As a curious student, you are bound to ask questions like, what makes a good descriptive essay? Is there anything that can be left out from a typical descriptive essay and it will still hold on to its own? Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not often straightforward. It depends on several factors, such as the scope of the topic and the significance of each section of the essay.
Lucky for novice writers, we have come up with this ultimate guide to answer these questions – once and for all. This blog post will take a look at the necessary elements of a descriptive essay and then we will cover the requirements that writers should keep in mind while writing descriptive essays.
Necessary Elements Of A Descriptive Essay
Just like building blocks are joined in a pattern to create a building, there are certain elements in a descriptive essay that combine and form a meaningful write-up. A descriptive essay is a subjective account of a person, an object, an event, an experience, or a place that holds any significance for the writer and ultimately for the readers.
Narrative essays have a theme, a conflict to disrupt the status quo as their necessary elements. A descriptive essay has to have vivid details to capture the essence of the subject under consideration. In addition to this, writers rely on figurative language and sensory details to bridge the gap of time and space and put the readers right into the mix of things. Apart from this, descriptive essays should fulfill the purpose of their existence, which is to entertain readers with a comprehensive account of the subject.
Requirements To Keep In Mind
Descriptive essays are often assigned in high schools and colleges to gauge the writing and thinking capabilities of the students. For admission to colleges, students are also assigned to write essays on the provided topics by the admission committees. No matter the level and results of the essay writing practice, students are expected to show a depth of understanding and richness of prose through their submissions. In times like when students are wondering how to add value to their writing, this section will come fore to rescue them.
No Room For Obvious Descriptions
Just because it is a descriptive essay does not mean you have to spell out even the basic descriptions of things, places, and persons in your essay. For instance, if a house is only a secondary element in your essay, you do not need to describe the walls, the ceilings, and the doors of the house. The same goes for objects that are universally understood for their physical and metaphysical meanings. These include flowers, weapons, and more. There is always a scarce space for students to play out all the elements and obvious descriptions are only the hindrances that they should get rid of.
Using Forceful Words And Phrases
After going through an obvious red flag, let us consider a must-have – forceful words and phrases. The purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to make things come alive on a piece of paper. This cannot be done using wimpy verbs, weak phrases, and lacking sentences. Instead, writers should target vigorous language with forceful verbs and adjectives. There are dedicated tools and software to help them with this issue. For instance, Hemingway Editor can not only identify long sentences and weak verbs but also suggest alternatives. This can speed up the process without taking a lot of time and other resources of the students.
Evoking Sensory Details
It is hard to imagine a subject in a descriptive essay and then differentiates it from others without providing sensory details. For reference, let us take the example of a rose. In terms of sight, it has many colors but red is the most dominant one. In terms of smell, it has a pleasant very soothing fragrance. In terms of symbols, it stands for love and passion. While writing a descriptive essay on a flower or a rose, the writers should determine the bases and elements they want to cover and then connect the dots for the readers. Otherwise, the prose will fall flat.
Putting Figurative Language To Use
In argumentative essays, every word stands for something concrete and there is no diversion from the meaning of the symbol of that subject. On the contrary, a descriptive essay could have multiple layers in terms of words, meanings, and symbols. Figurative language is the hallmark of a descriptive essay, especially in terms of connecting the readers with the subject, in a more intimate fashion. Other essays can exist without relying on these literary tools, but a descriptive essay cannot and should have essential similes, metaphors, analogies, and so forth in their places. Anything less and the purpose of writing will not be fulfilled.
Forceful Viewpoint of Author
There are two distinct types of descriptive essays. One is an objective or formal description whereas the other one is subjective or impressionistic. No matter which route you go, the footprint of the writer should be visible throughout the content. By recalling the example of the rose, we can say that one author decides to use it as a symbol of love and passion, based on his personal experiences. Whereas another author finds the red color of the rose more reminiscent of blood and can connect it with oppression and murder. As a writer, you need to leave your mark in a descriptive essay to add further value and character.
