How to Write a Descriptive Essay about a Person
There is something about the personal essays - sometimes they are referred to as “character sketches.” But it is difficult to learn how to write a descriptive essay about a person, because we really do not read them often. We get “pictures” in our heads about characters in a piece of fiction over many pages of writing; and most non-fiction does not entail character sketches. So, when you are assigned this type of essay, you may be at a loss as to how to construct it or even what to say. We have explored a lot of information about this kind of paper and have made a whole article about it in order to help you out. Here are some pretty basic tips and strategies to use as you develop your piece.
Select a Person You Know Well
You cannot write a character sketch about anyone you do not know intimately. This person can be a member of your family, a close friend, or even a main character in a novel or movie if you loved it so much you read or saw it many times.
You can select a totally fictitious person, of course, but it is probably wise to make the person at least a combination of people you know, so that your description “sounds” authentic to a reader. Most fiction writers admit that their major characters are a bit autobiographical or combinations of people they know, because they are just more believable. Also it will help you to get more ideas about what to write and you won’t get lost. If you want you may even have some sort of an interview with the person you are writing about in order to know more about them. Thus you will present them in a way more realistic and truthful way.
Show, Don’t Tell
A descriptive essay about a person is a failure, if all you do is describe that individual physically and then tell the reader that s/he has three or four personality traits. Physical descriptions should be revealed indirectly, and those three or four personality traits must be shown be specific words, actions, and behaviors.
Go back and read your favorite short story or novel. How does the author reveal everything about that main character? Chances are s/he does not spend paragraphs of prose describing what that character looks like. Bits and pieces are revealed along the way, and often the details are left up to the reader to fil in. How do you know what the character’s personality is like? You get that over time, as that character speaks and takes action throughout the work.
Consider these two methods of providing a physical description:
Carol has long curly brown hair, brown eyes, and stands about 5’ 4” tall. She is slender, and her long legs give a graceful appearance as she walks. (Very boring.)
Carol has a completely contagious laugh. When she laughs her entire body is involved. Those long brown curls fly about her face and shoulders, and all 5’ 4” of her is somehow involved. And when she is angry, watch out. Those piercing brown eyes are throwing daggers of light, and those long legs are poised in a true fighting stance, like she is ready to go 16 rounds.
Same person – two different writers. See the difference? When you don’t have an entire novel to gradually provide a physical description, you have to get creative with the way in which you do it. There are a lot of tips and pieces of advice from professional writers on the web that can help you to improve your skills in writing character’s description. Also a lot of writers like Chuck Palahniuk, Ray Bradbury, Stephen King and others have written whole books about the art of writing so consider reading them too.
Describing Personality Traits
Part of learning how to write a descriptive essay about a person mastering this art of showing not telling as you reveal his/her personality traits. Words and behaviors must be used. Let’s take a look at Carol again. Suppose you have decided that she really has extremes in emotions when she is happy or sad – there doesn’t seem to be much “in between” with her. So, that is one of the traits that you want to address in your description. You can take what was written above and expand it a bit, still keeping the physical descriptors but now giving specific examples of these extremes. You should reveal them in real-life situations. Incorporate them in a realistic way. Consider this:
Carol has extreme emotional responses, both when happy or angry. When she found out she was accepted to her first choice for college, she threw her head back, long brown curls flying, raised those slender arms toward the sky and immediately broke into dance moves that I had never seen before, as she sang “Don’t Stop Believin’” and threw those long legs all over the room. And one day, when someone stole a parking space she had been waiting for, I watched her follow that man all the way into the store, shaking her finger and calling him a rude guy and several other terms I won’t mention here.
You have now “proved” to the reader that Carol has extreme emotional responses and done so in an engaging way. It’s important to give such descriptions if you want to keep your writing interesting and not to be boring. It also helps you to carve your own style and to improve writing skills at all.
When You Write Your Essay
As you search for descriptive essay ideas that will make your character “live” on your paper, you can look online for examples of character sketch or personal description essays – you will find plenty to review that will help you see how to formulate your own “picture” of your character. It’s very useful to read other essays if you want to learn how to write good papers. It may also give you plenty of new ideas or to inspire you to write a descriptive essay.
Generally, in a character sketch essay, you should identify three personality traits that you will present, each in a different paragraph. It’s not advised to describe whole personality as it will become a novel. Instead consider using this scheme. Your introduction will obviously introduce your person, and the traits that you will be covering. Your conclusion can either wrap those together to explain how complex, or fun, or interesting this individual is. A conclusion for Carol might be something like this:
Living with my sister Carol has been an adventure, to be sure. And I hope that adventure continues for years to come, even after we are grown and have our own separate lives.
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Need to write a descriptive essay about my mother? You have come to the right place
A descriptive essay is a special type of essay that describes a person, place, emotion, object, place or situation. In this essay example, the focus shall be on my mother i.e. the kind of person she is, her attributes, personality and what makes her world go round.
My mother is perhaps my number one favorite person in the entire universe. There are plenty of reasons for this including her unconditional love for me and my siblings, her constant sacrifices in a bid to ensure our happiness, her inner strength that makes the world a better place to live, her immense wisdom buried deep within her soul just to mention a few. She is simply a precious gift to me.
Mother has a kind and caring heart, very rare in the world we live in. She gave birth to four children but went ahead to shelter three other needy children who ended up being our siblings. She shared her heart, warmth and love amongst all of us without favoritism whatsoever. How she managed to do this is still a mystery to my siblings and I.
Cooking great food is among the list of things mum loves to do. Growing up, I was always excited about meal times because they were real treats. I owe my cooking prowess to my mother who was also relentless in teaching us to be great cooks. Her recipes were often original and well thought of. Up to date, I look for some of her delicacies in restaurants and other dining joints but I have been unsuccessful in locating some. Perhaps I should encourage her to author her own recipe book.
When it comes to physical appearance, my mother has striking features able to turn heads even in her advanced age. Her long brunette hair always left her friends red with envy during her youthful days. She has a slim physique not because she was born that way but because she chooses to be healthy. She is a great source of inspiration on this issue as she still exercises by taking on household chores all day long while watching what she and father put on their plates.
Whenever any of us fell ill at home, mother would move heavens and earth to ensure we received good treatment and care during the entire period. Her compassion for the sick is commendable; she would come up with home remedies for the sickness and spend time making sure we were comfortable all through.
Lastly, my mother loves lending a hand to the less fortunate whenever there is an opportunity to do so. She is a member and contributor in more than five charity bodies that help many people ranging from the sick, the poor, the gender biased communities, those oppressed by culture among others. She is often a volunteer at local charity events and you can tell she enjoys lending a hand always.
A few tips on writing a descriptive essay about my mother
The first thing to remember when writing a descriptive essay about my mother is to highlight special attributes that makes mother special and unique. One could start from the point of why mother holds a special place in his or her heart. Focus on the following key points;
- What mother means to you
- Her unique characteristics that make her stand out from a crowd
- What makes mother inspire special feelings and thoughts in your mind
- What mother enjoys doing to add value to her family and the world at large
- How mother is skilled in taking care of others
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