Descriptive Writing Clear description provides a dominant impression. What is descriptive writing? • Descriptive writing • The ten-inch snowfall has one, clear was beautiful, but it was dominant impression. also quite deadly. Cars • So to describe a had slid off the road, snowfall, you must forcing drivers to walk picture it as pretty or on the ice. The town had dangerous, but not several bad car both at once. collisions, mostly at • The thesis sentence corners. The worst one asserts something of all happened when a about the topic. sixteen-year-old driver hit and killed a • Then the details all grandmother crossing support that view. Walnut Avenue. • What is the thesis? What are cars likely to do on snow? Descriptive writing has a point! • About the • The ten-inch snowfall was snowfall, the beautiful, but it was also quite deadly. point is that it 1. Cars had slid off the road, is dangerous. forcing drivers to walk on • The support the ice. sentences add 2. The town had several bad details that car collisions, mostly at corners. go from bad 3. The worst one of all to worse and happened when a sixteen- then to the year-old driver hit and very worst. killed a grandmother crossing Walnut Avenue. What trouble does snowfall bring drivers? Is description objective or subjective? • A descriptive essay can • Objective or subjective? be objective or • Blondie, a cute wiener dog subjective, giving the with a winsome look, was author a wide choice of my favorite pet. She liked tone and attitude. to follow me. At the store, • Objective description when I gave her half of of one's dog would my Twinkie, her eyes mention facts like its would twinkle. She liked height, weight and color. fishing with me, especially • Subjective description when I caught minnows for would include all that, her to eat. The only place but would also stress she didn‘t go was school, the author's feeling but she waited at the bus toward the dog, and its stop for me, come cloud or personality and habits. rain. She was a great pet. Doesn’t the passage promote a feeling? How important are the senses? • Descriptive writing relies on concrete, sensory detail to communicate its point. • Include sound, smell, taste, touch, and inner feeling. – What sounds do you hear? – What odors or flavors are there? – What textures objects have? – Does it make you feel positive or negative? What sensory trouble did the dog get into? What about using specifics? • Go beyond common • When Kamie was eleven nouns, like car, book, years old, a routine magazine, movie, or physical uncovered an building. abnormal curvature in • Use specific names, her spine, scoliosis. such as Kamie, as well as her – Honda Accord family, was devastated. – Gone With the Wind They were told by the – Seventeen Magazine doctor that only 10 – Jurassic Park percent of all children – Dalton State are afflicted by College scoliosis, but her family • In the passage on the just couldn‘t believe right, are there any Kamie was a part of specifics details? that 10 percent. Here are the specific details: • Names and numbers are very specific details: • When Kamie was eleven years old, a routine physical uncovered an abnormal curvature in her spine, scoliosis. Kamie, as well as her family, was devastated. They were told by the doctor that only 10 percent of all children are afflicted by scoliosis, but her family just couldn‘t believe Kamie was a part of that 10 percent. Can we use colorful adjectives? • Forget good, fun, tall, fast, short, beautiful, ugly, light, rough, or kind. • Say someone was six- and-a-half feet. • Say it went 90 miles per hour. • Say the jerk had a scar running from his right cheek to his jaw. • Say ―we ran along the beach every morning at six.‖ What’s colorful about • Not just ‗we had fun on Johnny Depp in the role of our vacation‘. Captain Jack Sparrow? Can you use active verbs? 1. Don‘t say that • I answered yes to 7 someone‘s heart of the 10 symptoms was beating fast. and ―may be addicted 2. Say that it was to the net.‖ I never thumping, or realized that I was palpitating, or computer addicted. skipping. Then Arnie‘s words 3. Don‘t say a girl ran hit home: ‗Technology down the hall. is addicting. Like 4. Write that she heroin, the bad habit skipped or danced down the hall. feeds on our wish to • Which active verbs escape the limits of can you find? time and space; and it consumes us.‘ Here are the active verbs: • I answered yes to 7 of the 10 symptoms and ―may be addicted to the net.‖ I never realized that I was computer addicted. Then Arnie‘s words hit home: ‗Technology is addicting. Like heroin, the bad habit feeds on our wish to escape the limits of time and space; and it consumes us.‘ Can you create an impression? • If you are wanting to • Americans lead the frighten people with a world in coffee description of a drinking, averaging 3.4 haunted house, for cups per person a day. example, then you should use words that But is the brown drink are dark, gloomy, and just a morning pick- foreboding throughout me-up? Unfortunately, the essay. much of today‘s coffee • You can even make a is grown in such a way list of related words that it damages the before you begin to environment, although write. it has been proven • What is the main that there are far less impression? harmful methods. Can you create an impression? • Americans lead the world in coffee drinking, averaging 3.4 cups per person a day. But is the brown drink just a morning pick- me-up? Unfortunately, much of today‘s coffee is grown in such a way that it damages the environment, although it has been proven that there are far less