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The Key to Effective Descriptive Writing is Sensual Observation

Updated on May 8, 2015

Have you ever heard somebody say that they always preferred reading a story than watching a movie of that story? It’s simply for the reason that in a movie, the images are just offered to you. They are just presented and watched. But when you read a story, instead of watching the movie, you see it with the mind eye, which automatically excites the reader creating images of their own and emotionally involved.

Descriptive writing is a style used in Fiction, where the writer is mainly painting an image that you can see with your mind as you read. Fictions are based on imaginative stories and happenings that actually did not happen. Unlike Narrative writing, which discloses meaning through a personal story or experience, the purpose of a descriptive writing is to reveal the meaning of a subject through detailed, sensory observation. Writers use the descriptive essay to create a vivid picture of a person, place, or thing. The descriptive essay employs the power of language and all the human senses to bring a subject to life for the reader.

Descriptive Writing
Descriptive Writing

Descriptive Writing Prompts

A great description ensures readers see, hear, smell, feel, or taste what is being described. The keys to effective description are:

  • Careful Observation
  • The right Details
  • The right words

A good writer looks beyond his or her assumptions and studies the subject of their writing allowing them to write descriptions that get much closer to the actual world. Consider and prioritize the feeling of the words chosen as well as their meaning. Since the purpose of a descriptive writing is to divulge the meaning of a subject through thorough and detailed, sensual observation. Learning to write descriptively will thus improve the writing by making it more fascinating and appealing to read.

For example, instead of saying, “There were trees near the creek” you could say, “The Creek gazed over the trees, a wide grey eye confined in an eternal state of weeping.”

Instructions for Writing an Effective Descriptive Writing


  • Descriptive writing paints images of the emotional state of the person, place or thing invoking the writer.
  • Good descriptive writing must include several vivid sensory details that appeals to all of the reader's senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell when apt.
  • Good descriptive writing must make use of figurative language such as analogies, similes and metaphors, personification in order to help splatter the picture in the booklover's mind.
  • Don't use nondescript plain adjectives like "bad ", "nice" , or " good "
  • Virtuous descriptive writing uses precise and specific language.
  • It’s always good to structure the descriptive writing in a way that makes sense and organize it.
  • Organize descriptive writing include: chronological (time), spatial (location), and order of importance.
  • It’s best to avoid the word "I" in sentences.
  • Never repeat a point or opinion in the essay, unless it is very important.
  • Begin with a physical description, followed by how the person thinks feels and acts.

The magic of writing is when the author uses descriptive writing, he controls readers where he wants them to go, but he also lets them fill in the blanks or assume as they wish. Because it’s honest to start an editorial with a striking, eye-pulling story that can trigger interest’s right from the get go. Descriptive writing engages the reader as it’s an emotional thing. Once the reader is wined in, then, it’s easier to make him or her do what the author wants.

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