Elements of descriptive writing continued…
As a writer you intend to give the reader a clear idea as to what the central theme of the text is. Therefore, all the figurative expressions and all details must refer to the dominant theme so as to give the reader an overall sense of the object, person, place or event being described. This means that you, the writer need to choose what is necessary and appropriate to include in the text. For example, if you are writing about the food you enjoyed while on your trip to Italy, you would not include the history of Stalin and his vices.
Although both Italian cuisine and Italian history are culturally linked, including such information is confusing for the reader. Thus, you should only include relevant and valuable information.
Descriptive writing, like any writing, relies on the vocabulary chosen to help the reader “see” what the writer is describing. You need to be specific when writing descriptively. This means you cannot be evasive or ambiguous. For example, if we wanted to describe a certain person, we could not say, “He was a man, a human man.” Although this sentence is grammatically correct and uses adjectives, it does nothing to describe the man to the reader. You should rather say, “His curls were the color of sun-kissed beaches and his eyes the color of the ocean that kissed its shores”.
There are two parts of speech that are necessary for good descriptive writing:
An adjective is a word that describes a noun; for example, “the lovely, old, brick-red cottage”. Although adjectives add color and description to our writing, you should use them in moderation. Using too many or unnecessary adjectives will cause clumsiness and confusion; for example, “the lovely, old, square, a-bit-too-small, smelly, dusty, cramped, cluttered, poorly-decorated, faded, brick-red cottage”. This sentence is hard to read and the reader will get lost in all the unnecessary adjectives.
Adverbs are words that describe verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. Use adverbs to create depth and layering to your writing. Use them in moderation. An example of adverbs is, “She slowly and carefully picked up the very tattered book.”
Are we there yet? Nope! Return tomorrow for Bethany’s final list. You’re becoming such a creative writer. Don’t stop now!
Hi there! My name is Bethany and I am the biggest English nerd you will ever meet! I have studied English and Linguistics to make sure that I have a full and complete understanding of the language that I love so much. I also have a teaching certificate so that I can better teach my students to understand and love the English language as much as I do.