L. Arts Mini Spark #49 – Descriptive Writing

The primary purpose of descriptive writing is to describe a person, place or thing in such a way that a picture is formed in the reader’s mind. Capturing an event through descriptive writing involves paying close attention to the details by using all of your five senses.

Watch this TedEd Video.

In the video, the narrator describes the characteristics of descriptive writing and gives several examples. To review . .

1. Good descriptive writing includes many vivid sensory details that paint a picture and appeals to all of the reader’s senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste when appropriate. Descriptive writing may also paint pictures of the feelings the person, place or thing invokes in the writer.

2. Good descriptive writing often makes use of figurative language such as analogies, similes and metaphors to help paint the picture in the reader’s mind.

3. Good descriptive writing uses precise language. General adjectives, nouns, and passive verbs do not have a place in good descriptive writing. Use specific adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the picture you are painting in the reader’s mind.

4. Good descriptive writing is organized. Some ways to organize descriptive writing include: chronological (time), spatial (location), and order of importance. When describing a person, you might begin with a physical description, followed by how that person thinks, feels and acts.

Give it a try! For the following sentences, rewrite it using rich descriptive languages. Keep the five senses in mind. You can use the following and rewrite each OR use one as a prompt and write a descriptive paragraph or story story.

  • Sight – The girls went to the city park.
  • Sound/Hearing – We went to the stadium to watch our favorite team.
  • Smell – The waitress brought our food to the table.
  • Taste – My grandma made us cookies.
  • Touch – I walked to school this morning not knowing they had called a snow day.

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