Descriptive Essay Writing Tips

Descriptive essay is a writing in which the author employs the technique of details to create an evocative picture in the reader’s mind. The author can write to describe a person, process, event, a memory or an object. To enhance the experience in reading, the author needs to use details to bring out sensory aspect. Descriptive essay help authors to write creatively.


Descriptive Essay Structure

To write descriptive essay, the author needs to first think of he or she is going to talk about, and why. The descriptive essay draft should follow the descriptive essay outline but the author should put in mind that the subject experience is what will appeal to the reader. Drafting is important as it helps the author organize their ideas. The descriptive essay structure is basically made up of:

  • The introduction
  • The body
  • Conclusion and referencing.

Introduction starts by a brief background of the topic. The author then briefly describes the topic, depending on what was chosen. For example, when describing a place; the author will write briefly about the geographical location of the place, the objects or people in the place and the like. The body will depend on the topic in question. It should describe the topic in question in an order. The choice of words is another crucial aspect. The words must obey the diction rules and must paint a vivid mental picture in the reader’s mind.

A thesis statement essentially makes it clear about what the main aim of the paper is going to be. It provides the reader with the roadmap in a way that he or she knows what to expect from the rest of the paper. Quite typically, it is usually a single sentence located at the end of the introductory paragraph. Coming up with a thesis calls for the consideration of all the aspects necessary, such as the arguments that are going to be incorporated in the paper, and the linkages or relationships between these arguments. For example, while writing a descriptive essay about a person, say King Jr.,the thesis might be put as:

The struggle for equality through the eloquence and wisdom in his speeches, and his overall bravery amidst much adversity, such as during the Marches, make Martin Luther King Jr. quite an enigma.

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The Patterns of the structure

The structure can be in three patterns, prior to the topic. They include;

  • Spatial;
  • Chronological;
  • Climatic.

The body in spatial pattern describes in details the steps. It is normally used in place, object/people topics. Spatial organization is one of the principles of organization in writing that arranges items according to their relationships or physical position. This means that when describing an item, one would start from left and move gradually to the right.

Chronological order describes the sequential flow of the events. It is applicable in memory or event topic. The last pattern gives the steps of the process. It is used to describe process topics. The essay will be incomplete without a conclusion. A conclusion sums up the feelings, the views and the attitudes of the author about the topic. In some cases, a lesson is outlined.


After all is done, the author then proofreads their work piece to correct all the grammatical errors and spellings mistakes. They as well make sure that the work piece is in such a way that it satisfies the reader’s desires, the choice of words bring out the intended meaning, if details are enough and if the description and the meaning have a connection. They also check if descriptive essay format is correct as per the instructions. The format can either be APA or MLA. APA involves having a title page of its own and a set of references at the reference page in the end. MLA on the other hand, has the details of the title page on the same page as the work, placed on the top left hand side of the paper, with a works cited page at the end of the paper, on a separate page as well.

Referencing as a critical aspect

Referencing is a vital aspect that the author should at all cost never ignore. It takes the outline of the format instructed. In APA, referencing starts with the first name of the author, following by the initials of the second and last name. The year of publishing, the title and the site where it was retrieved from follows. For example:

Rachel, C. (2013). Descriptive Essays. Retrieved from

Lisa, K. (2016). Descriptive Essay Topics. Retrieved from

Citing work in MLA is done by writing the first name of the author, the topic title in enclosed with the quotation marks and the year of publishing follow. The site is also given. For instance:

Jennifer. “How to write a Descriptive Essay” (2013). Retrieved from https:

Asian beautiful female student study in library with laptop

Descriptive Essay Topics

The above formats can therefore help in writing descriptive essays on any topic. Place topics use either spatial or climatic format. The introduction is vital as it gives the reader the first impression of the main topic. Here, the author starts to write the essay by giving a brief background before stating the impression dominating the topic. For instance, taking the bedroom as the place topic, the author can begin by saying, -“It is not always a guarantee that we will get what we want, but my bedroom is a contrary to the statement as it is a perfect match to my wants.”

The main body gives the descriptive aspects of the location of the place. Factual details are given describing the feeling the author has about the place, the people or objects that were in the place and the exact geographical location. The bedroom is of course in a house, the objects whose vivid details should be given may include the walls, window, closets, and the mats among others. All these should be described in terms of color, size shape among others. The details the author writes in the essay should be as appealing as possible.

The author then writes how they feel about the place. They can for instance say the bedroom is so cozy and comfortable. What follows is the conclusion and it sums up the author’s attitude and feelings about the place. They can say, the bedroom is the best place I ever have.

Memory Topics

Memory topics use the chronological order. The introduction gives a brief background and specifies the event the author is reminiscing about. The people, objects, and when it took place should be vividly described in the essay. The attitude and feelings of the author should be descriptive and specific. Describing a wedding ceremony, the author can write, “The thought of love and wedding had never been quite a serious consideration for me until I attended my cousin’s wedding.” They can then write the number of people in attendance, and the general mood of the place. The main body of the essay flows by describing the sequential order. The program of the wedding ceremony can then be described here. Sticking to the flow of events is paramount. The conclusion wraps up the attitudes and feelings of the author. Here, they can say: “Though I loved the whole event, I realized that it needs careful consideration and planning to host a successful one.”

Description of objects

Object and people description takes the same format. It is only the pronouns that bring the difference. Introduction as always comes first, where the author states a brief background. For instance, when the author wants to write about a lost mobile phone, they can start by saying: You never know the significance of something till you lose it.

The body just like the other topics, descriptions should be in detail and should appeal on the five senses. The phone descriptive nature should bring out the size, shape, color, and the effectiveness of the phone. The attitudes and feelings of the author about the object or the place follow. The author can say they didn’t like the phone maybe because it was not as effective as per their expectations. The author sums up their thoughts. They can say, though I didn’t like the phone, it was still very helpful.

The topics can include:

  • A special object.
  • A special gift.
  • A favorite toy.
  • A favorite piece of furniture.
  • A favorite gadget.
  • A favorite person or friend.
  • A description about a famous individual or a figure that one admires.
  • Description of the place that one grew up in, and its neighborhood.
  • A certain trip or tour.
  • A visit to the museum.
  • Descriptive imagination.
  • An outdoor activity.
  • Most exciting event.
  • Saddest event.
  • Most embarrassing moments.

Choosing a Great Descriptive Essay topic

Sometimes choosing topics for descriptive essay may seem hard. A descriptive essay topic must have great qualities to write about. It should be have distinct sections that can be dissected and reassembled into the author’s descriptive essay ideas.

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