The Descriptive/ Exploratory Essay (With thanks to Jesse Seldess)
Planning your descriptive essay:• What or who do you want to describe?• What is your reason for writing your description?• What are the particular qualities that you want to focus on?
Principles• Typically, a descriptive essay has one, clear dominant impression. If, for example you are describing a snowfall, it is important for you to decide and to let your reader know if it is threatening or lovely; in order to have one dominant impression it cannot be both. The dominant impression guides the authors selection of detail.
Q. What if I A. You should think about what linkschoose to write the objects together. Do they remind you of a place, group ofabout 3 objects people, events that are related? Are you nostalgic when you describethat are very these objects? Are you sad? Are you angry? Are you happy? Choosedifferent and objects that have connections to one another and to your past. Keepevoke different the essay focused on a dominant impression or story about your life.memories andmeanings?
Any connections?Photo of friends Signature wristband Favorite backpack
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?• What details should be left out?
Concrete DetailsShe was nervous asshe approached She used the sleeves ofthe staircase. her stained wool sweater to wipe the sweat from her forehead before squinting into the darkness that lay before her. She rubbed her moist palms against her jeans before shoving her hand back into her side pocket and hastily pulling out her flashlight.
Focus on the Five Senses• Sight*• Sound: If you are describing a person, remember to include dialogue.• Smell• Touch• Taste
Show: Don’t TellBut whats 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.
Word Choice:• The courthouse sagged• A black dog suffered• Men’s stiff collars wilted
Tips for Organization• Try moving your reader through space and time chronologically.• Use a then-and-now approach to show decay, change, or improvement. The house where you grew up might now be a rambling shack. The variations on this strategy are endless.• You may also use a topic-by-topic approach, especially if you are describing a person.
Chronological Describe when you acquired the wristband (story) Why I always wore it in high school - - what it says about me Who and what it reminds me of now and why I brought it
Remember to come up with a clear thesis statement/focus. However, this thesis does not necessarily have to come at the beginning of the essay.In this case, you may come to your overall statement about the value of the object(s)in your conclusion.
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?
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