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How can I approach descriptive writing on the topic of mastering any skill (in about...

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mehtat00 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM via web

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How can I approach descriptive writing on the topic of mastering any skill (in about 400-450 words)?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM (Answer #1)

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In order to write a descriptive essay, the student will want to follow the standard format of the five paragraph essay with its introductory paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and its concluding paragraph.

The introduction first contains a motivator, or hook, that intrigues the reader and inducing him/her to continue reading the essay. (Or, in case of the teacher's reading it, sparks his/her interest). Then, the thesis is stated with 3 opinions, which become the topic sentences of the central paragraphs.  Now, with regard to a motivator, perhaps a question can be asked, such as one inquiring if the reader has ever tried to ____? Then, the writer can state the thesis, which is the single idea that the essay supports. The thesis in a descriptive essay should present a dominant impression of the experience of mastering a skill. After the thesis, the writer places the list of ideas that will form the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.

Descriptive paragraphs recreate sense impressions:  sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. While descriptive paragraphs may contain some facts and examples, they generally should rely on details that are organized spatially or chronologically.  For instance, if the writer is describing how to develop a skill and then master it, a step-by-step approach can be used. But, "flavoring" this chronology with sensory words will make the paragraphs more interesting and it will appeal to the reader's understanding.  An attempt to capture a dominant impression or mood will make the essay come alive.

If, for example, the writer wishes to describe how to master the skill of riding a horse, there is much sensory imagery and humor that can be used.  For, the rider must learn to take command of a large, strong animal, not by physical force, of course, but by controlling and outwitting the animal and knowing what he/she is doing once seated. on the horse. Here is an example of something one could write,

If a horse realizes that the rider is not holding the reins with a commanding direction, it will often digress from the path and head under branches in order to "clothesline" the rider, ridding itself of its inexperienced burden. Therefore, the rider must always be alert and hold the reins so there is no slack in order to be able to quickly turn the horse to prevent looking like the headless horseman of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

Remember that the writer of a descriptive work desires to re-create the experience in images for the reader. Finally, the conclusion restates this single impression stated in the thesis, and adds a little "clincher," some words that extend the idea some. With the example of horseback riding, the writer could restate the impression of the thesis and then add a clincher such as this one:  Once comfortable and confident in the saddle, the horse rider can enjoy the exhiliration of "flying" without leaving the ground.

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