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Descriptive Writing Exercises: Super-Effective Workout

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descriptive writingThere are only two cases when you are likely to badly need an individual exercise program. The first is when you need to lose some weight before the beginning of summer. The second is when you need to write a descriptive essay and you do not know where to start. Check out this set of descriptive writing exercises, which can become your personal recipe for a super-effective workout in the second case.

Descriptive Writing: Stretching Exercises


What is descriptive writing? Descriptive writing is the equivalent of drawing with words instead of lines and colors. You need to create vivid pictures, using only your words and memory or imagination. Your goal is to make your readers see, hear, taste, smell and feel what you want to say.

So, let’s start our exercise program with gentle stretching exercises. They will help you unlock your imagination and write the first strokes of your descriptive essay:

  1. Exercise 1. Choose a place, object, person or event to focus your descriptive paper on. Choose something original and unique, but something you know well. For instance, you might have difficulties describing the view from the window of a plane if you have never traveled by air. However, you will easily describe your way home from school, because you see this road every day.
  2. Exercise 2. Close your eyes and imagine that you look at the chosen object from different sides. Walk around it and pay attention to the tiniest details. Concentrate on the reactions of your 5 senses. See it, hear it, touch it, smell it and taste it.
  3. Exercise 3. Identify your main impression from the object you are going to describe. Try to unite all the sensory details you provide through one main idea. Express it in a thesis statement. For instance, you might describe a house as old, but comfortable and search for specific details to support this position.
  4. Exercise 4. Make a plan for your descriptive paper. Try to use some logic for this. For instance, you could discuss the interior of the house in the first paragraph and the exterior in the second one.
  5. Exercise 5.Try to find the best suitable words to describe each detail.

Descriptive Writing: Strengthening Exercises

Now, as you have already warmed up your imagination, it is time for harder, strengthening exercises for you to polish your papers, making them more and more descriptive.

  1. Exercise 6. Look for similes and metaphors to better express your ideas. Now, as you have already stretched your imagination, you won’t have difficulties with drawing unexpected parallels to create fresh metaphors.
  2. Exercise 7. Look at your outline and start writing. If a writer’s block suddenly strikes you at this stage (though it is nearly impossible after all the previous exercises), you can try free writing (writing for a fixed time, without paying much attention to grammar, punctuation or even what ideas you write down).
  3. Exercise 8. After you complete your first draft, look through it and delete all unnecessary adjectives and adverbs. You see, it is extremely important to strike the golden balance and include just enough details in this type of academic essays. Too much detail can be confusing and even annoying for readers.
  4. Exercise 9. Remove all clichés. Look for too general or too common phrases in your papers and replace them with better substitutes. For instance, everyone would write about a tanned person, that s/he is brown as a berry. Avoid making this mistake. Instead, you might write that someone was suntanned, like a grilled chicken. It will help readers imagine what the person looked like and will make them smile.
  5. Exercise 10. Proofread your paper and improve its logical structure (especially if you have followed the previous advice and tried free writing). Finally, give a sigh of relief (remember that breathing exercises are important as well).

Try these 10 exercises, which can become your super-effective workout every time you are assigned descriptive writing.

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