What Makes A Good Descriptive Essay

October 18, 2022 F WP
good descriptive essay

What Makes A Good Descriptive Essay

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In Search of Good Essays

If think that there is something magical about good writing, you are not alone. Experts are still at odds with what makes good writing. One thing is sure about good writing – it covers all the bases and stays true to the topic.

Essay writing is an integral part of academic life, whether students like it or not. They have to sit through lectures and classes and then produce original work on topics that they have to come up with. Based on the quality, and quantity of that writing to some extent, they are awarded scores by the instructors. 

For those who are always intrigued and moved by good writing, and want to produce exceptional works of their own, this blog post is the best resource for them!

Descriptive Essay Writing

A descriptive essay is a written account of a subject that has the power to inform and entertain readers. Most importantly, it can help them know the subject. The subject of a descriptive essay can be a person of certain characteristics, a place with interesting elements, a memorable or moving experience, and so on. Potentially, anything that can be described can be the subject of descriptive writing.

What makes the bulk of an essay is the play and balancing act of its elements. For a descriptive essay, the elements are the vivid details illuminating traits, figurative language to remove literary barriers, sensory experience to put the readers right in the middle of the action, and the organized structure of information for the content flow.

Even though a descriptive essay does not follow the norms of a rigid essay structure, it is still divided into three main sections, including an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion.

Primary Motive For Writing Descriptive Essays

One of the yardsticks to measure the quality of writing is by determining how it fulfills its primary motive or purpose. Where the purpose of writing a narrative essay is to help readers connect with the story and draw parallels from the content, the purpose of writing a descriptive essay is to inform and entertain readers.

Writers employ several literary devices such as similes, analogies, metaphors, and more to bridge the gap between space and time for the readers. For instance, if a writer is writing a descriptive essay on a rose, he should let the readers see its color, condition, and the place where it is blooming as well as the symbolic meanings and thematic angle of the essay.

If a descriptive essay is lacking in quality and does not entertain the readers, it is not fulfilling its primary purpose.

Things That Make A Good Descriptive Essay

There are different methods to determine the quality of writing. For some, it is about how they felt after reading a piece. For others, it is about the technical aspect of the writing, especially how the elements are played out and balanced against one another.

Whatever they are, they are almost redundant for a writer who wants to learn and improve his writing.

Instead, we have listed four points that, when improved and added on, can provide real value to writing.

Vivid Details To Entertain And Educate

When it comes to writing a good descriptive essay, vivid details come at the top of the proverbial pyramid. Without them, it is hard to imagine anything happening or taking place in a write-up. For instance, if a writer needs to describe a place that gives him chills and seems spooky to him, it is not possible to connect with readers and make them care for that place without providing the necessary details. Many students take it literally and provide every nitty-gritty detail. This is not right as it slows down the pace of the essay.

Figurative Language For A Pleasant Read

If writing is not pleasant and entertaining, what is the point of reading that in the first place? Even the most phlegmatic subjects are treated with immense care and attention to introduce new and exciting dimensions to them. So, while writing a descriptive essay, writers should not think twice to borrow elements from figurative language. This can help them add character and depth to the subject without going over the top. There is no descriptive writing without figurative language unless you are experimenting with minimalism. Then, it is fine but not recommended by the experts.

Sensory Experience To Add Depth

How can you distinguish a clean table from a dirty one? Or how can you determine a wooden table from an iron one? The sensory experience cannot be overemphasized in descriptive writing. Writers use this aspect of writing to leave their signature and footprint in the write-up. It is because this is the best aspect of writing where both the physical and metaphysical can converge and even become one. So, for those who struggle with leaving their marks in their essays, this provides the opportunity to make things more and better than they are.

Organized Structure For Easy Following

If you are someone who feels their head spinning after reading a poor descriptive essay, you should know that the structure is the real culprit. Since descriptive essay does not have a rigid structure, many writers turn them into a stream-of-consciousness novel. The result is poor narration and description to write lost to the readers. Instead, description is strengthened when it follows an organized, predictable path where events take a logical avenue to unfold. Outlining is the best way to set the direction and pace for your descriptive essay, right from the beginning.

How to Add Value To Your Descriptive Essays

Students are often baffled by poor scores and understanding of the dynamics of writing. They think that there is something mystical at work that helps writers write well. In reality, it takes practice and perseverance to produce riveting literary pieces.

In this section, we are going through some of the most practical and rewarding steps that can help students add value to their essays. They are neither definitive nor mere hacks, but solid tips that can improve their writing.

Emulating The Style of Renowned Literary Figures

Before novice writers can develop their style, they should try to follow the style of renowned literary figures. Luckily, there is much work done in the descriptive section, both in fiction and non-fiction. For instance, the works of Tolkien and Martin provide a strong base for learning. Since they were able to produce whole worlds and universes on a piece of paper, students can learn a thing or two from them.

Balancing The Essential Elements

We cannot stress enough the act of balancing the essential elements. A descriptive essay is a product of how these elements were played out by the writer. Also, they should add value to the readers’ experience. Otherwise, the whole writing will fall flat and the write-up will not be able to fetch superior marks for the writer. Practice and reading the works of famous writers is the best way to learn this feat.

Showing The Bigger Picture

A descriptive essay, like much of the writing, is more than the sum of its parts. When it comes to showing the bigger picture, it means that students should keep in mind the symbolic and thematic angles of the work. While writing a descriptive essay on a person, it is important to show the physical and metaphysical traits as well as what he stands for and represents. There is no point and doling out hollow descriptions.


Good descriptive writing covers the elements and balances them out in such a way that the meanings and implications of the topic are clear to the readers. An example of good descriptive writing is about showing the action or motion rather than describing it.

This enigma has not been solved by many experts and we cannot tell you exactly why this is the case. What we do know is that practicing and learning from the greats can help novice writers become better and produce great descriptive essays.

Figurative language is the part and parcel of descriptive writing. There is no way a writer can pull off a riveting descriptive essay without relying on figurative nuances of the language to some extent.

As human beings, we learn, remember, and recognize things based on their smell, sight, taste, touch, or sound. It can help us differentiate between different things and then distinguish them further. For instance, we can differentiate a rotten apple from a fresh apple based on sensory details in the essay.

Here are some of the ways to score good marks in college essays:

  • Research and outline before starting
  • Proofread and edited after finishing
  • Add value every step of the way

Narrative writing is about telling a story regarding a personal experience or incident that had an immense effect on the writer. Compared to this, descriptive writing is a written account of a person, a thing, a place, an event, or an experience.

Summing It Up

Descriptive writing is as much an art as it is a science. Students should not fret about the dynamics of writing and the deeper meaning that the words imply. In this post, we have covered several important bases that are instrumental in determining the quality of descriptive writing as well as how to write better essays. When it comes to value addition, copying the style and techniques of renowned authors can get things started. As for the indicators of good descriptive writing, the section with the heading “things that make a good descriptive essay” is the best place to learn.

So, if you were planning to get started, it is time to go on!

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