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The tips about descriptive writing


Why is descriptive writing so crucial in novel writing? Unlike movies, the novels seem to be not visual. 

Watching a movie, the description is already done with the help of a microphone and camera. The writers use words, however. So, you should utilize those words to assist the reader in viewing and hearing (taste, smell, touch). 

You might utilize them literary. Or also you might write in a more figurative language. For instance, …

  • it is difficult to describe the precise look of the character.
  • you might say the look was like “the sky before a storm,” so the reader will get to know fast what you meant.

You might think that it is impossible to compete with a camera with plain words. To some extent, you are right, by the way.

A picture is better than millions of words!

However, novels feature a big benefit if compared to the big screen experience: there is a power of individual imagination. 

Viewing an astonishing setting on a screen, the visuals might be great. Nevertheless, you are forced to accept the version of the director. 

With proper descriptive writing, you might paint a setting picture utilizing just a few well-selected details…and let the reader create the picture themselves.

By doing this, everyone might visualize his or her own setting version.

Then, the description might be powerful. However, it is simple to overdo it and finish with slushy writing. So, you would better beware of the heavy-handedness.

Figures of speech & descriptive writing

The most necessary figures of speech are metaphors and similies. To add more, they lie in the very epicenter of the great description.

When they are utilized properly, they might transform a story. If they are utilized too much or badly, they might kill your prose.

What are metaphors and similies?

Both similes and metaphors compare things between themselves. With simile, X is “as” or “like” Y… 

  • her look was as sharp as a knife.
  • his hair was white like snow.

In metaphor, X becomes Y, actually. For example:

  • his hair was made of cream.
  • the woman was a nightmare.

Metaphors and similes let one describe things that will be impossible otherwise to bring to life utilizing a few words. 

Take “The woman was a nightmare” …

Literary, there is no such thing – she is a human being. What the metaphor supposes, though, is that the woman had qualities of a nightmare – she was mean, frightening, and scary. 

With metaphor, you may say all of those things and more in just a few words. 

Frankly speaking, a simile is rather weak if compared to metaphor. “His hair was like snow” is not just as powerful as “His hair was snow.” However, both these figures of speech take place in proper descriptive writing. 

When to utilize metaphors and similes?

If the simile is not that powerful if compared to metaphor, why not to utilize only metaphor? The reason why it is so is that sometimes the metaphor might stay awkwardly in some place of the story.

Four rules for utilizing metaphors and similes

1. Less is exactly more.

Metaphors and similes are as the finishes touch in some room. If they are utilized well, they make the passage of the novel beautiful. When utilized too often, they might make it gaudy. So, what is the solution? Strike them out!

2. Avoiding the commonplace.

What is wrong with the following examples?

  • she drank like a fish.
  • he has the heart of a lion.

If they are utilized for the first time, they might be clever and fresh. However, now they are not!

Utilize interesting and original figures of speech so the readers will take notice. Resort to metaphors and similes that come naturally to mind so the readers will not skip the text.

3. Do not utilize two similes together.

In general, utilizing too many similes is not acceptable, but it is even worse to utilize them right one after another. It will not work, and the following examples will prove it:

  • he had hair like silk, the skin like cream, and the eyes like green marbles.
  • he has been as fast as a monkey & as fearless as a lion.

4. Do not mix metaphors.

It is actually similar to the mentioned above, though the issue is a subtler one. Have a look at the example: “Terry’s mind was a machine. She could waltz through cryptic crosswords in a few minutes.” The problem here is that the main message is rather confused. Firstly, Terry’s intelligence seems to be compared to an efficient and clever machine. However, her speed at crosswords was compared to the grace and speed of the dance. 

Other figures of speech

Metaphors and similes are the “big 2”. However, in your toolbox, there are other figures of speech to utilize. For example, you might use:


This is such a figure of speech where you might take the inanimate object and then animate it – meaning, you will provide them with human qualities. For example, check out these examples below: “Tom loved his Alfa Romeo. However, the car did not always love Tom. It selected the worst days ever to fall sick on him and then refused to move her muscle.”

By using personification, you will take a flat description, transforming it into something much more dynamic.


Hyperbole is a deliberate exaggeration, and often it is utilized for comic effect. For instance, the difficulty of crossing the road in LA might be compared to: “The only way to get across the road is to be born there.” That might make you smile or, at least, react in a certain way. No doubt, it is a concise way to paint a specific picture in the mind of the reader. 

Note that descriptive writing is not about thousands of pages of flowery language. It is about making the reader see what the author views in the shortest space. 


There are such words that might sound similar to the actions they describe. For example, Batman features a lot of them:

  1. Crash!
  2. Bang!
  3. Kerpow!

However, we recommend you limit using onomatopoeia often for better effect: 

 “Bob loved the sound of his son’s pony, clip-clopping down the road.”


Alliteration is the kind of repetition of similar sounds. It is commonly found in poetry. To enhance the piece of prose, it should be utilized in the proper places. For instance: “Betty Botter bought some butter.” The sound “b” is repeated constantly. 


This is such the figure of the speech that concentrates on some vowel sounds in some phrases. It repeats them over and over again to get a better effect. For instance, “Try to light the fire.” 


This is a figure of speech that utilizes a certain clause at the very exact beginning of every sentence. It also might point to make some statement. For example: “Good night and good luck.” The phrase “good” is repeated for a better emotional effect. 


It tries to utilize a word in the literal sense that might debunk the things that were said. You might use it to poke fun in the situation which everyone sees too seriously. For example: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!” 


It contradicts itself completely in a similar sentence. For example: “War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery.” Even though we are aware that these things are untrue, they are presenting an interesting paradox. It makes people take the written things seriously.


The pun is a play on words. It utilizes various senses of the words or various sounds that are making up the word in order to create something interesting and fun. For example: “I would like to go to Holland someday. Wooden shoe?” Sometimes puns are very subtle to pick them up, however. 

The bottom line…

It is good if you can differ between the figures of speech and tell me what do they really mean. However, it is much better to be able to create your own figures of speech. It goes without saying that for doing this, one has to have a gift for writing. Moreover, not all writers can utilize proper figures of speech for their descriptive writing.

However, you should not worry about it since you can always use our writing service to fix every and each of your writing issues. You will just have to follow a few easy steps to order a paper with descriptive writing on our website.

We are a team of expert writers whose mission and calling is writing. All of our writers are experienced enough in the field of writing so they can create a real masterpiece if you ask them kindly to compose a paper for you. 

Do not hesitate to contact us as soon as it is possible to help you generate a solid piece of descriptive writing. We are always right there for you 24/7. So buy a paper now!

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