Descriptive Writing: Structure

Descriptive Writing: Structure

Starting Well

  • Begin with a hook. This is a sentence or two that draws the reader in and makes them want to read on.
  • Provide some context then introduce the subject of your description in a creative and enticing way.
  • Be sure to set the tone and mood from the outset. The first paragraph should give the reader a good idea of what to expect.

Sequencing Ideas

  • There should be a logical sequence to your description. This does not necessarily mean chronological order, but the reader should be able to follow your description easily.
  • Consider whether a linear, spatial or atmospheric sequence would best suit your description.
  • Utilise helpful transitional words and phrases to guide your reader through your description.


  • Remember to paragraph your writing. Respect the one idea, one paragraph rule. Essentially, start a new paragraph for each new significant detail.
  • The length of your paragraphs can have a huge impact on pace. Shorter paragraphs quicken the pace and longer ones slow it down.
  • Try to vary your paragraph lengths to maintain the reader’s interest and to control the mood and tension within your writing.


  • Pay attention to pacing. You can slow down your descriptions for important or dramatic moments and speed up for action scenes.
  • Avoid listing things in one long sentence. Instead, take your time to expand upon each item, focusing in on specific details.

Finishing Strong

  • Try to finish your piece on a poignant or thought-provoking note to leave a lasting impression.
  • Summarise or recap the key points of your description without being repetitive.
  • Use a concluding sentence or statement that refers back to the initial concept introduced in the opening paragraph to provide a satisfying closure.

Structure Techniques

  • Flashbacks can provide backstory or reveal a character’s motivations.
  • A twist at the end can surprise the reader and make your description memorable.
  • Foreshadowing is hinting at events that will happen later in the story. This can build suspense and engages the reader’s curiosity.