harmful methods. Can you use a normal pattern? • Organize by • It started the first day at putting the my horrible high school. I important or remember walking through larger features that big school on the gray, first, and the evil morning. I walked to my less important or resource room, and I sat smaller features down right next to the guy last. who would turn my world • In your writing, upside down. I remember always describe looking toward the window from and seeing his spiking hair 1. top to bottom, outline against the dreary horizon. He was looking at 2. right to left, me. I knew that he must 3. or front to have been looking at a girl back. behind me or something. He • What‘s the couldn‘t possibly be looking pattern? at me. Boy, was I wrong. Can you write in paragraphs? • Use separate • My friend Catherine is as paragraphs to cool as a cucumber. She is describe a Mormon, and she really person’s: believes in her religion. I 1. physical respect her for that. She appearance is always there when I 2. relationships with need a shoulder to cry on. others She is extremely nice, 3. hobbies and and she is as sweet as interests sugar. She is really cool 4. accomplishments to hang out with at the and achievements mall because we both 5. beliefs, have the same style in likes/dislikes, and clothing. I have only dreams known her for a year, but What‘s this about? I feel like I have known her forever. You can organize paragraphs: • My friend Catherine is as cool as a cucumber. 1. She is Mormon, and she really believes in her religion. 2. She is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. 3. She is extremely nice, and she is as sweet as sugar. 4. She is really cool to hang out with at the mall because we both have the same style in clothing. How serious is 5. I have only known her for your shopping? a year, but I feel like I have known her forever. Describe with more comparisons. • Help us understand what you are describing by using comparisons such as these: 1. The cashier was as slow as a turtle. 2. Her father looked like an angry bull. 3. The students faces looked like blank Is the food industry more sheets of paper. advanced than other terrorists? How to conclude a description: • In the conclusion, • How does this one end? connect the reader • My friend John is easygoing. to the description. He wears jeans or shorts • Or say how the thing and doesn‘t care about you‘re describing has fashion. When his daughter changed your life. says she‘s having trouble with a friend, he says, • Try not to repeat ―That‘s okay. It will work what you said in your out.‖ One day, my dog bit introduction. John, hard, on his leg and • Rather, say tore his pants. He said it was something conclusive his fault because he had but new. disturbed the dog. John helps me keep from being too nervous. How to conclude a description: • In the conclusion, • How does this one end? connect the reader • My friend John is easygoing. to the description. He wears jeans or shorts • Or say how the and doesn‘t care about thing you’re fashion. When his daughter describing has says she‘s having trouble changed your life. with a friend, he says, ―That‘s okay. It will work • Try not to repeat out.‖ One day, my dog bit what you said in your John, hard, on his leg and introduction. tore his pants. He said it was • Rather, say his fault because he had something conclusive disturbed the dog. John but new. helps me keep from being too nervous. It ends with how John changes the writer‘s life, making him more calm and peaceful. Can you pass the review test? 1. Descriptions a. How you see basically are something or a. details put into someone. lists b. Exaggerations about b. the only writing reality. pattern c. Just how you feel c. word pictures about something. d. lots of colorful d. How something or adjectives someone look, sound, e. pretty normal taste, smell, and/or sentences feel. 2. Descriptions e. What your normally tell girlfriend wants to know. Can you pass the review test? 3. We use descriptions a. What your mother • Only when we talk. wants you to do. • Only when we write. b. The most important • Both when talking feature. and writing. c. Why you left high • Much more than school. narration. d. The one you would • Much less than like to forget. narration. e. What you like the 4. In descriptive most about a person writing, the main or a thing. impression is f. All the details added. Can you pass the review test? • Which of these is • I toured two major comparison? cities of Morocco— 1. My essays read like land of mystery, mystery novels. enticement, and 2. Your essays read enchantment. I was well enough. expecting belly 3. His essays sound dancers, snake good to me. charmers, and exotic 4. Their essays could sights filled with color be better than the and decoration. While other ones‘. I did see that, most of 5. No one knows where what I saw was totally my essay is. unexpected and will • What stirs up more haunt me forever. interest? Applying Descriptive Writing • Begin by giving your • My father was a very reason for telling all active person. As a book about someone. salesman, he drove • Give your main hours everyday. He impression of the pitched fast-pitch person. softball until he was 50. • Add specific details He stayed at the dam of sight, sound, fishing till after dark. touch, etc. He shot deer with bow and arrow, providing • End with what the meat for his family. At person means to 80, he even roofed his you. own house. Now it is your turn! Write out a one-page description of your father or your mother!
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