• To write a narrative essay, you’ll need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to you) in such a way that he audience learns a lesson or gains insight.• To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.
Tips for writing effective narrative and descriptive essays:• Tell a story about a moment or event that means a lot to you--it will make it easier for you to tell the story in an interesting way!• Get right to the action! Avoid long introductions and lengthy descriptions--especially at the beginning of your narrative.• Make sure your story has a point! Describe what you learned from this experience.• Use all five of your senses to describe the setting, characters, and the plot of your story. Dont be afraid to tell the story in your own voice. Nobody wants to read a story that sounds like a textbook!
How to Write Vivid DescriptionsHaving trouble describing a person, object, or event foryour narrative or descriptive essay?• What do you smell?• What do you taste?• What do you see?• What do you hear?• What might you touch or feel?Remember: Avoid simply telling us what somethinglooks like--tell us how it tastes, smells, sounds, or feels!
Using Concrete Details for NarrativesEffective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything thats happening, in theirminds. One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details. Concrete Language… Abstract Language… makes the story or image seem clearer makes the story or image difficult to and more real to us. visualize. gives us information that we can easily leaves your reader feeling empty, grasp and perhaps empathize with. disconnected, and possibly confused.The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art. An abstract painting, for example, doesnot normally contain recognizable objects. In other words, we cant look at the painting andimmediately say "thats a house" or "thats a bowl of fruit." To the untrained eye, abstract artlooks a bit like a childs finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas. Avoidabstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what youre trying to say!
EXAMPLES!• Examples:• Abstract: It was a nice day. Concrete: The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face.• Abstract: I liked writing poems, not essays. Concrete: I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays.• Abstract: Mr. Smith was a great teacher. Concrete: Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.
HOW TO WRITE A DESCRIPTIVE ESSAYHere is a list of important rules to follow as your write this essay.• Understand the concept• Do your research• Outline the paper• Write the paper• Re-write the paper• Edit (outside editors)Here are some tips to remember when writing your descriptive essay:• Actually describe something• Use concrete and abstract images• Use concrete and abstract ideas• Do not go overboard with adjectives and adverbs• Do not go overboard with similes and metaphors• Give it to someone else to see if your essay actually describes something
What do you want to describe? As you get started on your descriptive essay, itsimportant for you to identify exactly what you wantto describe. Often, a descriptive essay will focus onportraying one of the following:• a person• a Place• a memory• an experience• an object
How should you write your description?If theres one thing you should remember as you write yourdescriptive essay, its the famous saying: show dont tell. Butwhats the difference between showing and telling?Consider these two simple examples:• I grew tired after dinner.• As I leaned back and rested my head against the top of the chair, my eyelids began to feel heavy, and the edges of the empty plate in front of me blurred with the white tablecloth.The first sentence tells readers that you grew tired afterdinner. The second sentence shows readers that you grewtired. The most effective descriptive essays are loaded withsuch showing because they enable readers to imagine orexperience something for themselves.
VIVID DESCRIPTIONSAs you write your descriptive essay, the best way to create avivid experience for your readers is to focus on the fivesenses.• sight• sound• smell• touch• tasteWhen you focus your descriptions on the senses, you providevivid and specific details that show your readers rather thantell your readers what you are describing.
Drafting your descriptive essay:• What sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures are important for developing your description?• Which details can you include to ensure that your readers gain a vivid impression imbued with your emotion or perspective?
Revising your descriptive essay:• Have you provided enough details and descriptions to enable your readers to gain a complete and vivid perception?• Have you left out any minor but important details?• Have you used words that convey your emotion or perspective?• Are there any unnecessary details in your description?• Does each paragraph of your essay focus on one aspect of your description?• Are you paragraphs ordered in the most effective way?
• A scream passing through an open window at the edge of town rattles the settled sounds of a night tucked in, the filtering whispers of leaves outside in the breeze interrupted, yielding to the call of a helpless exater protected by sound walls; only the nearby creek persists. Call of crickets resign under full moon, and hill-riding wind halts for a moment following the cry. Slowly, the leaves begin to whisper again, though slightly muffled, offset by the impression of a scream when it was the last thing on the night’s mind.• Like his twisted feathers, his many scars, the reliable old owl chose the gnarled, weather-beaten, but solid branch often—it being a companion to the wise alone with the night and the last branch to creak in the heaviest wind. He oft...
