Descriptive Essay

I’m stuck on a Writing question and need an explanation.

Overview For this assessment, you will write a two-page descriptive essay about an object or place in nature that is important to you. Prewriting Tips Follow these steps as part of your prewriting for this assessment. Brainstorm Think about the following questions to help you brainstorm ideas for your description: • What places in nature, such as the ocean or mountains, do you especially enjoy visiting? Think about places you have visited with friends or family. • What unusual plants or animals in nature would lend themselves to being described in an interesting way? • What is an object or place in nature that you see often without really thinking much about it—for instance, a garden? Try observing it more closely. Regardless of what you choose to write about, take time to gather details to include in your description. Observe and Record Details A descriptive essay is most effective if it is packed with details that vividly portray the object or place being described. Set aside some time to observe your subject closely and write down the details you notice. Record sensory details, and remember that you are not limited to describing visual details—sounds, scents, tastes, and textures are important, too. It is best to observe your subject directly if possible. However, if you are not able to do so—for instance, if you are writing about a faraway vacation spot you visited last summer—you can still take time to brainstorm details. Use photographs, letters, or conversations to jog your memory. Then write down the sensory impressions you recall. Organize Ideas Your paper will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. How you organize the body of your paper will depend on your subject. Follow these tips: • Introduction—Begin with a memorable image or idea that sets the tone for your essay. Try to convey an overall impression about the object or place you are describing. For instance, a beach scene could come across as tranquil and idyllic or stormy and foreboding, depending on the details chosen • Body—The details presented in the body of your description should present a vivid portrait of your subject and develop the impression you created in the introduction. There are several ways you can organize details for this assessment, depending on your subject: o Use spatial order to present details visually. For example, describe the subject from top to bottom, left to right, from the outside to the inside, or vice versa. o Parts of your essay may use chronological order, especially if you are referring to specific memories you associate with a particular object or place. For instance, you might refer to the first time you ever visited a certain place. If you use chronological order, make sure you keep the focus on describing the object or place. Telling a story is not the purpose of this assessment. o If neither of these strategies works for your topic, review the other options listed on p. 324 of The Essential Guide to Writing, Language, & Literature. Talk with your teacher about which of these alternatives is appropriate for your topic. • Conclusion—Sum up why this subject is important to you and end with a memorable final image. Drafting, Revising, and Editing Draft • Be sure to take time to work on prewriting assessments as they are presented throughout the unit. Your draft will be much stronger if you take time to plan it out rather than rushing through it the night before it’s due. • Take the time to make your draft the best it can be before you turn it in to your teacher. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should demonstrate that you have put time and effort into the assessment. Do your best to write a good rough draft now—that will help you produce a great final draft later on. Revise and Edit • Think carefully about your teacher’s feedback as you revise. You may also want to share your draft with a friend, a family member, or another adult for additional feedback. You may not choose to apply every suggestion, but give each suggestion some thought. • Your final draft should reflect both revision and editing. When you revise, you address major issues in the content, clarity, or organization of your draft. When you edit, you fix errors, smooth out awkward spots, and polish your writing.

Descriptive Essay

I’m stuck on a Writing question and need an explanation.

Overview For this assessment, you will write a two-page descriptive essay about an object or place in nature that is important to you. Prewriting Tips Follow these steps as part of your prewriting for this assessment. Brainstorm Think about the following questions to help you brainstorm ideas for your description: • What places in nature, such as the ocean or mountains, do you especially enjoy visiting? Think about places you have visited with friends or family. • What unusual plants or animals in nature would lend themselves to being described in an interesting way? • What is an object or place in nature that you see often without really thinking much about it—for instance, a garden? Try observing it more closely. Regardless of what you choose to write about, take time to gather details to include in your description. Observe and Record Details A descriptive essay is most effective if it is packed with details that vividly portray the object or place being described. Set aside some time to observe your subject closely and write down the details you notice. Record sensory details, and remember that you are not limited to describing visual details—sounds, scents, tastes, and textures are important, too. It is best to observe your subject directly if possible. However, if you are not able to do so—for instance, if you are writing about a faraway vacation spot you visited last summer—you can still take time to brainstorm details. Use photographs, letters, or conversations to jog your memory. Then write down the sensory impressions you recall. Organize Ideas Your paper will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. How you organize the body of your paper will depend on your subject. Follow these tips: • Introduction—Begin with a memorable image or idea that sets the tone for your essay. Try to convey an overall impression about the object or place you are describing. For instance, a beach scene could come across as tranquil and idyllic or stormy and foreboding, depending on the details chosen • Body—The details presented in the body of your description should present a vivid portrait of your subject and develop the impression you created in the introduction. There are several ways you can organize details for this assessment, depending on your subject: o Use spatial order to present details visually. For example, describe the subject from top to bottom, left to right, from the outside to the inside, or vice versa. o Parts of your essay may use chronological order, especially if you are referring to specific memories you associate with a particular object or place. For instance, you might refer to the first time you ever visited a certain place. If you use chronological order, make sure you keep the focus on describing the object or place. Telling a story is not the purpose of this assessment. o If neither of these strategies works for your topic, review the other options listed on p. 324 of The Essential Guide to Writing, Language, & Literature. Talk with your teacher about which of these alternatives is appropriate for your topic. • Conclusion—Sum up why this subject is important to you and end with a memorable final image. Drafting, Revising, and Editing Draft • Be sure to take time to work on prewriting assessments as they are presented throughout the unit. Your draft will be much stronger if you take time to plan it out rather than rushing through it the night before it’s due. • Take the time to make your draft the best it can be before you turn it in to your teacher. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should demonstrate that you have put time and effort into the assessment. Do your best to write a good rough draft now—that will help you produce a great final draft later on. Revise and Edit • Think carefully about your teacher’s feedback as you revise. You may also want to share your draft with a friend, a family member, or another adult for additional feedback. You may not choose to apply every suggestion, but give each suggestion some thought. • Your final draft should reflect both revision and editing. When you revise, you address major issues in the content, clarity, or organization of your draft. When you edit, you fix errors, smooth out awkward spots, and polish your writing.

