Step-By-Step Instructions On How To Set Up A Descriptive Essay


In your descriptive essay you are being asked to describe something – whether a person, a place, or an event. You might be asked to give an account of an emotion or an experience. Perhaps your reader has never had a foreign holiday but you can take them to exotic places with your word picture. He or she wants to savor the adventure with you.

In this genre of work you need to use all five senses to involve the reader in what you are describing. Rather than telling your audience you are in a wild flower meadow, you could show them by saying the brightly colored flowers danced in the afternoon breeze. This type of work cries out for metaphors and similes. Adjectives help create the mood.

The most important thing to remember is that you want to leave your reader feeling as if they attended the party or have met the person you are describing.

Setting about your work


  1. Choose your subject carefully. If you are planning to talk about a famous place or your best birthday party, it all begins with careful planning and research. For personal experiences, one of the best places to search for inspiration is the family photograph album.

  2. Spend a lot of time thinking about words that you could use. If you have a picture of Mount Rushmore that you took on holiday, think about all the words that would tell someone about the stone heads – like block, slab, memorial and monolith. Note them down as you do your research, you will be glad in the writing stage that you did.

  3. An outline is one of the best ways to get your thoughts in order. It is at this point that you can see if you have enough information to get your point across to your reader. Make sure you include all the details, no matter how minor, they could be important. List your collection of words next to the appropriate paragraphs and you will start to see your essay forming.

  4. Before starting the writing take a few moments to think about what you are hoping to achieve by this work. Do the words you have chosen evoke this emotion or point of view?

Now you are ready to start drafting your work. Remember that the best descriptive writing is about observation and rich language, allowing the reader to be deeply involved, not simply about facts and numbers.