Descriptive Paragraphs

Author:
Publish date:

Elements of Effective Writing II: Form and Composition on Writer's Online Workshops

Descriptive paragraphs should create a dominant impression for the reader based on description, whether you do it by appealing to the five senses, or by showing the actions of characters or the relations of items to other items, or any combination thereof.

Let's consider the setting of an inner-city park. It's your goal to help the reader visualize, without benefit of pictures, the scene in question. When you gaze at the landscape, where does your eye look first? Second? Third? However you view the scene is how your reader would likely see it as well, so you'll want to establish a pattern based on that sequence. (Keep in mind that the less familiar your reader is likely to be with the setting, the more you'll want to describe.)

There are, of course, many patterns from which to choose, but here are some to consider:

  • left to right
  • right to left
  • up to down
  • down to up
  • near to far
  • far to near
  • in a circle
  • or any combination thereof

The first few may seem obvious, but consider the "Z" pattern if you're going for breadth and depth of focus at the same time. This pattern allows you to describe the faraway stuff (depth) and then travel diagonally across the setting (breadth) to bring the reader to the items of interest in the foreground-or the other way around, depending on what works best for your writing goal.

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Alexander Weinstein: On Writing a Thematic Short Story Collection

Author Alexander Weinstein discusses how he came to select the theme of his new short story collection, Universal Love, and what it was like to see those themes reflected in the real world.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 21

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank me poem.

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

4 Tips for Writing about Family Grudges

Author Samantha Downing discusses the techniques she used when writing her literary novel He Started It, which focuses on family secrets, old grudges, and lots of scores to settle.

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

W.A. Winter: On the Joys of Writing Crime Fiction

Crime and suspense author W.A. Winter discusses why he decided on fiction over true crime for his latest novel, The Secret Lives of Dentists, and how writing this book brought him joy.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 20

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a Love and/or Anti-Love poem.

Stationery vs. Stationary (Grammar Rules)

Stationary vs. Stationery (Grammar Rules)

Learn the differences of stationary and stationery on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Erik Larson Quote

Liminal Spaces: A Profile of Erik Larson

WD gives a peek at the daily routine of Erik Larson and the writing process behind his bestselling narrative nonfiction in this Nov/Dec 2020 profile by Zachary Petit.

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Jennifer Boresz Engelking: On Giving Readers a New Appreciation of History

Debut author Jennifer Boresz Engelking discusses what led her to write her historical nonfiction book Hidden History of Lake County Ohio and how research gave her a new appreciation for her hometown.