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An introduction to descriptive writing tasks at KS3 and GCSE

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  1. 1. Describe
  2. 2. To Describe •To paint a multi-sensory and vivid picture of a person, place or event
  3. 3. Description texts •Diaries & journals •Novels & short stories •Poetry •Travel brochures •Guidebooks
  4. 4. Structure •A striking opening •Controlled paragraphs •Variation of sentence length & type
  5. 5. Writing features •Precise attention to details •Appeal to the senses •Use of imagery (simile, metaphor, personification & pathetic fallacy) •Careful vocabulary choices •Strong verbs •Emphasis on adverbs and adjectives •Show, don’t tell
  6. 6. Precise attention to details The man took a bite out of the apple He reached across the scarred surface of the table and took hold of the apple. It was cold to the touch and as he bit into it, he winced. The sweet juice trickled into his parched mouth...
  7. 7. Appeal to the senses
  8. 8. Appeal to the senses The old man’s face was a map of creases and lines which ran backward and forwards across his features. He was mumbling quietly to himself as he staggered forward unsteadily. The acrid stench of stale tobacco wafted from his stained jacket...
  9. 9. Use of imagery
  10. 10. Use of imagery - simile She reached forward and clutched the telephone receiver as if it were a lifeline. The city of Florence is wedged into the Tuscan landscape and shines like a renaissance beacon of hope
  11. 11. Use of imagery - metaphor Before the end of the movie a herd of stampeding elephants had taken up residence in my head. The small capsule held the promise of salvation and I desperately prised it out of its foil and plastic sarcophagus...
  12. 12. Use of imagery - personification The fireworks roared into the night sky, exploding across the cityscape in an extraordinary mating dance of light The child’s candyfloss perched on his hand, desperate for attention...
  13. 13. Use of imagery – pathetic fallacy The brooding sky refused to offer the frightened children relief and it loomed over them menacingly. The first rays of morning peeked nervously over the brow of the hill...
  14. 14. Careful vocabulary choices
  15. 15. Careful vocabulary choices The English language is rich – we are spoilt for choices and each word selection should help to create a vivid impression. Don’t waste words!
  16. 16. Strong verbs •Said •Walked •Lifted •Ran •Carried
  17. 17. Strong verbs •Said – whispered, muttered, screamed •Walked – staggered, strolled, paced •Hit – thumped, slapped, collided •Ran – charged, sprinted, loped •Drank – gulped, sipped, slurped
  18. 18. Emphasis on adjectives The bed is... Warm, comfortable, soft, fluffy, fresh, metallic, broad, unique, ancient,
  19. 19. Emphasis on adverbs It was a challenging jump A dangerous jump A skilful jump A desperate jump An impressive jump A foolhardy jump A suicidal jump A lucky jump
  20. 20. Show, don’t tell
  21. 21. Show, don’t tell He was afraid. Trembling, his eyes darted about the room. He could feel the thunder of his straining heart as it sought desperately for a way to break out of his heaving chest...
  22. 22. Example Question •Describe a place that is special to you.
  23. 23. Example Question •Describe a person who is important in your life and explain his or her importance to you.
  24. 24. Example Question •Describe a nightmare world. (links to Kafka handouts)
  25. 25. Example Question •Describe an event from your past which made you feel proud
  26. 26. Example Question •Describe a place that you would never want to go back to and explain the reasons why you feel this way
  27. 27. Example Question •Describe the person you would most like to go on holiday with and explain why you think they would be such good company
  28. 28. Example Question •Change can be good or bad or a mixture of both. Write about a period in your life when you experienced change of some kind. Describe what happened and explain how you felt about the change.