Descriptive WritingAuthors’ Styles Marvin Cohn, M.A English 1301
The purpose of descriptive writing is to create an image or picture in the reader’s mind. They say that a “picture is worth a thousand words.” However, if a writer uses a thousand words to create an imaginary picture, the reader would become bored and mentally exhausted.
Therefore, a writer must have a decent command of the language and know the intrinsic meanings of words that conjure up in the reader images with as few words as possible, so that the pictures created are much greater than the sum of their parts, those parts being words.
When creating an image, the writer tries to appeal to the reader’s five senses, which are: • Sight (Visual) • Sound (Aural) • Taste • Touch • Smell
Since we primarily perceive our surroundings visually, the most important (and easiest) sense to which a writer should appeal is SIGHT.
No two authors write in exactly the same way to achieve their goals. The following slides will demonstrate examples of descriptive writing in two different styles.
The boy rode his bike. Doesn’t tell you much
Answer the “Journalistic Questions”: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
It was late in that sweaty afternoon when a skinny, red headed, five year old boy, wearing tattered jeans and a faded blue baseball cap, painstakingly pedaled his rusty rimmed, black mountain bike, with broken yellow reflectors embedded in the half-spokeless wheels down the dirty, gray, war-torn, bomb-cratered, cobblestone street.
That was a one-sentence mouthful! Now, let’s check out the next example
It was late. The afternoon was sweaty. A skinny boy rode his bike down the dirty, cobblestone street. He had red hair and was wearing tattered, old jeans and a faded blue baseball cap. His bike was a black mountain bike. The rims were rusty and the bike was missing spokes. Embedded in what was left of the spokes were broken and cracked , yellow reflectors. Being five years old, he struggled as he pedaled. The street had been torn up by war; and there were bomb craters everywhere.
The previous examples of descriptive writing are totally different in style, but achieve the same purpose. They create visual images in the reader’s mind. Your style of writing may be different from the examples. THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY. DO IT YOUR WAY!!