Project #22414 - Eng101

Compose a 5-7-paragraph descriptive essay following the process described in this lesson



At this point in the class, you have reviewed paragraphs, the basic essay format, and the types and functions of descriptive prose. In this lesson, you will have the chance to practice everything you've learned so far as you write a five-paragraph descriptive essay.


Think back to the sample topics you explored in Lesson 2. Are you still interested in any of them for a full essay? Consider the assignment from Lesson 3. Did you gain any insight into best practices relating to descriptive prose that you can use on your essay? You should take time to review the feedback your instructor has left on your work to date and ask any questions before you start the writing process.


Readings, Resources, and Assignments
Required Readings

Complete the following before starting this lesson:

  1. Review samples of descriptive prose:
    • High Country News: My ghost town
    • Pantheon Books: "The Veil" from Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
    • Lou's Place
    • Young Lions, Young Ladies
Multimedia Resources

Descriptive Peer Review Game (in the lesson)

Required Assignments

Descriptive Essay

See the Assessing Your Learning section of this lesson for more information on each assignment.

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ENG101&102 Subject Guide: A one-stop shop for all of your English related research needs.


Check Prior Knowledge


Looking for some quick tips to jumpstart your essay writing? The OWL at Purdue University offers the following resource: The Descriptive Essay. This Web site provides quick tips to review the best practices relevant to writing descriptive prose.


Focusing Your Learning


Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  1. Define the characteristics of a descriptive essay.
  2. Examine and analyze sample descriptive essays.
  3. Demonstrate the use of the writing process to develop a descriptive essay.


This lesson maps to the following course competencies:


  • Organize writing to support a central idea through unity, coherence, and logical development appropriate to a specific writing context.
  • Use appropriate conventions in writing including consistent voice, tone, diction, grammar, and mechanics.
  • Generate, format, and edit writing using appropriate technologies.




Description in Action


Before going further, please review the sample essays listed below:

  • High Country News: My ghost town
  • Pantheon Books: "The Veil" from Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis
  • Lou's Place
  • Young Lions, Young Ladies


As you read the samples, think about the traits from each that appealed to you. What worked well in your opinion as a reader? What didn't work so well? Were there areas where more or less description would have had a greater impact? If visuals were employed, did they replace too much of the prose, or act as a supplement or enhancement? Consider these traits as you prepare to write your essay.

young woman sitting at desk using laptop

Steps to Success: The Writing Process for Descriptive Essays




The first step is to think of a topic. You can write about the topic you initially explored in Lesson 2. Alternately, you can select another topic that has meaning to you. If you need more help, the following concepts might spark a topic:


Prompt 1: VIP (Very Important Person/Place/Thing)

Think about a person, place, or thing that has profoundly affected you. Describe the element in great detail. Explain to your audience why this particular element has had such an effect upon you. Consider adding an image to your essay using the tips provided in this document to help you integrate it into your work.

Prompt 2: A Sense of History

Look at a photo of a person, place, or thing from your own past, a family album, or a random image from a site like foundphoto. Describe the history behind the image, by using the visual clues given and your own memories, if applicable. Consider adding an image to your essay using the tips provided in this document to help you integrate it into your work.

Prompt 3: Virtual Spaces

If you game, engage in social networks, or perhaps communicate through a blog, consider the role of these virtual spaces and describe their impact. For example, you might consider how you would map the connections that shape your favorite social network, describing interesting patterns between yourself and those you communicate with. You might consider your avatar in an online game and describe the choices you made in designing it and how it is similar (or different) from who you are in real life. Consider adding an image to your essay using the tips provided in this document to help you integrate it into your work.


If you need to, please review the following Prezi presentation on prewriting strategies: The Writing Process.

young woman writing at home



Since this is your first major essay in ENG101, you will want it to shine. You should draft a complete introduction, body, and conclusion for your essay. Remember that your essay must be composed of at least five, well-organized and detailed paragraphs.


The first paragraph is the introductory paragraph. This paragraph must hook the reader, provide enough information for the reader to understand the main idea of the essay, and present the thesis statement.


Next, the body paragraphs develop the thesis statement and present the evidence that makes the thesis true or believable. To achieve unity, each paragraph needs to focus upon one idea and develop that idea using three supporting details.


At the end of each body paragraph, add a transition to link that paragraph to the following one. Transitions link ideas and help readers understand the author's developing thought. Select this link to see a Transition Table. You may want to review paragraph writing before starting your draft.


Be sure that the order of the ideas in the body paragraphs follows the order of the ideas in the thesis statement.


Lastly, you need to finish the essay draft. Just as a burger needs two halves of a bun to keep all the goodness inside, so too essays need an introduction and a conclusion to hold together the body paragraphs. Consequently, the introduction and conclusion are very similar in terms of content. The conclusion includes a summary of the main supporting points, a restatement of the thesis statement, and a closing sentence that leaves a final impression on the reader. Some effective closing strategies include posing a "what next" question or issuing a call to action.


Once you've written a complete draft of your essay, you will want to evaluate it to make sure the important elements are working well together. This can be a challenging step because you can get very attached to the work you've done; however, all authors go through this process. Try these steps as part of your revision process.


  1. Read through the introductory and concluding paragraphs. Do these two paragraphs align well? young man sitting at desk using pencil and desktop computer
  2. Where is your thesis in those two paragraphs?
  3. Review your body paragraphs. Does each one start with a clear topic sentence?
  4. Are the paragraphs arranged chronologically or by order of importance? What connectors do you use to show their relationships to one another?
  5. Consider your details. Will they be clear and descriptive for your audience? If you use an image, are you double checking to make sure the image isn't doing too much of the descriptive work?
  6. Check your sentence structure. Do you use a variety of sentences?
  7. Evaluate your use of language. Do you use specific language? Active verbs? Metaphors and similes?


Editing and Proofreading


Once you're satisfied that your essay is ordered in the best way possible and that you have selected the most engaging details and language available, it is time to proofread and edit. When you are proofreading, review your work for errors in grammar and usage including spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Start by using the spelling and grammar checkers in your word processing program. Next, read your essay out loud. Sometimes you can hear problems that you didn't see when reading silently. Finally, ask someone else to read your work and give you their opinion.


[icon: Help] Although you are required to do your own writing, you do not have to work alone. Many resources are available to you including the Online Writing Lab, and Rio Salado offers free tutoring services. Smart (successful) students ask for help.




Once you have a polished draft, you are ready to publish . For your first essay assignment, you will submit your final draft to your instructor. Before you publish your work, you will want to make sure that it is properly formatted.


  1. Type your work in a legible font (Times New Roman 12 pt.).
  2. Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  3. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, your course and section number, and the date.
  4. Double space your entire paper.
  5. Center your title of the first line after date. Use standard font without bold, etc.
  6. Insert a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name and the page number.
  7. Indent the first line of each paragraph using the tab key.
  8. Do not hit "enter" at the end of each line. The computer will automatically wrap the text when it reaches the end of the line.




You should pause before you begin writing and practice your skills by conducting a virtual peer review of a student essay.

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 02/13/2014 12:00 am
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