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Your Friendly Guide to Descriptive Essay Writing

So you’re about to start writing a descriptive paper, but you have one major dilemma on your mind: what is descriptive essay writing? Yeah; teachers often do that to you. They give you an assignment with a topic suggestion, and then they simply expect you to perform. Oh; you get a deadline, too. Other than that, you get nothing. No in-depth instructions. No step-by-step guide that’s supposed to lead you through the process. You’re just faced with huge expectations and immense confusion.

First and foremost, you have to understand what the assignment calls for.

A descriptive essay is aimed at creating a vivid picture of a particular topic in the reader’s mind. As the term itself imposes, you’re expected to describe the topic, which may be a situation, emotion, place, person, object, experience, or anything else.

The good thing about descriptive essays is that they allow for a great deal of creative writing freedom. This is not a critical thinking project, so you don’t have to worry about providing strong arguments and a convincing discussion. You’re just aiming at descriptions.

Does that mean that this is an easy project to deal with? Not necessarily! Descriptive papers are known to be a common reason for headaches among students. Today, we’re here to prevent the stress related to these assignments. We’ll offer a simple guide for effective descriptive writing.


If only you could sit in front of your computer and start describing the topic right away… Unfortunately, academic writing is never that easy. It takes quite some preparation before the writing stage. If you still don’t have your title, things get more complicated.

Don’t worry! The pre-writing stages are easy. Once you go through them, you’ll be ready to start writing the paper, and you’ll quickly go through that main stage of the process.

These are the pre-writing stages you should never skip:

    1. Choose Your Topic

A descriptive essay has to be focused on a single location, item, person, event, or another very specific topic. First and foremost, you have a responsibility to choose a topic that will be interesting for you to describe, but will also spark the interest of the reader.

      • Brainstorming is a great method that helps you come up with a descriptive essay topic. Just take a blank piece of paper or start a new document in your word processor. Then, start writing your ideas without giving them a second thought. Just write down any idea that comes to your mind.
      • Once you’re done with the brainstorming stage, think about each idea you had. What emotions does it awaken? What background do you have about the topic? How easy is it to describe? How interesting will it be for the reader? Those questions will help you make a final decision.
    1. Make a List of Details You’ll Describe

Descriptive papers don’t demand a lot of research. If you don’t know everything about the topic, you’ll definitely do some research. Before you get there, however, you should think about the things you know. If, for example, you’re describing an event, such as a wedding, write everything you know about it.

Make a list of sensory details, such as tastes, sounds, sights, scents, and textures. Each one of your senses gives you details to describe. Take notes during this process!

    1. Write an Outline for Your Descriptive Essay

This is the main stage of the pre-writing process. It’s strange to see many students skipping it and then struggling with the writing part. Yes; writing an outline takes time. However, this step will make the writing part much easier, so skipping it does not make any sense.

The good news is that descriptive papers do not impose strict academic writing rules regarding the format. Still, the content has to be structured in a way that makes it readable. Here’s the logical structure to maintain in the outline:

      • Introduction – Here, you’ll introduce the topic you’re describing, and you’ll provide a thesis statement. That’s the key theme of your paper, which states its purpose.
      • Description of the topic – For a standard 5-paragraph essay, you’ll divide the body in three paragraphs. Each of them will have a main topic sentence. It’s best to start from the least important point and move towards the key point.
      • Conclusion – Finally, you’ll tie the loose ends and you’ll leave your reader with a complete impression of the topic.

The outline should describe all these sections of the paper. Just note down what you plan to write. You may use bullet points to throw on some ideas. Then, you’ll follow this outline to write the complete paper. In essence, you’ll be left with small gaps to fill in.


When you have your template, you know what direction to follow. Thus, the writing stage should be easy. Here are few tips to help you go through it:

  • Use clear and concise sentences. You won’t impress with big words, passive voice, and unreadable sentence structure. The description should be very clear for the reader. Hemingway was scarce on words, but strong on the emotions he evoked. That’s the kind of clarity you’re aiming for.
  • Rely on your senses. Explain how the thing you’re describing feels, smells, sounds, looks, and/or tastes like. Use vivid language that paints an image in the reader’s head.
  • Don’t be afraid to express some emotions. Descriptive essays are flexible, so creative writing is a big part of the task. Write creative descriptions of all emotions you experience regarding the subject.
  • Metaphors are great for effective descriptive writing!


So you tried everything. You went through the pre-writing stages, but you got stuck somewhere along the way. Maybe you don’t have time to complete the assignment although you have basics ideas.

What do you do?

The only good solution is to choose an affordable writing service. You can buy essay online. This also applies to a descriptive essay.. You’ll work with an MA or PhD writer, who will follow your instructions and deliver a plagiarism-free essay.

It’s important to try, and the above-listed tips will certainly help you handle a descriptive writing assignment. If you need assistance, however, professional writers and editors are easy to reach.