Beware of Over-Descriptive Sentences
How much description is enough description? It is hard to distinguish between a balanced approach and something too much over the top. One common pitfall that many novice writers fall into is over-descriptive sentences that stuff too much information in one single sentence. Compared to this, understated sentences and paragraphs that either hint at one aspect or only deal with one thing in depth are much more preferred. The best way to learn the act of balancing out is by reading the works of prominent authors and seeing how they keep it fresh and crisp without making the whole redundant.
Three Major Sections Of A Descriptive Essay
When you need to write a descriptive essay on a given topic, the whole process is boiled down to writing three superb sections. These sections are the introduction or opening, the main body, and a conclusion or closing to sign off.
Even though they are part of the same essay, their nature and function are quite different from one another. The change in purpose covers many aspects of writing, researching, and the play of elements in the subsequent sections.
This segment is dedicated to covering the process of writing these major sections and ensuring that everything is where it should be.
Opening With A Hook
A hook is an interesting way to start a write-up, be it a novel, a short story, or a descriptive essay. Writers employ hooks to catch readers’ attention and make investing in what they have to say. There are many types of hooks, depending on their purpose as well as their nature. Some hooks are statistics that connect the opening with the subject of the essay. It can be a bold statement or a quotation from a literary figure. It can be a question directly asked by the readers. Right after the hook comes the context and setting of the descriptive essay. It should be relevant and on-point to lead the content to the thesis statement.
The All-Explaining Main Body
This is the bulk of a descriptive essay, or any essay for that matter, as it has a maximum word count and provides space for all elements to play out and balance one another. If we recall the elements of a descriptive essay, they are vivid details, figurative language, sensory details, and organization of the information to help readers understand every element. Even though writers have the space and word count to let loose, it is always recommended to make every word count and keep unnecessary words and sentences out of the essay. A standard descriptive essay structure has three paragraphs out of five. If a writer wants to experiment with prose, this is the place.
Conclusion – Summarizing Important Points
Like the introduction or opening of the essay, the conclusion is one of the most crucial parts of a descriptive essay. One of the things that make it so is that it is the last thing that a reader will read and probably remember about the essay. Still, many novice writers make the mistake of writing it half-heartedly with no creative zeal. The result is a flat conclusion or closing with no memorable line for the readers as a takeaway. Since the purpose of writing a conclusion is to summarize all the main points of the essay, it should do so in an interesting manner to provide the best value to the readers.
What makes a good descriptive essay?
Since writing is subjective, it is hard to come up with a single standard that can distinguish a good descriptive essay from a poor one. Still, certain elements help identify the good ones.
Use of vivid details
Literary devices and figurative language
Organized information to facilitate readers
How can I balance all the elements of a descriptive essay?
The best way to balance out all the elements is by dividing the whole essay into different sections. This way, the writer will have easy access to the requirements and the set place to play them out. Otherwise, everything can become jumbled into one whole which will be detrimental to the whole write-up.
What are the major sections in a descriptive essay?
There are three major sections in a descriptive essay, the same as a narrative or an argumentative essay.
An introduction or opening to get things started
The main body explains all the elements
A closing to conclude and summarize the main points
Can you explain the primary motive of descriptive writing?
The primary motive or purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to entertain the readers and let them connect with the subject. A subject is the topic of the essay, which can be a place, a thing, a person, and so on. Writers rely on different tools to make depth and add value to their writing and fulfill this purpose.
What is a descriptive writing example?
A descriptive writing example can be amplified using different sentences. A sentence that provides only necessary information is basic. On the other hand, a sentence that employs figurative language and literary tools to make it more charged in terms of the five senses becomes a descriptive writing example.
What is the best way to open and close a descriptive essay?
Engaging the reader is the key. Many writers struggle with keeping interested and getting readers hooked. The best way to do so is by using quotations, bold statements, as well as statistics to connect the content with the topic and ultimately to the reader.
The beauty of prose lies in both its known and unknown mechanisms. While writing descriptive essays, students are often bombarded with several questions, from getting started and researching to writing numerous drafts and improving writing along the way.
This blog post was targeted toward helping students understand what is required from them when they write a descriptive essay. By following the rule of divide and conquer, writers can tackle all the issues in a commensurate fashion. As for the unknown parts, they need to create and rear instincts so that they can distinguish between the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So, if you are planning to get started on your assigned descriptive essay, it is best to start with this resource!