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Tips for Writing a Descriptive Essay

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The best part of writing descriptive essays is that they can be about anything so don't be afraid to just have fun with it.

The best part of writing descriptive essays is that they can be about anything so don't be afraid to just have fun with it.


The best part about descriptive essays is that they can be about pretty much anything, from persons, to places, animals, or even events and much more. What makes a good descriptive essay is not so much about what you write (even though that is plenty important) but more about how you go about writing it. Writing descriptive essays are easy, in that they are almost always about personal experiences, but also difficult because of the need to appeal to the audience's five senses and/or evoke emotions.

The very first step in writing a descriptive essay is to choose your topic. If you do not have a specific assignment provided for you to help narrow down your topic, this can be somewhat of a challenge. One essential tip to keep in mind is that the best topic for a good descriptive essay is one that you have a deep connection with. The more passion you have for a writing topic, the easier it will be to convey that emotion to your audience and create a good descriptive essay.

Whether you have one topic in mind that you want to write about, or you have two or more you are indecisive about, taking the time to brainstorm ideas about that topic before writing your descriptive essay ensures that you have chosen a solid topic, which will benefit you later on as you work on outlining your essay. Even though descriptive essays are more open to creativity, you may be surprised to know that it involves a lot of organization in order to appeal to its audience so it is important that you take the time to do this to ensure quality work.

My favorite brainstorming technique is the word vomit technique. This is not only a good way to double check that your topic is worthy to write a descriptive essay about, but it can help you come up with ideas about that topic you may not have initially thought of. Basically, the technique involves sitting down and just writing for however long you feel is appropriate, whether it is five minutes, twenty minutes, or even an hour. If you can sit down with your topic and have words and ideas flow from your fingertips like water unleashed from a dam, chances are, you are on the right track to writing a descriptive essay worth reading.

  • Essay Topics: Descriptive Essays
    Descriptive essays can be the easiest essays to write, once you come up with a good topic. Here is some bits of advice and a nice long list of 100 best descriptive essay topics to help and inspire.
  • Free Descriptive Essay Samples and Examples
    Read the following free sample descriptive essays and descriptive essay examples on different topics. Collection of descriptive essays in any disciplines.

Writing a Descriptive Essay

Now that you have chosen a topic that is worth taking the time writing a descriptive essay about, it is time to write an outline. Outlines may seem like a waste of time, but, since organization is essential for every type of essay out there, it will be worth the extra effort in order to write a good descriptive essay.

I like to take the ideas from my brainstorming and put them in logical order first. Then I set up my outline with my topic on top (titles are best when chosen last) and then list each idea with at least three bits of supporting evidence beneath them. Here is a basic layout for an outline like this:



1. Idea

  • Support
  • Support
  • Support

2. Idea

  • Support
  • Support
  • Support

3. Idea

  • Support
  • Support
  • Support


Although descriptive essays allow for a lot more creativity than other types of essays, it is important to recognize the need for organization since, like I mentioned already, organization is essential for every type of essay out there. You can have any amount of ideas within your descriptive essay that support your main topic. Remember that each idea for this outline represents a paragraph, with at least three other ideas to support the main idea for each paragraph, which make up a minimum of three sentences.

An outline not only ensures that your descriptive essay is organized, but it also works as a guide as you write your first draft. As you begin that first draft, keep your outline handy so you stay on track as you are writing a descriptive essay. What you want to focus on for this rough draft is that organization aspect, and then you can perfect your descriptive essay so that it is more appealing for audiences. If you get too caught up in trying to be creative, you may find yourself in a standstill and the writing process may take longer than necessary.

To sum it all up, after brainstorming, you want to create an outline. This ensures that your essay will be organized, which is what your main focus is for your first draft. Once your first draft is complete, any drafts after that should be focused on improving or adding descriptions to make your essay appeal to your audiences five senses/emotions better.

