Essay Outline Descriptive Essay
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This may be true, but how can we find those thousand words to portray that picture. Well, our professional essay writers would recommend using descriptive language! Some of the best authors in the world have mastered the technique of writing descriptively to pull their reader into the story. They are meticulous in detail and provide the reader with relatable situations, which allows them to make inferences about characters and plot development. Examples of these authors include Stephen King, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, etc.
Table Of Contents
Descriptive Essay Definition
A descriptive essay is a type of writing in which you describe a thing, event, process or person. The main goal of this type of essay is to create a vivid experience for the reader and give them a more in-depth understanding of the essay’s subject. Normally, most readers receive the most effective representation of something through the use of their senses! Taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight are the 5 ways that the human brain receives information. When it comes to giving the best possible description of something, it is incredibly important to appeal towards all 5 senses.
When a writer is asked to create a descriptive essay, the options that they have to choose from are descriptions of:
Think of this process as just an artist doing his job. The goal for him or her is to paint an overall, all-inclusive picture for the reader to give them a well-rounded impression of what you (the artist) were trying to convey!
Last but not least, the entire story is supposed to deliver some kind of purpose. Whether it is a , or how a , make sure to include a specific purpose for writing the descriptive essay!
Which One to Choose
Choose a person to describe
One idea for a topic is to describe a person that you know. This could be one of your family members such as your mother or father. It could also be your best friend, a colleague, school teacher or professor. Choose a person that you know well; doing this gives you a lot to write about. Because of this, you will not deal with the lack of content, giving you peace of mind while creating your eloquent masterpiece!
- It is ok to choose a fictional person to write about. You could write about a character from your favorite movie, TV show or video game.
Place or Object to describe
Another thing you can describe is a specific place or object that you have strong feelings about. This could be a place like your high school, workplace, or childhood home.
- Feel free to write about defunct place or object, such as the fantastical place from your favorite book or the magic wand from your favorite movie.
Select an emotion to describe
Try to remember your most sincere and longest lasting emotion and turn it into a beautiful piece of art in the form of an essay. You may choose a strong emotion like anger, happiness, loss, desire, or rage.
- You could also choose a more specific emotion, such as brotherly love or self-hatred. Talking about these emotions will probably make your essay more thrilling.
- Describe the traits that make for a perfect role model.
- Describe what separates your best friend from regular acquaintances.
- Describe the average human to an alien who has never before seen a person.
- Describe a place you have dreamed about that doesn’t exist in real life.
- What would be the ideal place to plan an event of your choice.
- Paint a picture with words of the most beautiful sight you have ever seen!
- Which event brought about your favorite memory, and how did the setting impact it?
- What is one of the most common memories that you think about it, and what made it so iconic?
- What particular aspects separate regular events from unique memories in your life?
- Describe that moment in your life where you zoned out of a certain social setting and took a moment to appreciate life.
- Describe a moment in your life where you either led a crowd or did something completely out of your comfort zone!
- Describe a day in your life that took a complete , and explain how you dealt with it.
- Talk about an item that holds sentimental value to you, and how that came about.
- Describe something that you would bury in a time capsule to tell people about what life is like today.
- The commoners are accusing you of witchcraft, so you must describe technology to people from the dark ages to save your life.
Note: It is very common in descriptive writing to "combine the senses". For example, there can be scenarios where a certain object brought about a memorable experience. Another example would be when a social interaction with a person created an unforgettable memory! Not only is mixing senses acceptable, it can make for some of the most vivid stories in an individual's life.
Creating the Thesis
In this type of writing, a thesis statement serves as a guide for the rest of essay. It represents a concise but fulfilling description of the term. It should appear in the introduction and must be restated in the conclusion.
When writing a descriptive essay, it is best to create a structured paper outline beforehand. Not only does it help you organize thoughts, but it will also help your essays flow better!
A descriptive essay outline is composed of the following: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Prior to writing, you have to know the topic of your essay! Hopefully, you spent enough time considering the victim of description, because all of your illustrations will be based around it!
- Hook Sentence: Although the entire essay should be full of interesting and vivid descriptions, grabbing the reader's attention from the very beginning is ideal!
- The "event" that you are writing about. Introduce it to the reader without giving away anything too juicy!
- Brief background/backup information! Get the reader interested with more information about the event. However, keep your wording discrete. You definitely do not want to lose the readers attention before getting to the actual story!
- Sensory Details: Remember those 5 senses we were talking about? Well, now it is time to show your audience those stellar implementation skills! is the key to writing a spicy essay, so get all those senses in there!
Depending on the length of the story, this sections length will definitely vary. Sometimes a story can be told in a few sentences, and other times it takes entire pages!
- Start from an Exciting Point: Put the story in movement by starting up with a sentence that ! It should not be a slow and boring introduction to the story: get your reader on the rails!
