Descriptive Writing What is a descriptive writing?
Descriptive Writing A description is a picture in words that helps the reader see, hear, taste, smell, or feel something that the writer has experienced.
Descriptive Writing What sense is being used in the following sentences? The puppy was black with three white paws and one white ear. It had a long tail with a white tip.
Descriptive Writing What sense is being used in the following sentences? As we walked into the room, the floor boards creaked. We knocked into a table and the glass vase hit the floor. Crash!
Descriptive Writing What sense is being used in the following sentence? The cool rain was hitting us in the face as we ran to the bus.
Descriptive Writing When we write a description, we must remember to: • begin with interesting opening sentences that tell what the description is about
Descriptive Writing • use exact, vivid words to create a picture in the reader’s mind • include important details about what you are describing
Descriptive Writing • put details in time order, spatial order, or in order of importance • use sense words that help your reader picture what you are describing
Descriptive Writing • end in a way that wraps up the description
Improving Descriptive Writing Painting an Original Picture
What is descriptive writing? • An effective written description is one that presents a clear picture to your reader. • A successful description uses vivid vocabulary, including colorful adjectives and figurative language. • An interesting description attracts the reader’s attention.
Purpose of Descriptive Writing • Describe something in an original and unique so that it appeals to the five senses • Touch it • Taste it • Hear it • See it • Smell it
Imagery Imagery is the use of words to create images or mental pictures. Imagery helps you picture how something: • * looks • * sounds • * smells • * tastes • * feels
Keys of Being Descriptive • Be original • Be specific, not vague. • Be creative and stretch your imagination • Use vivid vocabulary (strong nouns, verbs, and adjectives). • For example, instead of this: • Try this: • The sun cut itself on a sharp peak and bled into the valley.—John Steinbeck • The hot, yellow sun went behind the mountain and covered the valley in red.
How’s This? • She was super hero beautiful. Her hair was as black as coal, her lips red as blood. Is it original and creative?
Read this descriptive introduction from an informational text: • “Dark shapes glide through the night sky on silent wings, their sinister shadows outlined against the light of a full moon. Swooping down to the earth, they hover near houses and deserted buildings, breaking the peace of the night with their disturbing presence. Carriers of disease, drinkers of blood, companions of witches and demons, bats – the very word brings a shiver of fear to most people.” ~ Sylvia A. Johnson, Bats
Description of the Wind • “Anybody could see how cold it got. The wind already had glass edges to it, stiffening muscles and practically cutting through the stitches of our clothes. When it blew, the chill stabbed our teeth like icicles, and our voices jiggled every time we talked.” • From Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vidaby Victor Martinez
SHOW…DON’T TELL! • Telling: The girls were excited. • Showing: Giggles and screams filled the arena. The soft curls were now damp with perspiration and the anticipation of the event. They held tight to each other in a mock effort to contain themselves. Arms flailed upward, and voices echoed in varying tones. The moment was here.
SHOW…DON’T TELL! • Telling: It was foggy. • Showing:The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panesThe yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panesLicked its tongue into the corners of the evening,Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,And seeing that it was a soft October night,Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.- excerpt from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot
SHOW…DON’T TELL! • Telling: The woman is pregnant. • Showing: "Metaphors"I'm a riddle in nine syllables,An elephant, a ponderous house,A melon strolling on two tendrils.O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.Money's new-minted in this fat purse.I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.I've eaten a bag of green apples,Boarded the train there's no getting off.- Sylvia Plath
Choose one telling sentence from below and expand to a showing paragraph Meg Ryan- City of Angels (Pear) • The morning was beautiful. • The coffee was enjoyable. • The pizza was delicious. • He is angry.
The morning was beautiful. • Behind the mountains, the sun peaked brightly, ready to start a new day. The blue sky remained silent yet showed signs of sadness. The wind whispered through the trees as the cheerful sun rose. The birds sang gently by my window as if they wanted to wake me up.
The coffee was enjoyable. • She cradled the mug in both hands and leaned her head over it in the rising steam. Pursing her lips, she blew softly over the clouded surface and let her eyelids drop. Her shoulders rose slightly as she breathed in, and she hummed with her head low. I lifted the tiny porcelain pitcher and poured a brief rotating arch of white into the black depths of my own cup. She opened her eyes, and we looked at each other across the table without speaking.
He is angry. • Sitting at his desk, his jaw tightened. His eyes flashed heat waves at me. The words erupted from his mouth, "I want to talk to you after class." The final hiss in his voice warned me about his feelings.
The pizza was delicious. • Steam rising up off the melted cheese made my mouth water. The first bite, my teeth sinking into the cheese through the tomato sauce and into the moist crust, made me chew and swallow rapidly. Even the cheese and tomato sauce, sticking to my fingertips, begged to be licked.
Clichés: The Descriptive Killer • 1: a trite phrase or expression; Also: the idea expressed by it • 2 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace
Finding Clichés Through Experience • If you have seen it • Or heard it • It’s probably a cliché
Finding Clichés Through Others • Ask someone really old • (You know, anyone over 21)
Finding Clichés On-line • Choose a keyword to look up • Go to a cliché website and look up the keyword • Cliché finder is one of the best places to look: http://www.westegg.Com/cliche/ • You may have to try more than one keyword
Fixing Clichés • Identify the clichés • Replace them with more descriptive writing • Think of a new comparison • Look up words in a thesaurus • www.m-w.com
A Little Practice • Each of you will be given a poem • Identify ALL the clichés • Replace half of them (you can choose the easiest ones if you’d like) • Don’t worry about making it rhyme • We’ll do the first stanza together
She’s as pure as the driven snow, Her face is as white as a sheet, Her hands are as smooth as silk, Her nails as red as a beet. Which of the following do think are clichés? She’s as pure as the driven snow, Her face is as white as a sheet, Her hands are as smooth as silk, Her nails as red as a beet.
She’s as pure as the driven snow, Her face is as white as a sheet, Her hands are as smooth as silk, Her nails as red as a beet. Her hair is like the golden sun, Her eyes blue like the sky, She’s as beautiful as an angel, and as hot as a firecracker on the 4th of July. Her temper is as quick as lightning, Her hatred cold as ice, Her laughter is loud and clear, But her crying is as quiet as mice. Her beauty may be skin deep, But her mind is as sharp as a knife. I’m just small potatoes, And she seems larger than life They say she’s one in a million, But I don’t believe what they say. If she’s all that and a bag of chips, Why say it with a cliché? Same Old New Girl
Adora Svitak • When Adora Svitak was seven years old, she became a published writer. • Adora began reading chapter books when she was three and half years old! • Many call her the “Tiny Literary Giant”. • She is truly a master of the art form known as writing. • Adora speaks about descriptive writing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JJegHNy8vs