the important qualities that you can describe. Think about all the details that relate t the topic. You have to go beyond the physical characteristics of where the person lives, where the object is located and so on. You have t consider the feelings and ideas that the topic conjures. Formulate an outline that puts the details for each paragraph in a logical sequence.
  • Drafting your essay
    When writing your first draft, stick to the outline. Keep the goal of giving the reader a rich experience of the topic in mind. When writing your descriptive essay, you are supposed to show instead of telling. If you want to show and not tell, you have to involve all the senses of the reader. The reader must see the sunset, hear the song, smell the food, taste the wine, and feel the touch.
    When you are telling, use the descriptive and figurative language and concrete images to describe the subject. Incorporate metaphors and similes. All these help in showing the reader rather than telling them the story.
  • Revising your descriptive essay
    During revision, the writer reviews modify and reorganise the work if necessary. The idea of revising is to make the work better than it is. For a student looking forward to a good grade, the revision will help to streamline everything about the descriptive essay. When you are revising your essay, consider the following aspects:

    • The essay should unfold in a manner that assists the reader to fully understand the subject. The paragraphs should be more descriptive to avoid confusion.
    • The words that you choose should appeal to all the senses of the audience to convey emotion and meaning.
    • The reader should be provided with adequate details for them to get a complete and the correct picture
    • Ensure that there is a connection between the description and the writer. Ascertain that the aud8ence will be able to identify with the conclusions made

    When you are writing your essay, you have to keep the audience in mind from the onset to the conclusion. To make the essay effective, you must ensure it has precise details. You can consider going from general to the specifics. If you do not do that, the audience will have a hard time creating the image in his mind.

  • Editing the descriptive essay
    This is where the writer starts with proofreading to correct the errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, as well as language use. The writer also has to improve on style, quality, and clarity. You have to delete cliché language from your descriptive essay. The best way to do this is to get another person to read your essay. He will be able to give you important feedback on areas that you can improve. He will also give you a hint as to the way your story flows. You can also try to read the essay aloud to find out phrases and sentences that are either awkward or do not make sense. When you do all this, you will be able to edit your essay with a fresh perspective. Make necessary changes that will enhance the quality of your essay.

Mistakes to look out for when writing your descriptive essay


Inability to use similes and metaphors

The use of metaphors and similes reduces the use of adjectives since they are not the only linguistic tools available to a student. Wit metaphors, you can like one thing to something else that is being described. As such, you have to describe it as the second object or idea. For instance, you can say, “Her eyes oceans”.

Similes, on the other hand, make a comparison the thing or object being described to an idea or a concept. For instance, you can say, “Her eyes were like oceans.”


Failure to organise the essay properly

Students can sometimes fail to organise their descriptive essays properly as opposed to other types of writing. This important assignment should be taken seriously. You are not supposed to use the descriptive essay to ramble on and should organise it to follow a theme in every paragraph. This will ensure there are good transitions between paragraphs too. When a student does this, he will be able to get a better grade.

Descriptive essay writing is one the easiest assignments that a student will get. The best thing in every assignment is to understand the all the instruction and adhering to them completely. You have to avoid every mistake to ensure that your essay is on point. Learn from experience and make use of the feedback you get.

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