Descriptive Writing Styles

“Paint a picture in the reader’s mind/head”
“Showing vs. Telling”
“Telling” is general and vague (brief) with not much detail
“Showing” is extremely detailed; you BRING IT TO LIFE for reader
Example “boring/telling” sentence: “The dog ate his meal.”
This sentence is not detailed; it leaves too much room for the reader to create the image
that you want to say. It could be any dog eating any kind of meal.
The same sentence in a “showing” style (descriptive & more specific):
“Cooper, Mr. Moffatt’s 70-pound yellow Labrador Retriever, ate the Costco-brand
Lamb and Rice chunks of dry dog food that was moist to the touch, yet crunchy when
STYLES/TYPES of Description:
1. Imagery (5 senses): write a sentence that somehow, someway appeals to one or more of
the five senses (taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing)
Ex: The red-headed boy stood by the three-foot-high fire, as he warmed a S’more!
2. Double-Adjective: using two or more adjectives to describe a noun
Ex: My crazy, odd dad did a cannonball into the pool, splashing an old woman!
3. Sentence Description: use a longer sentence or more to get your point(s) across
Ex: A girl loved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups so much that she would buy a five-pound
bag every single day so that she could devour them by noon, satisfying her craving
for the sweet, sugary morsels of Heaven!
4. Comparisons
Simile: using “like” or “as” to compare one object to another
Ex: The talkative student’s lips move as fast as a tornado over Oklahoma skies!
Metaphor: comparing one object to another not using “like” or “as” (for middle school,
using “is”, “are”, “was”, “were”, or “am” works)
Ex: Mr. Moffatt is Elvis!
5. Strong, lively words/verbs: try new and different words
Ex: The strong football player decimated his opponent on the defensive line!
(“Decimated” is a word that is synonymous with “destroyed”/”dominated”)
6. Asides (also called “appositives”/“interrupters” – commas/parentheses/brackets/hyphens):
Ex: Sara smiled at her man-friend (the guy who bought her a dozen roses yesterday).
7. Adverbs (usually “ly” words – answer “how”/”when”/”where”/”how often”):
Ex: Joey sadly served his after-school detention for deliberately tripping a “friend”.
8. Prepositional phrases: think of a “cloud and plane”; these are like asides, but usually
don’t have the punctuation marks:
Ex: Mr. Baerwald was a running back in football for Idaho in 1988.