What is a Descriptive Essay?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What is a descriptive essay about?
    • Anything you want
    • A topic you have to research
    • Something about yourself
    • An explanation for how to do something
  2. What must a descriptive essay have that is essential for all essays?
    • Five paragraphs
    • Allusions
    • Organization
    • Page numbers
  3. The best descriptive essay topics are ones that...?
    • your teacher tells you to write on
    • you have a deep connection with
    • you can lie about
    • sound the most intelligent
  4. True or false: A descriptive essay is all about *what* you are writing about more than *how*
    • True
    • False
  5. True or false: Titles should be chosen after you write a draft or two.
    • True
    • False
  6. True or false: The word vomit technique involves writing down topics in order before outlining.
    • True
    • False

Answer Key

  1. Anything you want
  2. Organization
  3. you have a deep connection with
  4. False
  5. True
  6. False

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: Oops! Looks like you may have to reread this article or do a bit more research before starting your descriptive essay.

Scroll to Continue

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: Good try! With just a little more research, you will be sure to understand how to write a descriptive essay in no time.

If you got 4 correct answers: Great job! You are on your way to writing a great descriptive essay.

If you got 5 correct answers: Excellent! You are on your way to writing a fantastic descriptive essay.

If you got 6 correct answers: Wow! Looks like all your research has paid off. Now you can show off your knowledge with a snazzy descriptive essay that is sure to please readers.

The best descriptive essay topics come from simply brainstorming for whatever ideas inspire you the most.

The best descriptive essay topics come from simply brainstorming for whatever ideas inspire you the most.

Descriptive Writing Tips

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    One of the biggest mistakes writers make in descriptive writing is that they use too many modifiers. Learn how to kill them when you can and improve your writing.

Descriptive Essay Examples

Now that you have a general idea to get you started on writing a descriptive essay of your own, here are some examples of descriptive essay topics to give you some inspiration for topics of your own. In addition, I have provided links to the right to descriptive essay examples that you can find online to help you better understand the explanation above.

  1. Your Dream Home
  2. Your Favorite Vacation
  3. A Childhood Memory
  4. Your Favorite Food
  5. The Perfect Day
  6. A Normal Day
  7. Your First Day at School
  8. A Life-changing Event
  9. Meeting a Famous Person
  10. A First Date
  11. An Inspirational Person
  12. An Embarrassing Moment
  13. Your Favorite Book
  14. The Future
  15. A Pet
  16. Falling in Love
  17. Your Favorite Hobby
  18. Moving to a New Country
  19. Your Favorite Movie
  20. Things to Do in Your Town
  21. Your Favorite Sport
  22. A Funny Memory
  23. A Dream
  24. A Major Achievement
  25. A New Car

Now that you have some ideas to get you started, go on and try out a few to brainstorm on. Remember, the best topics for writing a descriptive essay are those that you have the best connection with so choose the one you think fits you the most. Most important of all, just remember to have fun with one of the most creative types of essays out there!

How to Become a Descriptive Writer

© 2013 Lisa


shaafi adan ali on June 06, 2019:

topic Descriptive Writing

ayan on March 17, 2018:

not bad

kiarawilliams on January 31, 2018:

Good writing lisa

Carlos O Grady on November 04, 2016:

I am having a hard time composing my paper and despite the fact that these are extraordinary points and I think I can most likely utilize them but alas I cannot. I truly require help and I don't know who and where to ask.

Oscar Gilmour from A coffee shop on June 26, 2014:

Nice work Lisa! Very informative and well-written :)

Stephanie Launiu from Hawai'i on February 04, 2013:

Voted up, useful, interesting. Thank you for this well-written hub! Aloha, Stephanie

Roland Adala from Wales, United Kingdom on February 04, 2013:

Hello LisaKoski,

This is well-written and indeed usuful. Yes, I agree everything. One thing I would suggest though (I hope you'll find this useful) is to explain and contrast the distinctions between 'Descriptive' and 'Critical' Essays, and how to write them both.

Thank you for this! I'm sharing it :)


Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on February 04, 2013:

Thanks for this nicely presented hub. I love the word vomit expression, it throws up all kinds of images for me.

I recall back in the good old days when essays were beginning, middle and end! Then they evolved into introduction, argument and conclusion!

Somewhere amongst all this were our 'notes', rough ideas and what not - similar to the brainstorm techniques - and you could if you wanted include these in the finished essay, either at the end or before the introduction! How the essay has grown in stature! Votes for this.

JohnMello from England on February 03, 2013:

Nice work, LisaKoski. I love those pull-outs in the form of images, too. Might use that idea myself...

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