Examples Of Sense Of Place Essays
“Descriptive writing is an art form. It’s painting a word picture so that the reader ‘sees’ exactly what you are describing.”
This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.
What’s the big deal about writing descriptively? For one thing, it’s much more than page-filling fluff. Descriptive writing imprints images into the reader’s mind, making you feel as though you’re “right there.” It‘s all about engaging the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to transport the reader and stir emotion. By choosing vivid details and colorful words, good writers bring objects, people, places, and events to life. Instead of merely telling you what they see, they use their words to show you.
Writers use this powerful method to make their pieces memorable—even brilliant—rather than dry and boring. In many ways, description is the most important kind of writing you can teach your children. Why? Because it supports other reasons for writing such as storytelling, informative reports, or persuasion.
Even if your child never aspires to write stories or poetry, description is a wonderful skill to develop. Without it, all other writing falls flat.
Describing a Place
Vivid writing is especially important when describing a place — whether to describe a vista for a travel guide or flesh out a scene in a novel.
Master storyteller Charles Dickens was also a master of using description to create a mood.
It was a town of machinery and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves for ever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, arid vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down, like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. ~Charles Dickens, Hard Times
But your child doesn’t have to be a Dickens to add color, depth, and interest to his writing. Here, a ninth grader draws on all five senses to describe a place and create a mood.
Moist and salty, a chilly breeze blows in across the swells, bringing with it the pungent smells of seaweed and fish and making me pull my jacket a little closer. Sea spray transforms into fiery prisms as the waves splash against the shore, catch the last golden rays of sun, and toss them up like liquid crystals.
With a few tips and tools, your child can effectively describe a place too.
Suppose he’s planning to write about a desert. He’ll need to describe basic desert features, of course: sand, rock, hills, and dunes. But deserts aren’t all alike, so his word choices will need to reflect the kind of desert he wants to write about. For example, if he chooses a desert in the southwestern United States, he’ll probably describe plants such as sagebrush, Joshua trees, yuccas, or saguaro cacti.
But if he’s writing about an oasis in the Sahara Desert, where vegetation is much different, he would instead describe date palms, oleanders, acacia trees, succulents, and desert grasses. His description of either desert scene will spring to life as he tells about these places using rich and appropriate details.
Finding Vocabulary for Describing a Place
How do you help your child study his subject and choose strong words that make his writing sparkle? Whether he decides to write about a desert, city, rain forest, or pond, these ideas will help him find words that will form the foundation of his descriptive piece, narrative story, or report.
Using a Search Engine
Search engines such as Google make a great resource for inspiration. In addition to collecting general terms about the location’s flora and fauna (the desert, for example), he’ll also find concrete, specific nouns and adjectives that add color to his writing. Suggest that he begin his search by looking up terms like these:
- desert landscape
- desert features
- desert climate
- desert plants
- desert animals
- desert description
What if your child wants to describe a city instead of a desert? City words are trickier to find, and he may have to hunt more. Try some of these search terms:
- describe city sights
- describe Chicago, describe Pittsburgh, etc.
- “describe downtown” (use quotes)
Using Other Sources
While search engines can lead you to a wealth of information, don’t discount the value of print media such as magazines and books. Also consider digital media such as TV documentaries or DVDs about the subject.
When describing a place, visit in person, if possible. But if not, can you explore a spot with similar features? Many children are visual and tactile learners. If your child wants to describe what a sidewalk looks like, how about taking him outside to explore the sidewalk on your street? It will help him describe the texture, color, and appearance of a city sidewalk, even if you live in a suburb.
As your child searches the Internet, ask him to keep an eye out for adjectives that describe desert or city features (or whatever place he wants to write about). Encourage him to come up with words on his own, but also to watch for words he meets in articles or photo captions.
If he doesn’t understand some of the words, pull out the dictionary and make it a teaching moment! And show him how to use a thesaurus (we love The Synonym Finder[aff]) to find other words that say the same thing. Both of these exercises will help his vocabulary to grow.
Some Desert Adjectives
Desert:harsh, dry, arid, sparse, severe, hot
Rock:sharp, rough, jagged, angular
Grasses:windblown, bent, dry, pale green, brown
Sand:coarse, fine, glittering, shifting, rippling, sifting, white, golden
Sky:pale, intense, cloudless, azure, purple, crimson
Cactus:tall, short, squatty, spiny, prickly, thorny
Date palm:tall, bent, leather (leaves), frayed (leaves)
Some City Adjectives
City:active, bustling, noisy, busy, clean, dirty, windy
Traffic:loud, congested, snarled
Buildings:old, shabby, rundown, crumbling, modern, futuristic, sleek, towering, squat
Buildings (walls):brick, stone, marble, glass, steel, graffiti-covered
Monuments, statues:stone, copper, carved, ancient, moss-covered, faded, green, bronze
Sidewalk:concrete, cement, slick, cracked, tidy, littered, swept
Paint:fresh, weathered, peeling
Signs:neon, weathered, worn, bright, welcoming, flashing
Buses, cars, taxis:belching, crawling, speeding, honking, waiting, screeching
People:hurried, bundled, smiling, frowning, eager, rushed
Use these suggestions to encourage your child come up with ideas for describing a place of his own. You’ll both discover that hunting for words can become a favorite pre-writing game! And as your child dabbles more and more in descriptive writing, I’m confident his words will soon begin to “show” more and “tell” less.
. . . . .