- Sensory details within Plot Development: As said before, anyone can tell a story, but not everybody can do it well. As you are progressing through the story, keep track of sensory appeal. All of your sentences should not use 1 or 2 sensory parts. Make sure to use as many as possible!
- Include factual details: An effective way to avoid "empty sentences" is to add factual details. For example, if you are describing a certain person, give some semi-relevant background information about them. This allows you to keep the readers thinking because based on this extra information.
- Knock your Audience over with a Bang: It is a well-known fact that people's attention starts at a high point, gradually decreases, but comes back sky-high with the finale! The audience will always stay curious about the unknown ending! So when you come to the last point of your story, spend a little more time with it and make it sound as tasty as possible! SENSORY DETAILS!
Reflection is Key: Give a respectable purpose for the entire story. Yes, reading descriptive language is all fine and dandy, but your audience wants to know why you just spent so much time describing this thing! Obviously, this thing or experience affected your life in some way or another.
Signify the Importance of the Details: Besides keeping your reader's interest, explain the significance of some key moments. Consider the fact that if any one of those details were slightly different, you might not have had this topic for your essay, because it could have lessened its impact!
Clincher Statement: You probably spent a lot of time thinking of a hook to pull the audience in! Do NOT allow the essay to escape their thoughts right after they finish reading it. The essay should end with a clincher, a .
Keep The Writing Eloquent
Read what you have written out loud
As soon as you have finished writing a draft, read it out loud. Try to notice any clumsy or unclear sentences. Underline these sentences, so that you can get back to them later. You can also read your essay to other people to get their feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask them if there are any unclear or obscure sentences. The more voices that can confirm the high quality of your writing, the better. Furthermore, you can use our online writing service to get a proofread your essay.
Polish It All Up
Go through the essay one more time and remove any sentences that seem to be unnecessary. Replace weak adjectives with more fitting ones. Review and confirm that the description of the subject is clear and easy to follow.
General Tips and Advice
Keep your Description Chronological: Avoid backtracking or fast forwarding. Unless the description has some stale moments, keep things moving in a linear progression.
Get Some Peer Editing: Though the description may sound fantastic in your eyes, others might read it and completely lose touch with the scenario. Everyone's brain works slightly differently, so get some second impressions to strengthen the validity of your descriptive language!
Some Good Examples
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Professor Isabella, from EssayPro
As the article articulates very well, my advice when writing descriptive essays is always to show and not tell. In order to captivate the reader, describing an event with sensory details is very important. This will come in handy in any creative writing that you do or on your application essays. When experimenting with describing imagery, make sure to avoid doing two things: focusing on too many details at once and using too many adjectives and adverbs. If you are describing actions, then adverbs are your worst enemy. Attempt to replace them whenever you write anything creative or descriptive. Besides, when you write descriptively make sure to pick out details that are very important to the story to focus the reader’s attention on particular points. For example, if you are writing a descriptive essay about your camping trip, you would probably be describing the trip as opposed to the sky or the birds. Best of luck writing your descriptive essay and remember: show, not tell!
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Though not always necessary, outlines can help guide you in your writing. How? They act like a map of where you’ve been and where you need to go. An outline provides a skeleton upon which you can hang the meat of your essay. Consider it this way: without the skeleton, the paper won’t hold up but will be like a slug slithering on the ground. Which would you prefer your essay to be? A slug—or a roaring lion? We’re guessing you’d prefer your essay to be a roaring lion! That’s why we’re showing you how to create a descriptive essay outline.
What You Need
So what do you need to know to construct a solid descriptive essay outline? [See below for the basic outline of a 5 paragraph descriptive essay.] Not all essays need be five paragraphs—some can be longer. We’ll use the 5 paragraph outline because it gives an idea of how to lay out a successful paper. Following the outline, we’ll show you how to use the outline and apply it in your writing process.
A good way to prepare an outline is to create an idea map. An idea map starts with a central idea. Say you want to describe your favorite restaurant. In the center of your idea map, draw a circle and write the main purpose of your descriptive essay—describing your experience at a restaurant. Off of this main idea should branch multiple supporting ideas—such as what you see when you enter the restaurant, what you hear, where you sit, what you order, how it tastes, etc. Purdue OWL gives some brainstorming tips on how to create an idea map like the one below. Their example has GOALS as the main idea. Branching off of the main idea are the objectives the individual would like to achieve, and branching off of those objectives are the methods for how they can be met.
How the Idea Map Translates into an Outline
Once the idea map is created, you can easily proceed to constructing your own descriptive essay outline. The main idea in the center will be your thesis and will be stated in your opening paragraph. The supporting ideas will be your body paragraphs, each idea having a paragraph and each paragraph containing the supporting statements (the methods for how the individual goals will be met). Then all that is left is a concluding paragraph that summarizes the paper. Let’s look at how an idea map might be created for a descriptive essay about visiting your favorite restaurant.
