Welcome to week 3 of this semester and your second writing assignment..
I hope you all enjoyed writing and reading the last assignment. If you did not get your text corrected by someone please let me know. No texts should go uncorrected!
This week we will tturn our attention to another useful device used in both fiction and non-fiction, the descriptive technique. As we learned, narrative paragraphs describe a sequence of events or tell a story. The logical arrangement of ideas and sentences in a narrative paragraph is chronological - according to time order. But what if you were asked to describe how something looks - a place, a thing, or a person? How should you arrange your ideas and sentences in the paragraph? Obviously, time order would not be logical. When you are describing the way something looks - its physical appearance - it is not time but space that is important. Therefore, you should arrange your sentences and details according to where the objects being described are located. This type of organization is called spatial organization. In a descriptive paragraph, you must make the location of the objects being described very clear.
As literary students you may be asked to relate the role a character plays in a novel or as design students you may be asked to relate the role a person plays in a successful design, as a designer for instance. But how would you describe a person and their role? Depending on the subject or assignment, you could describe the person's physical appearance, behaviour, inner thoughts or the influence the person had on you or others.
A person's appearance can be described in many ways. It is possible to tell about the person's style of clothing, manner of walking, colour and style of hair, facial appearance, body shape, and expression or even the person's way of talking. Just what a writer selects to describe depends on the writer's chosen topic and purpose. No matter what the topic, however, the writer is a painter with words, so the description must be vivid but also coherent - logically arranged - so that the reader can clearly envision who is being described. The following paragraph describes a person's face with a spatial organizationt. Look at the following description and see if you can get a good image of what Mary looks like:
|Mary is as beautiful as a Hollywood star. Her thick, wavy, long black hair gracefully falls down to her shoulders and encircles her diamond-shaped face. A golden suntan usually brings out her smooth, clear complexion and high cheek bones. Her slightly arched chestnut brown eyebrows highlight her emotions by moving up and down as she reacts to her world around her. Her large deep blue eyes, remind me of a lake on a stormy day. Her curved nose gives her a little girl look that makes me want to smile when she talks. And her mouth is a small mouth outlined by puffy lips that she often accentuates with glossy pink lipstick. When she smiles, which is often, her well formed and even, white teeth brighten up her whole face. I guess you can tell that I am head over heals in love with Mary.|
In this paragraph the reader can not only tell what Mary looks like but also what the author's attitude about her outer appearance is. Last week I mentioned topic sentences: a topic sentence summarizes the entire idea of the paragraph a writer is relating in one short sentence. In narratives a topic sentence often comes at the very end in order to build up suspense for the reader. Generally speaking, however, in most academic writing, the topic sentence is the first sentence in the paragraph and summarizes the ideas that will follow. A good/clear topic sentence not only states the topic (in this case Mary) but also supplies a strong controlling idea which states "how the writer feels about the topic".
More often though than simply describing a person's out appearance because one loves the person, there is a deeper reason. The following paragraph by a former OWC student describes a person but the descriptions are only a support for an underlying political standpoint the author wants to make.
Jane Goodall had long been an idol of mine before I had the opportunity to meet her personally. I have been a member of one of her international Jane-Goodall-Institutes (JGI) for a couple of years now. I have read some of her books and like her idea of teaching children all over the world about environmental conservation and wild animal care so much that I hope to do it personally one day, too. As the greatest and most popular scientist of chimpanzees in the world and today also an active member of the UN Security Council and close friend of Kofi Anan, she is very busy and always travelling, so the chance to see her is quite rare.
There was a very lively as well as wise expression in her eyes, but most impressible was the deep love and peace they transmitted to everybody when she spoke to the audience. She had lived over 30 years next to chimpanzees in the rainforest, studying and learning from them as she said. You could see the marks of that life, as her whole body seemed to talk with peace and wisdom and was as fit as that of a young woman in her mid-twenties. And even though she has been back to the civilized world for many years now, where she has taught at many universities and fought battles against politicians, businesses and other strong opponents to get protection for chimpanzees and other apes, she must have done this with those very calm gestures that are more convincing than any powerful and eloquent talk. I guess that has made her so successful, because when you watch her you cannot help but agree with her. And her most important message to us was that the love of creatures can be more powerful than all the weapons in the world, if we will just let it.
Now it is your turn to think of a person you admire and to describe the influence he/she had on you or the world. Try to use very descriptive adjectives and possibly look up some in either a dictionary or translator to add them to your active vocabulary. Students from KISD should describe a famous designer. Try to write at least four-hundred words this time. If you want to describe your person from two perspectives, such as outer and inner, then you should be sure and separate your text into different paragraphs with different topic sentences.
Make sure though that your paragraphs actually look like paragraphs with one topic sentence. Academic writing is much more structured than e-mails or letters, so that everything that belongs together stays together. In other words, your paragraph should look like a box when you are finished and not like lots of little paragraphs.
P.S. You don't have to be as sappy as the author of "Mary" was but you can be, of course!
This entry should be the ultimate guide to describing a beautiful woman. Up to now, I’ve concentrated on nature. Students and teachers or parents need the ability to add a character to stories, however.
The full 2 chapters from the book describing a beautiful woman can now be viewed free in PDF by clicking here:
DESCRIBING A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN
‘Writing with Stardust’, now on Amazon, has an incredible amount of detail in 5 different levels. It is the ultimate descriptive guide for a student or teacher and there is also a spelling workbook.
Just click on any of the book images at the bottom of the post to get into the Amazon website.
LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4 LEVEL 5 OTHERS
|mercury-red hair||magma-red hair||ruby-red hair||solferino-red hair||vermeil-red hair|
|molten-red hair||lava-red hair||rouge-red hair||Titian-red hair||vermilion-red hair|
1. Her hair was mercury-red and it tumbled over her shoulders.
2. Her hair was magma-red and it crashed over her shoulders.
|midnight-black hair||kohl-black hair||coral-black hair||sable-black hair||vulcanite-black hair|
|ebony-black hair||moon shadow-black hair||cobalt-black hair||maw-black hair||obsidian-black hair|
1. Her hair was midnight-black and it flowed over her shoulders.
2. Her hair was kohl-black and it plunged over her shoulders.
|honey sweet lips||strawberry sweet lips||sugar sweet lips||cherry sweet lips||nectar sweet lips|
|syrup sweet lips||saccharine sweet lips||sugar candy sweet lips||melon sweet lips||sherbet sweet lips|
1. She had honey sweet lips. They were lilac soft.
2. She had saccharine sweet lips. They were blossom soft.
|a cheerful personality||a bubbly personality||an elegant personality||a demure personality||a winning personality|
|a joyous personality||a bouncy personality||a ladylike personality||a genteel personality||an infectious personality|
1. She had a cheerful character.
2. She had a bubbly outlook.
1. She wore gothic clothes in a rebellious way.
2. She wore kidult clothes in an offbeat way.
LEVEL 1: BASIC SENTENCES
1. She had a shapely figure. FIGURE
2. It was imp-thin. BODY
3. She was wasp-waisted. WAIST
4. She had glossy skin. COMPLEXION
5. She had slender eyebrows. EYEBROWS
6. Her eyelashes were velvety. EYELASHES
7. She had sea-nymph ears. EARS
8. She had a dainty nose. NOSE
9. She had shiny, halo-white teeth. TEETH
10. Her fingernails were varnished. FINGERNAILS
11. Her hair was molten-red. RED HAIR
12. Her hair was ebony-black. BLACK HAIR
13. Her hair was sunrise-gold. GOLD HAIR
14. She had coils of leaf-brown hair. BROWN HAIR
15. She had rapture-blue eyes. BLUE EYES
16. She had pouting lips. SHAPE OF LIPS
17. She had syrup-sweet lips. SWEET LIPS
18. She had a joyous personality. PERSONALITY
19. She had a soothing voice. SWEET VOICE
20. She wore grungy clothes. CLOTHES
LEVEL 2: A BASIC PARAGRAPH
She had a sculpted figure which was twine-thin. Her waist was tapered and she had a burnished complexion. A pair of arched eyebrows looked down on sweeping eyelashes. Her delicate ears framed a button nose. A set of dazzling, angel-white teeth gleamed as she blew gently on her carmine-red fingernails. It was a pleasure to see her flowing, moon shadow-black hair. Her enticing, constellation-blue eyes gazed at me over her puffy, heart shaped lips. Her lips tasted strawberry sweet when I kissed her. She had a bouncy personality and a sugary voice, which I adored. Not content to be just another drone, she wore vibrant clothes.
LEVEL 3: CREATIVE PARAGRAPHS
I first met her on a holiday to an exotic country. The moons delicate light had just turned the world a-flame with silver when I saw her. She had a comely figure which was stem-thin. Her curvilinear waist didn’t surprise me as much as the saffron tint to her complexion. She must be a native, I thought to myself. Her crescent shaped eyebrows inclined slightly as she saw me staring at her. I yelped at being caught. Her languid eyelashes of velvet-black blinked once slowly, as if to invite me over.
When I came closer, I noticed her scrolled ears and her elegant nose. She nuzzled me with her nose and I couldn’t believe it. It was the custom for her people, I reckoned. It was love at first light. Her luminous, heavenly-white teeth flashed as she pawed at me with her film star nails. Her hair was a glorious tumble of star beam-gold and her virility-brown eyes set my heart a-thump. Her oxbow lips positively drooled with goodness. Oh! Those sugar candy-sweet lips, her elegant personality, all mesmerized me. She may not have had a saccharine voice or retro clothes, but what do you expect when two Labrador pups meet in a dog pound?
LEVEL 4: ADVANCED PARAGRAPHS
Her Amazonian figure sat well on her wafer-thin body. She had a decanter shaped waist and her complexion had an impeccable, ochrous hue. Her pencil-thin eyebrows eased down gently to her black, beetle’s-leg eyelashes. A sculptor could not have fashioned her seraph’s ears and pixie’s nose any better.
When she broke into a smile, her beguiling, oyster-white teeth lit up the room. It could jolt you like an electric current when that megawatt smile gave you her full attention. Filed to perfection, her Venus-red fingernails ran through her nougat-brown hair. Spools of it plunged around her photogenic face and hid a swan’s neck, elegant and smooth. I loved her nebulous, Eden-green eyes which were a-sparkle with the ‘joie de vivre’. They were like two beryl-green jewels melted onto snow.
Her calamine-pink lips tasted like rose petals. It surprised me that they were plump and botox-boosted as she had a demure, timorous personality. She whispered to me in a dulcet voice as sweet as any songbird. Her voguish clothes still kept captive an aroma redolent of cinnamon and meadow-fresh mint. It lingered in the room long after she had gone.
Just click any of these book images to see my Amazon books:
For much more of the above in 5 different levels, please check out my book Writing with Stardust.