Elements of Descriptive Writing continued…
First of all, it’s noisy. You wouldn’t think that it is. But every few minutes, when your eyes are fixed on the pitch black sky in anticipation, there is an almighty BANG!
Try to imagine an explosion. But not a terrible and vicious explosion that injures and destroys. No, this explosion erupts in vibrant colour and dances in the sky. Sometimes, it shatters into a million pieces, it would be impossible to count them all. And sometimes, it flurries around itself, creating effervescent patterns in the night sky. And still, other times it tumbles like a scarlet waterfall or floats like a glittering silver shower. It spins, it spirals, it spurts, and it sprays. It spatters and splatters and scatters.
Now I have not forgotten about the colours, and however could I?
The midnight sky contrasted wonderfully with the vivacious colours of this benevolent explosion. There was red. Blood red. Like the colour of a lover’s rose.
And green, in all of its natural goodness. There was purple, the colour of royalty. And silver and gold and blue.
Can you identify what types of figurative language the writer has used in this text?
The writer has used personification in this text, dances in the sky, flurries around itself. Can you explain why?
The writer wants to stir emotion in the reader with this piece. Perhaps this firework display takes place on New Years’ Eve or July 4th, both are holidays which are intended to spent with loved ones and are generally a time of emotion and intimacy. By using personification, the writer can portray emotion and expectancy.
We have already briefly discussed onomatopoeia in the word “BANG!” The use of onomatopoeia in this text reinforces the notion of sound.
Hyperbole is also used in the text. Can you find any examples? The writer describes the fireworks as an explosion. This is an exaggeration and adds drama to the text.
The writer uses yet another sound device, that of alliteration; “It spins, it spirals, it spurts, and it sprays. It spatters and splatters and scatters”. This creates rhythm and sound within the text.
The writer has one idea for the text, a firework display. The text does stray from that idea. The writer does not mention what the occasion is, who the audience, what time of day it is. This information is non-essential and has therefore been left out. The writer focuses on the initial frightful sound, the color and the movement of the fireworks.
Precise language is used in this text. The writer does use adjectives but in moderation. You will notice that the text uses extreme adjectives as opposed to base adjectives,” almighty” instead of “big”, “vivacious” instead of “bright”. This adds to the drama and sensationalism of the text.
It is at times too tricky to tell in what way a text has been organised. Can you tell which way this text has been organised?
The very first word gives it away, “First of all”. This text is organised chronologically. The writer begins with the loud bang that releases the firework, moves onto the initial movement of the display. Lastly, perhaps giving the eyes time to adjust, describes the colours seen in the display.
By following these elements of descriptive writing you will soon be painting clear and precise mental images.
Bethany Hall is a writer from South Africa,with a degree in Linguistics and English, and experience in content writing, technical writing and journalism. She has a versatile writing style and vast knowledge of the English language and its outworkings.