An idea map need not look as neat as this one: you can sketch it out quickly on a loose leaf sheet of paper. The purpose is just to see your options in print. You can sketch down as many as come to you and just select the three or four best ones that you feel will really help you deliver the greatest details of your experience. Let’s look at the idea map above.
You can see that the main idea of the paper will be to describe going to a restaurant called Baba’s for lunch. The idea map shows that several points can be described in this essay: what’s on the menu, what the environment is like (music, people), and what you end up ordering. This is just an idea map—so it doesn’t have to be full of details. Those are what you will put into your paper when you write it. This is just to help you get started on structuring your outline, which we can now examine below. Let’s take a look!
Format & Example
I. Introduction: Opening Paragraph
A. Provide a Hook
1. It should grab the audience and hold their attention
2. It should also introduce the topic or be relevant to the subject you will describe
B. Give some Background
C. Close with a Thesis Statement
1. This should let the reader know what it is you will do in the paper
2. It should also tell them how you will do it
A. First Paragraph
1. The first body paragraph should introduce the first topic that you will describe—for example, if the subject of your essay is a restaurant, the first paragraph can be about what you see and hear when you walk in.
2. The paragraph should have a topic sentence that lets the reader know what you plan on describing in that paragraph.
3. The following sentences should all be related to the topic and should support it in some way with various descriptions.
i. Remember—if a sentence does not relate in some way to the main topic of the paragraph, cut it out.
ii. The paragraph should be at minimum three sentences long.
B. Second Paragraph
1. The second body paragraph should follow in the same manner as the first.
2. It should begin with a transition word or phrase, so that the reader can easily move from the first body paragraph to the second. You can find a good list of transition phrases here.
3. Because it is a new paragraph, it should cover a new topic—a different aspect of the subject you are describing. If we are using the example of the restaurant, you can describe the options available to you on the menu in this paragraph.
C. Third Paragraph
1. The third body paragraph will cover the last aspect of the subject that you want to describe.
2. Use another transition word or phrase to begin the paragraph and to introduce your topic sentence.
III. Conclusion: Closing Paragraph
A. Restate the main purpose of your essay.
B. Reiterate the main points of the paper.
C. Provide a closing statement that summarizes what you have described—in this case, your overall feelings towards the restaurant.
Now that we have our outline, let’s take a look at what we’ve constructed. So far this is set up to be a five-paragraph descriptive essay with an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph, and three body paragraphs giving supporting details. How do we take this outline and turn it into an essay? Easy. Follow it point by point and step by step.
Applying the Outline
First, begin to write your introduction. You already know your subject—going to a restaurant named Baba’s for lunch. All you need is a “hook” to get your reader interested. Think of how commercials hook viewers by using a snappy one-liner: you could write something like, “If you’re ever hungry and in the neighborhood of Oakley, there’s no better place to eat than Baba’s Indian Restaurant. Their aromatically-inviting, authentic Indian cuisine makes my mouth water just thinking about it.” This is a good example of a hook because it identifies the subject and uses vivid language to express several senses—taste, touch, smell, sight. Now all you need to do is follow this up with a statement of what you will do in your essay and how you will do it—something like: “In this essay, I will describe my experience going to Baba’s for lunch by showing what it’s like when you first enter the restaurant, what there is to eat, and what I always get to satisfy my hungry belly.”
With your introductory paragraph complete, you can move to the body. Here you just designate one paragraph to describing three aspects of going to Baba’s. In the first body paragraph, you will describe what you see and hear and smell when you enter into the restaurant. You finish this first paragraph up with a description of where you sit.
Your second body paragraph will tell about the options you have to choose from for lunch. You can describe the meals and what they taste like to give your reader a deeper sense of the experience. Finish this paragraph with a statement of what you settle upon for lunch.
Your third body paragraph will describe your food and how well you enjoy it. This paragraph can be used to really drive home the point that Baba’s is a savory place for dining. Use a lot of descriptive words that evoke each of the five senses.
To close out your essay, write your final paragraph—a conclusion that covers the main point of your essay and offers a summary of your experience. Come up with a creative way to send off your reader so that Baba’s is all they can think about. The more effective you are in convincing your reader that Baba’s is where they should eat next, the more your essay will be successful.
Once you’re finished, you can always go back and revise your essay. Give it a read-over and see what you can do to make it even more powerful and evocative. Be sure to use language that shows rather than tells—i.e., don’t just list information about the restaurant but express it in vivid terms that bring the place to life.
In conclusion, a descriptive essay outline is easy to draft and helps you focus your essay. You can use it as a way to gather your thoughts and guide you through the process of writing. The best way to get started is to create a quick and easy idea map. Draw the main points that you will focus on in your essay from this map and use it to develop your outline. Then all you have to do is follow your outline step by step!
Now that you have the outline figured out, make sure you check out our descriptive essay example to see the actual structure of the paper.