A descriptive essay mirrors the mood of the writer and conjures images that breathe. It is often regarded as the most structured form of writing as it is associated with the ability to transfer emotions to the reader through the use of words.

A good essay arouses the reader’s senses and impacts on his mind- evoking the correct response.

The writer succeeds if he is able to capture the reader’s attention and retain it till the end. Although one can describe anything under the sun and palm it off as a descriptive essay, the description must relate to something of consequence, in the sense that it must be purposeful.

Anything insignificant would merely amount to a mundane exercise of writing for the sake of putting something down on paper. Writing must always be directed towards the reader and hence the writer must have a good reason for describing something or someone. An introduction or a backdrop provides the correct setting for the rest of the essay. A good descriptive essay should lure the reader and entice him to read without stopping. While details are important, the way they are presented is going to decide whether the readers opt in or out.

Visual skills, words relating to sound, smell and taste predominantly used tend to make the essay real.

Words relating to touch and inner emotions be it disgust or admiration, love or hatred convey to the reader the intensity and range of feeling. A wider spectrum encompassing all the senses has a tremendous impact. Nonchalant use of nouns in a general way waters down the feelings conveyed. Specificity is the order of the day. Active verbs help the reader to visualize the nature of emotions rather than indicating the characters or scenes in an inanimate and passive manner. Vivid use of words and verbs are effective.

The tone of the essay should be gradually built so that there is one strong dominant emotion. If the purpose of the essay is to cause concern or arouse fear, then the trend must be set in the introduction itself. It prepares the reader for stronger and worse emotions to follow. Sometimes it helps to list all the words associated with a particular emotion and then try to use as many as you can without being redundant. Just as the introduction coaxes the reader into entering a particular world, so too must the body of the essay ensure that he does not beat a hasty retreat.  In the conclusion, the reader must be drawn within the purview of emotions making him an integral part.

The descriptive essay can either be objective or subjective by nature. What is going to determine the outcome is the kind of emotion that needs to be evoked. An objective essay is precise and clinical in approach while a subjective essay has a personal touch. Whether it is one or the other, the body of the essay needs to be correctly segmented. While giving details, set the different aspects off in different paragraphs depending on its content. This way the essay reads well, has coherence and is meaningful. Care must be taken to have some sort of logical pattern with important details preceding minor ones, or broader details preceding specific ones. There are many ways to deal with the presentation, so choose the one that is most effective.

Descriptive writing is as easy as it is difficult. Easy because a strong vocabulary is the key to good description and difficult because lack of passion and a disability to use words in proper context can render a good essay pathetically ineffective. So gear yourself up and be prepared to use those gray cells optimally.

Whenever you write an essay, the obvious thing to do first is to write down in any order things that may strike you. Different people will associate the topic with different things, but the most important thing is to put it down in black and white before you. Surprisingly it will be very easy to write once you have phrases or words with which to work with.

For instance if you are asked to describe a day in summer, to some it may be the heat which is dominant while it is others a time to get away and enjoy themselves. Depending on the train of thought and the associations which summer brings, the essay forms itself.

One way to tackle a descriptive essay is to use vivid language which clearly brings out the principal features, another way would be to compare it with something else while others would merely allow their senses to come into play. While writing a descriptive essay, use time effectively to show change or evolution. Allow for a free play of emotions and feelings, for this adds to the essence of the essay.

Adjectives and verbs are of primary importance as writers often resort to them to convey their state of mind on the topic. The writer has to be creatively suggestive in order to convert the descriptive essay into something exciting and out of the ordinary. This holds the attention of the reader and urges him to continue reading. Allow the reader to relate and feel the intensity by evoking images.

Organization is a very important tool for effective descriptive essay writing. There should be more than one paragraph and a general pattern should be developed before becoming specific. Remember, such essays do not merely indicate statistical data like a scientific paper or need not consist of facts.

Let your imagination soar and throw in a few metaphors and similes for good measure. Do not however go overboard with such description. The rules are just guidelines but do allow contouring.

Having said that it is important to first understand the purpose of the essay and the readers who are being targeted. Researching is an absolute must, the more material you have, the better your essay will be. Just as a sketch acts as a skeleton for a painting, so too an outline is a must for a descriptive essay. Using the outline, fill in the vast spaces and rewrite as many times you can. Often it is felt, that this is the best that you can do. Read it aloud to yourself and you will find that a first written draft augurs a lot of improvement. The five senses have a major role to play.

For example, describing the mansion of your dreams would call for a description of how the dream mansion actually is visualized. Conjure up an image of the smells and sounds associated with the garden or the summerhouse. The sense of touch comes into play when you describe the texture of the hangings, the wall, the floor, or the feel of books in the library. By using the five senses, the descriptive essay begins to have feeling and depth and a sense of belonging.

Use concrete ideas but mix them up with abstract ones and the result is an essay that is alive and full of vitality, refusing to be subdued. It bursts at its seams as if urging the reader to get it all in one go. Be natural and refreshing and avoid clichés even at the expense of being extravagant. There is nothing like writing an essay this way and there is nothing like reading it.~ author M. Doraiswami.

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The word “description” means to narrate something in such a way that the reader is able to visualize the image that is portrayed.

Descriptive essay topics can range from describing a rainy day describing a garden, a library to how an operation is performed. In essence, it will be associated with the how the senses are related to the topics.

Emotions come into play as you describe the sound and feel of thunder or lightning, and graduates into the area longing for warmth and dryness. If it is the library under discussion, the emotions are still more poignant.

The warmth which books convey, the feel of books and the warmth that they spell, the magic which is there in the air all around coupled with the external elegance and unspeakable emotions which remain tied up waiting to loosen themselves. In toto what is required in such essays would be sensory details.

Some common descriptive essay topics would deal with a particular incident or general topics that deal with experiences or activities. Scenic descriptions of a sunset or a sunrise, hobbies, or a particular activity like cricket or skating would fall under this category. Storms, hurricanes and cyclones are always things about which anyone can write about.  These call for the use of imagination evoking color and imagery so that the reader is sure of what is being addressed. Figurative speech, words that denote sound and represent the thing being described are important.
Academic subjects like the fear and ecstasy of math and trigonometry, lively chemistry and biology, inanimate geology or merely the environment are other descriptive topics that are regularly written about.

Using general details, the focus could gradually evolve into more specific issues about personal significance. Hobbies cultivated or sports played have been topics that have been perennially thrashed about On a more personal level, descriptive essay topics like home, parents; pets have always been in the fray. Personal Success and failure, happiest and saddest moments in life, the thrills of independence and personal goals and ambitions always make good reading and spell even better writing. Teachers are all time favorites, while friends and favorite relatives are good substitutes. Bitter experiences, losses and dark moments follow suit, as these are common things in everyone’s lives.
Food, fruits, seasons are somehow in the same basket and time tested topics for description. The list for descriptive essay topics is just endless. Just think of a topic, name a topic and it is worthy of being included in the list. In fact, what has just been described is a form of descriptive essay that can be included in the category of topics.