What Is Descriptive Writing?

There are many different kinds of writing, descriptive writing being one of them. Pretty much everything I found on descriptive writing talked about essay writing or academic writing.

Descriptive writing is important for any kind of writing, but we’ll stick to creative writing for now.

What Is Descriptive Writing?

What is descriptive writing?

Descriptive writing is when you give a clear and vivid description of a person, place, or thing in your writing. It can be in separate paragraphs and sentences or woven into the narration. Descriptive writing is supposed to help the readers visualize everything as though they’re in the story themselves.

How can you use descriptive writing?

There are many different clever ways you can weave descriptive writing into your story.

Figurative Language

Used to show imagery, figurative language uses metaphors, similes, personification, etc. Pretty much the basics of the English language that you learned about in school. These can be used to describe people and places. Comparing and making connections from one thing to the next as well as adding a little more depth to objects (personification, for example).


It can be spewed out in blocks of paragraphs or it can be woven into the narration. The narration, in my opinion, is the way to go. Sometimes it can look like info-dumping if you go on too long with certain description. It can be tricky, but you want the description to flow nicely in between everything else.


Readers and writers alike all have something in common and that’s our five senses. For the most part, we can all see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, or have some sort of combination of those five senses. Using the five senses in our writing adds more depth to the story rather than just ink sitting on the surface of a page. It doesn’t help to use them all at once all the time, but it still adds that little extra to the story.

But we’ll touch upon that more throughout the month.

How do you add the description into your novels? Let me know in the comments below!

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44 thoughts on “What Is Descriptive Writing?

  1. I try to make it easy for my readers to visualize what I’m describing by using common words and things almost everyone should be able to recognize. If it’s something I’m not too familiar with I reach out to family or friends for tips. In fact, even if I’m familiar with the item I might ask some other people to describe said item to me that way all of my discriptions have a bit more and don’t sound too similar.

    Discriptions used to be one of my weaker traits when I started writing many years ago! I always thought, “Eh, they’ll get it.” Bad, bad writer. Ha ha.

    • You know, having someone else describe it is probably better than you looking up synonyms. Otherwise, you may sound like a robot or something, lol.

      I’m still bad at the description, lol. It’s my weaker writing trait as well. I’ve slowly gotten better over the years though.

  2. Very helpful blog. I struggle at times with adjectivitis and sometimes put too much emphasis on my descriptions. I often depend on the dictionary or a thesaurus to find the exact word that fits the tone I wish to convey overall in my blogs.

    • Thanks!
      I know what you mean though. I struggle with description so I sometimes spend too much time trying to make it sound better, if that makes any sense, lol.

  3. I remember when I first started writing, I had all these characters and plot ideas I wanted to put into play immediately. Bringing these stories in my head to life was my number one priority, but the difficult part for me wasn’t imagining up these stories- it was writing them so others could be just as immersed in them.

    My creative writing instructor would always push me to be more detailed. Bits and pieces of every character, every backstory- in the end, when I would read over my drafts, I realized what a difference this made. My stories suddenly became easier to visualize, with all the added characteristics I included. It’s like describing a suspect to a detective. More information allows for clearer imagery, and that has more power than most new writers realize.

    Thanks for sharing- just followed and looking forward to more of your material. 🙂

    • I had (have) the same problem. My ideas play like a movie in my head, but when I write it I leave out certain details because I assume they’re obvious… even though they’re clearly not, lol.
      Being more detailed is the key, but then it’s so easy to give too much information, you know?
      Thanks for your comment and follow. 🙂

      • Exactly. I’ve now gotten so used to providing details in my stories that I tend to over inform, and in turn state the obvious, which can make my writing redundant (and can frustrate my readers, or at least I can imagine them feeling confused.)

        And no problem!! Your post was really helpful and I’m sure there are more interesting ones to come 🙂

        • But the thing with being redundant is that you can edit it out. It can be easier to edit than to have to add in. Though I sometimes feel like it’s the opposite, lol.
          I hope so. 😉

          • Very true! I don’t have to come up with anything extra. I can just cut it if need be. But yes, sometimes figuring out what parts to edit out can be tricky 🙂

              • Same here- I’ve found that it does polish up my writing and make it more concise (which I only have to deal with now that I’ve learned to add more details) but it is very tedious.

                • It’s definitely needed. But editing is the reason I haven’t 100% completed any of my novels. Editing them is too intimidating. I’ll start and then get overwhelmed.

                  • Definitely get where you’re coming from- I have at least 10 or so drafts in my cache waiting to be published because I have yet to revise them. The number of these drafts is growing at a terrifyingly fast pace!

                    • At least we’re writing, though! 😉 If you want to look on the bright side, lol.
                      But yeah, I have six novels, four picture books, and a few short stories that are fully written, just not edited. I’m trying to get organize and get back into it all.

                    • Yes! 🙂 It’s progress- we’re still creating something out of nothing, and getting those ideas out there. At least we have something to work with-

                      Good luck! Know you’ll finish them up beautifully~

  4. I really like this breakdown of “descriptive” categories. Can’t tell you how much time I spend explaining to my students how “it” and “this” just ain’t gonna cut it. Oh, dang, I did it myself. Ah, see? Again! Maybe we can let these ones slide, but regardless, always easier said than described.

    • I knew what you meant. 😉
      But yeah, it’s difficult. And I think it’s because we don’t usually think too much about it, especially things we see. If that makes sense.

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