Descriptive Writing: Purpose

Descriptive Writing: Purpose

Purpose of Descriptive Writing

  • Communicating a scene - Descriptive writing helps to effectively communicate a picture of a scene to readers. It is through the author’s vivid descriptions that readers are able to visualise and engage with the story’s environment and characters.
  • Engaging the Senses - The function of descriptive writing is crucial in engaging the reader’s senses. By describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations, it enables the reader to experience the situation almost as though they were there.
  • Enriching the Narrative - Descriptive writing serves to enrich the narrative. Detailed descriptions add depth and complexity to the characters and settings, therefore contributing to the overall theme and plot of the story.
  • Showing Not Telling - Its purpose is to show, not tell. It breathes life into a story by showing the reader what’s happening, rather than just telling them. For instance, instead of saying “she was upset,” describe her tear-stained face and trembling hands.

Device in Descriptive Writing

  • Simile and Metaphor - In descriptive writing, similes and metaphors serve to create vivid images in the reader’s mind by comparing one thing to another. For instance, “Her smile was as radiant as the sun.”
  • Personification - This is a device used to assign human traits to non-human or inanimate objects. An example might include “the wind howled angrily through the trees,” which instils a greater level of emotion and depth.

Creating Effective Descriptive Writing

  • Careful Word Choice - The importance of choosing words carefully is emphasised in descriptive writing. Words can create a specific mood, atmosphere, or evoke specific feelings in the reader.
  • Planning - Attention should be paid to planning your descriptions. Consider what you want the reader to see, feel, and understand.
  • Sustaining Interest - Strive to maintain the reader’s interest by varying your vocabulary and sentence structure. Repetition can cause the reader to lose interest.

Economy of Language in Descriptive Writing

  • Avoid Over Using Adjectives - It is important to use adjectives carefully. Whilst they can be useful for enhancing descriptions, too many can make writing look cluttered and over-complicated.
  • Avoid Redundancies - Be cautious of redundant phrases and wordiness. Descriptive writing should be precise and clear.
  • Descriptive Pieces are Not Just Long Lists of Words - Remember, the aim is to paint a picture. This does not mean simply listing as many descriptive words as possible but weaving a picture using a variety of descriptive techniques.