Descriptive Essay

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Overview For this assessment, you will write a two-page descriptive essay about an object or place in nature that is important to you. Prewriting Tips Follow these steps as part of your prewriting for this assessment. Brainstorm Think about the following questions to help you brainstorm ideas for your description: • What places in nature, such as the ocean or mountains, do you especially enjoy visiting? Think about places you have visited with friends or family. • What unusual plants or animals in nature would lend themselves to being described in an interesting way? • What is an object or place in nature that you see often without really thinking much about it—for instance, a garden? Try observing it more closely. Regardless of what you choose to write about, take time to gather details to include in your description. Observe and Record Details A descriptive essay is most effective if it is packed with details that vividly portray the object or place being described. Set aside some time to observe your subject closely and write down the details you notice. Record sensory details, and remember that you are not limited to describing visual details—sounds, scents, tastes, and textures are important, too. It is best to observe your subject directly if possible. However, if you are not able to do so—for instance, if you are writing about a faraway vacation spot you visited last summer—you can still take time to brainstorm details. Use photographs, letters, or conversations to jog your memory. Then write down the sensory impressions you recall. Organize Ideas Your paper will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. How you organize the body of your paper will depend on your subject. Follow these tips: • Introduction—Begin with a memorable image or idea that sets the tone for your essay. Try to convey an overall impression about the object or place you are describing. For instance, a beach scene could come across as tranquil and idyllic or stormy and foreboding, depending on the details chosen • Body—The details presented in the body of your description should present a vivid portrait of your subject and develop the impression you created in the introduction. There are several ways you can organize details for this assessment, depending on your subject: o Use spatial order to present details visually. For example, describe the subject from top to bottom, left to right, from the outside to the inside, or vice versa. o Parts of your essay may use chronological order, especially if you are referring to specific memories you associate with a particular object or place. For instance, you might refer to the first time you ever visited a certain place. If you use chronological order, make sure you keep the focus on describing the object or place. Telling a story is not the purpose of this assessment. o If neither of these strategies works for your topic, review the other options listed on p. 324 of The Essential Guide to Writing, Language, & Literature. Talk with your teacher about which of these alternatives is appropriate for your topic. • Conclusion—Sum up why this subject is important to you and end with a memorable final image. Drafting, Revising, and Editing Draft • Be sure to take time to work on prewriting assessments as they are presented throughout the unit. Your draft will be much stronger if you take time to plan it out rather than rushing through it the night before it’s due. • Take the time to make your draft the best it can be before you turn it in to your teacher. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should demonstrate that you have put time and effort into the assessment. Do your best to write a good rough draft now—that will help you produce a great final draft later on. Revise and Edit • Think carefully about your teacher’s feedback as you revise. You may also want to share your draft with a friend, a family member, or another adult for additional feedback. You may not choose to apply every suggestion, but give each suggestion some thought. • Your final draft should reflect both revision and editing. When you revise, you address major issues in the content, clarity, or organization of your draft. When you edit, you fix errors, smooth out awkward spots, and polish your writing.

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