Descriptive Essay

I’m working on a Writing exercise and need support.

Minimum length: 500 words
Times New Roman 12 point font
Topic: your choice
Specs: include your name in the left corner and include a title to your essay. You may use “I” for this essay, but try to not overdo it. Work for variety in sentence structure.

Preparation and Recording

  1. Develop some background knowledge. Read articles, class material, and descriptions of the dance company, artist, and/or dances you will be seeing. This little bit of additional knowledge can go a long way in helping you watch and write about the performance.
  2. Arrive early to the performance and read through any program notes and biographies.
  3. Keep a writing utensil handy to record notes in the program or in a pad of paper
  4. Record keywords and phrases regarding what you see, feel, hear, and experience
  5. Do not judge your own perceptions
  6. Document details – movements, costumes, music, lighting, scenery, props – with descriptive words (adjectives and verbs) as they occur to you
    • Look for shapes and patterns in the organization of movement or ideas.
      • Are certain things repeated? Do the dancers move in lines or formations?
    • Notice relationships between dancers, between objects, between parts of the body
      • Is there distance between individuals or groups of dancers? Does the head follow the elbow in a turn or does the dancer focus outward, beyond himself?
    • Observe your feelings and images that come to mind, and how they change (or not) throughout the piece
      • Does the music make you tense or agitated? Do the movements remind you of popcorn one moment and falling leaves the next?
      • How does the performance affect you and/or others in the audience?

Structuring Your Paper

  1. Look through your notes and recall the thoughts, images, and aspects of the dance that struck you.
    • Are there themes or patterns in your responses?
    • Were your reactions to certain works stronger than others?
    • What stands out as you look at your notes?
  2. Based upon this information, determine what you will detail in your central paragraphs. Three or four paragraphs is usually appropriate. You may want to go ahead and draft these paragraphs, covering one or two dance pieces in detail or writing in depth about aspects of the performance (themes or motifs, costumes, lighting, etc.), for example. Each paragraph should have a clear focus and begins with a thought that sets up the supportive sentences that follow.
  3. Jot down a few thoughts or keywords that summarize this collection of paragraphs. This is helpful in creating your introductory and concluding paragraphs. Have you focused a lot on the color of things, be it in lighting, costume, or even mood of the pieces, for example? Again consider patterns as you seek to organize your thoughts.

Photo by Jose Roco

Photo by Jose Roco

Writing Your Paper

Your Introduction

Set the Scene – Include the name of the artist or company in your opening lines. Other possibilities include where and when and even under what conditions you are viewing the performance.

Your introduction should also set up the central paragraphs (the meat of your paper) with a thesis statement. A strong introduction will summarize in one or two sentences what is similar or related about the paragraphs ahead while giving the reader a sense of your prevailing reaction to the work. (For more on forming thesis statements see this article at the George Mason University website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

Your Observations

Use specific and descriptive language when writing about what you’ve seen.

  • Use action words that imply a quality or attribute of the movement (slithered, sauntered, bounded, careened instead of rolled, walked, leaped, or turned)
  • Use vivid adjectives to describe qualities of the lighting, costuming, or other elements (cast cheerless shadows, donned gaudy colors and fabrics, carved intricate pathways)
  • Generally, you’ll want to write in the present tense. What you see, hear, feel, and sense rather than what you saw, heard, felt, etc. There are cases that past tense might be appropriate but choreography or performance work is best described as something that continues to exist rather than something that has ended or passed. Whatever you choose, be aware and try not to mix tense within the same paragraph or even within the same paper.

Include your interpretation of how the work(s) develop, how they change in mood, how the themes or mood of the piece is expressed.

When offering your opinions of a specific element or how effectively the work is carried out, support these with specific examples from the work (be wary of attempting to support opinion with blanket statements of belief – “The dancer is astonishing. She is an amazing turner and moves better than anyone else on stage.” vs. “The dancer is astonishing. Her turns have a serpentine fluidity, making her a standout every time she takes the stage.”)

Your Conclusion

Sum up your overall experiences and thoughts about the performance or restate your thesis in more detail.

Relate what you’ve seen to your study or past experiences

Reading, Revising, and Polishing Your Work

  1. Read what you’ve written aloud to yourself or a friend. Is your meaning clear and does it read smoothly?
  2. Leave the paper and then go back to it, reading and making any necessary revisions. Cut or tighten redundant (repetitive) statements, phrases, or paragraphs.
  3. Check spelling (particularly on the spelling of names and titles within the production) and proper punctuation
  4. Be sure the paper is formatted to your instructor’s specifications before handing it in.