in Writing Skills

Recently, I’ve been teaching a lot of descriptive and creative writing classes – particularly for GCSE and IGCSE students who are taking English Language exams.

I’ve been very impressed by everyone’s first attempts at creating descriptive scenes and scenarios, so below you’ll find two examples of high-quality descriptive work – each paragraph took the student around 10 minutes to complete, to give you an idea of timings.


Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in our complete Descriptive Writing courses, click the links below:

Basic Descriptive Writing

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STUDENT 1: THE BEACH

The beach was incredibly calm; everything was so still and unmoving. The only thing people could hear was the gentle breeze blowing, ruffling the sea, and blowing sand particles into the air to play with the visitors and the locals. The sunlight rested comfortably on the sea and the scenery around it. The bright blue sky consisted little clouds for miles. Right under the sky, were the tall mountains. They had tall, pointy peaks, with steep hills. Even from far away, it was easy to see that the mountains were covered with greenery. Light fog surrounded the peak of the mountains. Some mountains were completely foggy, and hid at the back of the taller mountains in front. At the foot of the mountains, there were residential houses. They formed a small town, with beautiful scenery just outside the window. The beach acted as the small town’s front yard. It formed a rough semi-circle around the shoreline. The beach had yellowish sands, but they had some elements of white in these small sand particles. Waves had washed the beach until the sand was completely without dirty spots. The blue water right in front of the beach was crystal clear. The color was slightly different from the sky, more watery somehow. Standing on the beach, it would be easy to see the great big rocks on the seafloor. The rocks formed gigantic dark blue shadows on the seafloor. Nearer to the surface of the sea, there were other stones too. They shined with bright green light as the reflection to the yellow sunlight shone on the blue sea. Some rocks even peeked out from under the sea. It was as if the rocks were bathing in a huge tub, half immersed in water, and the other half above the water surface. The rocks all had peculiar shapes, some with pointy edges, and some with round, smooth edges. There was a small fishing boat tied to one of the rocks. The boat was painted bright orange, and they stood out against the blue sea. Soft, gentle waves came every few seconds, and they rocked the small boat up and down, as if rocking a small child to sleep.

FEEDBACK:

  • More control over sentence length – use some deliberately long sentences
  • Greater variety of punctuation
  • More language techniques, and a greater range of them e.g. alliteration, repetition, onomatopoeia, metaphor, antithesis
  • Try and use some very precise descriptive vocabulary e.g. instead of saying ‘dark blue’ you might say ‘cobalt’ or ‘ultramarine’ – you can use a thesaurus as well to find more specific words

STUDENT 2: THE ATTIC

Dark… Pitch black…. I turned the lights on. It had been five years since I’ve been in the attic. Massive beams spanned across the roof caked with a fine layer of grey dust. Cobwebs stained the floor with a pale white glow muffling the sounds of the floorboards groaning and creaking under my footsteps. The grey paint that seemed to cover the floor parting with my footsteps showing the glossy wood underneath. All my toys sat unmoving. Forgotten with age bleached white as the paint faded due to neglect. My old wooden horse sat beneath a beam broken and helpless. It’s days galloping across make-believe fields over. The air was stagnant. Everything was still. It was like a picture had been taken. Everything was frozen in place. This was my favourite place; the quietest place. The one place that was my escape from the modern world of buzzing phones and deadlines. This was the place of my childhood.

FEEDBACK:

This is great! I really love the stark, bleak feeling of it – almost like a horror film, very connected to memory but in a sense that you’ve grown up now and the place is full of old things that feel neglected or abandoned. I like your control over sentence structure and punctuation too.

I’d recommend the following to improve:

  • A greater range of language techniques and features
  • Use a thesaurus to find some very specific and precise descriptive vocabulary e.g. you could use the word ‘forlorn’ to describe your horse, or instead of saying ‘pitch black’ which is quite a common description you could find something more precise and personal

Descriptive Writing Piece: Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong + Teacher Feedback


Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in our complete Descriptive Writing courses, click the links below:

Basic Descriptive Writing

Advanced Descriptive Writing

All courses

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