Do you struggle with teaching and grading writing? Does your child’s writing need a boost? Consider adding WriteShop to your curriculum choices for this school year!
The first seven lessons of WriteShop I specifically teach your teen descriptive writing. This important skill is then practiced in the remaining informative and narrative writing lessons. In addition, WriteShop teaches—and offers practice in using—a wide array of sentence variations that help to enhance a student’s paper with fresh style and vigor. When combined with strong, dynamic word choices, sentence variations give dull writing new life.
For younger children, WriteShop Primary introduces K-3rd graders to activities that widen their writing vocabulary. Book C contains three specific descriptive writing lessons. WriteShop Junior, for upper elementary, also provides many opportunities for students to incorporate description.
Learn more here.
Photos: Alice, Dietmar Temps, & Phillip Capper, courtesy of Creative Commons
Some authors have mastered the art of the word better than the others. We are talking about such giants as Stephen Kink, Robert Stein, Shakespeare, Joanne Rowling, and other famous writers. A descriptive essay is the first step to the excellent level of language proficiency. It helps to operate different words in a variety of situations. It is not that easy to create powerful descriptive essays as it may seem, but this article will share some secrets.
The Nature of Descriptive Essay
Keep in mind the purpose of any good descriptive essay is to come up with a vivid reader’s experience. If your target audience agrees on the fact that they obtained a complete reflection of certain things while reading your piece, you’ve got it right.
People have five sense as you know: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. The writer has to appeal to each of these senses as you never know what your reader prefers. It can be your teacher, your peers, parents, or even fans. So, to make everyone satisfied, it is important to create a descriptive essay which would cover all 5 senses.
Each time there is a need to write a descriptive essay, please mind the following options you can choose from:
- Individual or group of people
You should treat the process of writing a descriptive essay as the everyday job every author faces. Just like the artists paint their famous pictures and complete art puzzles, try to provide your readers will a well-rounded impression. It’s not enough to persuade like in the argumentative essay – it’s all about describing!
Of course, the whole essay should have a certain goal. It may be a lesson which you want your reader to learn from a specific event or life experience. You may write down how the described object influences your life.
Top Examples of A+ Descriptive Essay Topics
So far, we have concluded that the descriptive essay should cover five human senses:
But what are some specific examples of the topic ideas you may consider when deciding on the subject for your descriptive essay? Let us see…
- Usually, writer involves features which make the chosen individual a perfect role model or hero.
- You may write what makes your friend so unique by sharing your common experience.
- Create a comparison between an average human being and an alien from outer space.
- This guide might also be helpful when describing a character.
- Write about the specific location you would like to visit.
- Create a descriptive essay on the place that does not actually exist.
- Think of the most suitable location for your next holiday/vacation.
- The writer can even draw a full picture using the words describing the most magnificent and breathtaking sights of the world!
- As the time passed by, include the descriptive details of the certain event you liked the most.
- What is so special about your most iconic memories?
- Write about your most vivid childhood event like your first birthday party.
- Experience and knowledge
- Tell your readers about the time in your life when you zoned out of a specific setting and simply enjoyed the world around you.
- Use descriptive words to discuss the situation which let you out of your comfort zone.
- Your descriptive essay may be focused on one day in your life when all things suddenly went wrong, and tell how you managed to cope with the situation.
- Mind an item that possesses a sentimental meaning to you or your close people.
- A descriptive essay may tell about things you would like to bury in a time capsule to save them for the future generations.
- Create something really unique like the speech for the old-fashioned people who suspect you’re a witch, but you want to prevent your life from the threat of being sentenced to death.
Mind that is OK to mix the five senses in your descriptive writing to make the piece more vivid. You may choose a specific subject that has recalled the time in your life when you felt loneliest or happy.
Working on Your Paper Outline
To make a powerful descriptive essay, take the time to develop a structured plan known as the essay outline. It should contain an introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure you have decided on the final topic before starting to write! You can always download some free paper examples online.
- Hook: Catch an eye of your reader using taste, touch, smell, sight, or hearing senses!
- Brief backup information! Mind that you should keep your wording discrete. The reader should want to know the whole story.
3-5 Body Paragraph(s)
- Begin with an Exciting Point: Get your reader on the rails by telling some surprising or even shocking things in the first sentences of each body paragraphs.
- Sensory details as your Plot Flows: It is important to keep track of sensory appeal.
- Don’t miss factual details: When you write about a specific personality, try to come up with some semi-relevant background information to help your reader understand your point better.
- Add a Bang: Play with the sensory details and don’t let people know the end of the story until the conclusion!
- Reflection: No descriptive essay can be meaningful without vivid examples from your own life.
- The significance of the Details: Keep in mind a descriptive essay tends to describe things, so include a lot of writing.
- Clincher Statement: Your last paragraph must finish with a clincher (intriguing fact, joke, quote, etc.)
Some effective recommendations for students who want to write a vivid descriptive essay.
- Mind the Chronological Order: Fast forwarding is not the best method. The writer must stick to the linear progression.
- Revision by Others: Ask your peers or parents to have a look at your final paper. Do they find all senses involved? Perhaps, they can help to enrich your descriptive language with new words.
Sometimes, it is not that simple to write a good descriptive essay without help. If you want the language of your essay to be great in all ways, turn to the professional academic writing and editing services in the face of College Homework Help. These experts know how to use proper words when describing things. It is time to become a true artist!
Seeking professional writing guidance? – This is just the right place!