A picture really is worth a thousand words.
We use descriptions every day in our casual conversations with friends, family and even strangers. To really get the person you’re conversing with to understand what you’re telling them, description has to be a part of it in some form or fashion. Description is even more important in writing. The stories you tell must have compelling characterization; that is, if you don’t want to bore your readers.
When it comes to descriptive writing, your job is to efficiently depict whatever it is you’re writing about, and leave the rest up to the reader to complete the picture. In this way, everyone can visualize their own account of the person, place or thing.
Throughout this article, we’ll reveal five steps on effectively writing descriptive articles and update it throughout the next few weeks with real-life examples.
- Decide to do away with the mundane; be instinctive – Before you begin the process of descriptive writing, decide in your mind that you won’t be monotonous with your thoughts. Description is dramatic; description is colorful; description is expressive; description is animated. If you’re going to undeniably catch your readers’ attention, you must graphically and perceptibly describe whatever it is you’re writing about. Remember, good writing happens instinctively – you do it without particularly thinking about it – so take yourself back to that moment in which you’re describing much like personal narrative writing.
- Tap into the senses – Senses are 100% involved in anything you describe. Think about it: when discussing that delicious, mouth-watering, perfectly-seasoned, barbecue-flavored burger you had for lunch today with a friend, you’re doing your best to tap into your friend’s sense of taste to get him/her to understand how good that burger really was. Description includes visual, auditory, touch, smell and taste. Visual and auditory-wise, when watching TV or a movie, each aspect of the “description” is right there before your eyes, thanks to the camera; however, you can only rely on words when writing. That means your words must help the reader paint a picture.
- Language – Another way of helping the reader paint a picture is to tap into the power of human imagination with your language. Similes, metaphors, hyperboles, onomatopoeias and doses of good personification should serve as seasoned salt to your descriptive recipe (see what I did there?). These figures of speech are the lifeline to awesome description and can help in transforming a story from average to must-read. However, be cognizant of how much you incorporate these figures of speech. Used well, they enhance your story; on the other hand, they can exhaust the reader if used too aggressively and often.
- Less is more – Although descriptive writing calls for you to describe and explain more than other forms of writing, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be lengthy. You can relay a lot with well-chosen, powerful words. It’s super easy to overdo it and end up with pages and pages of worthless writing, but find ways to get the reader to somewhat imagine what you’re writing about, descriptively, but in as brief a space as possible.
- Storytelling is key – Last but certainly not least, know that storytelling is huge. The best description documents a story. Try to create ways – through your writing – that takes your readers through the evolution of the moment, place and/or thing you’re describing.
You can also view our “Why Kendrick Lamar’s Album is Appropriately Named ‘DAMN.’“, our “How I Feel About Lonzo Ball’s Shoe Exactly One Week After Its Debut” or our “Why I Feel Kevin Durant is the Most Unguardable Player Ever” and/or our Open Letter to the Basketball Gods as real-life examples on how to write descriptive articles.