APPLE!• The next time you get a chance, pick up an apple. Feel the weight of it in your hand. Examine it for blemishes. What caused that little black spot? Did the apple tenaciously hang onto the wind- whipped tree branch as a storm dashed it into a neighboring twig? Did a peckish bird sample the apple for ripeness? Look at the apple again and feel it as it warms in your hand. Anticipate the burst of flavor as your teeth crunch through the rich redness of its thin skin.
The above is a sample of descriptive writing and ahint of some of the ways you can take an ordinaryobject and change it into the extraordinary usingwords. Writing a descriptive essay is a chance toexplore your own creativity as you use the senses todraw a picture in words.• Could you feel the weight and temperature of the apple?• Did you see the blemish and visualize the windstorm or the bird?• Could you hear the crunch as you bit through the skin?• Could you taste the explosion of flavor?
Actually, there is more than one way to write adescriptive essay. Some descriptive essays are writtenobjectively, using only the facts:Example: The apple was fully ripe, a fact supported by itsdeep red color and the ease with which its dry brownstem separated from the tree.• Tip: Keep your essay on topic by applying descriptive text to your subject only. Notice above that no description is applied to the tree.Other descriptive writing, like the first example, issubjective in that it intends to paint a vivid picture thatelicits sensations or arouses emotion in the reader.However, in either form, descriptive writing adds strengthto your essay by adding interesting and specific details toyour composition.
• Although the first example is a descriptive paragraph, be sure to follow the standard essay writing format of introduction, body, and conclusion when writing your descriptive essay. Use your introduction to both present your subject and to tell your reader why you found it interesting.• Choose your details carefully. In writing a descriptive essay, your objective is to leave your reader with just one impression.• For instance, if the apple was grass green instead of rosy red, you might take some “poetic license” and leave that fact out, selecting only the details that support your description and convey the impression or a ripe and juicy apple.
When writing a descriptive essay, start buildingyour description by brainstorming the facts:• Red Apple• Brown Stem• Small black blemish near the top• Thin skin• Juicy• Crunchy• Round• Heavy and solid
• By the time you finish this process, you’ll probably have written an objective description and only need to put it into sentences and insert them into appropriate paragraphs of your descriptive essay. In writing a subjective description, you’ll want to build on the facts by adding adjectives to some of them and using synonyms that are more descriptive for others. (e.g. rosy red as opposed to red or weighty as opposed to heavy).• Choose two or three of the descriptions you’ve built and use them as the focal points of your descriptive essay body, with supporting information that describes why they are important to your overall view. (In this example, the ripeness of the apple.)• Conclude your descriptive essay with a summary of your points and restate the impression you meant to create.
PURPOSE OF DESCRIPTIVE ESSAYS• The purpose of a descriptive essay is to describe a person, place, or thing in such vivid detail that the reader can easily form a precise mental picture of what is being written about. The author may accomplish this by using imaginative language, interesting comparisons, and images that appeal to the senses.• Read this sample descriptive essay, and then read the notes below.
1) The subject of the sample essay is fairlyordinary—a ride on a Ferris wheel. The authormakes it interesting, however, by comparing theFerris wheel to a monstrous creature. 2) The author makes good use of fresh and variedvocabulary. For example, in the first paragraphalone, she uses verbs that create excitement like"fascinate," "amaze," and "terrify." In the secondparagraph she uses a variety of terms to describethe machine such as "monstrosity," "mythicalbeast," "amazing dinosaur," "fire-breathingdragon."
3) The author uses her senses to describe the scene—how theride looks, sounds, smells, and feels. The ride is "huge, smoky,noisy" and its engines "drone" like the roar of a dragon. Onthe ride, she gets a "rush of adrenaline" and a "lump in herthroat," she feels immobile and then weightless. 4) The essay is well organized. The introduction begins with ageneral statement, "I have always been fascinated by carnivalrides," and ends with a more specific statement of what theessay will be about, "the thrill and excitement of a carnivalride keeps me coming back for more." The body of the essay iscomposed of several paragraphs that describe the Ferriswheel, the way it seems from the ground and the way it feelsto ride on one. The conclusion restates the main idea of theessay, that the author continues to find carnival rides thrillingand exciting.
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