Descriptive writing is all about using words that are rich in meaning to describe an object, person, or experience. The effectiveness of your descriptive writing depends on whether the reader thinks of the subject as intended. If you’re struggling to find the best way to describe what you’re writing about, heed these tips for good descriptive writing.

A picture of a window with the text
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Before we delve into the tips, it’s important we set the right frame of mind. First, we need to understand the purpose and importance of descriptive writing.

What is Descriptive Writing?

Descriptive writing is a writing style that provides readers with a clear mental image of the subject. Descriptive writing focuses on important details and uses words to represent them accurately in the minds of readers.

The Importance of Descriptive Writing

Detailed descriptions help readers immerse themselves in the content they are reading, giving them valuable contextual information about a topic. Descriptive writing acts as a guide for readers. The writer’s careful attention to detail allows them to better understand the object, place, and context.

In the realm of marketing, descriptive writing focuses on providing prospects with clear descriptions of a product or service. This helps prospects determine whether they want to make a purchase.

For example, James is looking for a bright LED strip light powered via USB. This is because he doesn’t have a free power outlet to use.

The James LED features over 200 high luminosity RBG LEDs wrapped in an IP67 body. The strip uses a 12-volt power adaptor that users can adjust to provide 5 volts of power for energy efficiency. It also comes with a USB adaptor cable to allow users to plug the lights into any USB port.

This product description reveals that the LED strip is powered through a DC adapter but can function through USB. James determines that the James LED is what he’s looking for and decides to buy it.

Good Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing provides readers with a clear and vivid description of a subject or topic. If you’re struggling to write descriptions, don’t fret. There are many better ways to say things.

These are some techniques you can use to describe things better.

Use Figurative Language

Figurative language includes metaphors, similes, personification, and metonymy. Writers use figurative language to provide users with a basis for comparison and analogy to describe a subject.

For example:

  • The birds sang the most wondrous song his ears had ever heard.
  • He felt cornered, as though the walls were closing in on him.

Add Sensory Details

Every reader can relate to a plethora of sensory details. Sensory details are great for establishing a vivid picture by helping readers relate with their senses as though they were present. Authors can use the senses of smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch to describe something.

For example:

The glowing orb floated in a dim room that smelled like burnt hair. It was unsettling to behold. He commanded the orb with a gentle, assertive voice. It was like a quiet thunder. The words were formless and shapeless. He could not fathom them, yet they left a bitter taste on his lips, like an unwanted kiss.

Develop an Emotional Vocabulary

Emotions are a key component of any description. Emotions are a vital part of the human experience, making life colorful and exciting. Avoid using basic and common adjectives.

An emotional vocabulary contains words that vary in intensity to describe a particular emotion accurately.

For example:

Instead of saying happy, you can say:

Delighted → elated → exhilarated → exultant. 

The words increase in intensity as you read further to the right.

Focus on Key Details

Descriptions are all about details. Focus on a specific detail that defines the whole scene or product. Your readers will focus on the detail, which, in turn, creates a richer environment. The secret lies in selecting the correct detail to emphasize.

For example:

To describe a muscular male, you can say: his chest was broad and stalwart. His chest was a “shield.”

The Bottom Line

Descriptive writing is fairly straightforward because it aims to share a writer’s thoughts on a subject. It tells readers about the particular quirks and qualities related to a subject. Whether you want to write a product description or a descriptive essay, these tips will help you express your thoughts and feeling clearly.

Remember, effective descriptive writing largely depends on your ability to describe a point or subject to people. We hope this article helps you on your writing journey. Best of luck!

Effective Writing Tips to Describe a Person

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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