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Down and Dirty Tips: Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Descriptive Start

Tips for students on writing a Narrative / Descriptive essay. While this guide is not comprehensive, it does provide enough information for to students to follow and pass the assignment. This guide is especially helpful for those who don't have much time.

Getting Started: Descriptive Essay

Descriptive Essay

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Select an event that actually happened in real life. The event shouldn’t be too personal or inappropriate for school.


 Select a person, object, or location you actually observe for about 15 minutes. Take notes during your observation. What you describe in your essay should be one particular person, object, or small scene (like a photograph). For example, focus on just a single piece of art rather than describing the entire museum.


  • An art piece at the Leepa-Rattner museum
  • A spot in the woods
  • Gasparilla parade in Ybor

Unless you’re instructed to do so, avoid interpreting; instead, just write about what you actually observe.

Step 2: Draft a Thesis Statement

Step 2: Draft the Thesis Statement

Draft a thesis statement that provides the name of the person, object, or location being described. There should be some point or purpose implied in the thesis as well.


  • No matter time of day, it always seems like Michael just woke up.
  • Abraham Rattner’s oil painting, Gomorrah, is a chaotic and gloomy reminder of humanity’s darker aspects.