Writing a Personal Descriptive Essay

Typographic Portrait

What does “description” mean? Very often you may find the definition that it is an “illustrating something by using words”. The same thing keeps with the essay where you are required to describe something. A student writes such essay to make a detailed observation and uncover the meaning of various items. When you describe a person in your essay, you are painting a portrait in words. So, this article will be mostly dedicated to the problems you can be faced with while writing a personal descriptive essay as well as some useful tips which help you to create the more extensive picture in the minds of the readers.

Sources of Inspiration

There is a great difference between a novel and a personal descriptive essay and, unfortunately, you don’t have novel’s volume whether to steadily discover your hero’s identity that is why you must be creative in a way you write your essay. Quite often, you can face some problems with inspiration, then, take a little break and go back to your favourite prosaic literary works. What tools does the author use to describe the major character? Do not copy his or her manner to describe people, but try to reveal exciting finds and inspirational examples. Also by searching on the web, you will find many useful bits of advice and articles written by famous writers which will surely help you to improve the skills in revealing the hero’s individuality. Many professional authors like Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, J.K. Rowling and many others share their own experience and individual tips for young writers.

Find Someone You Want to Tell About

Before you start to write, focus on the topic and choose the individual you are going to tell a story about. Remember, that it is quite hard to describe someone who you know just cursory. So, let it be a person who you know very well. It can be your best mate, brother, sister or another relative as well as you can choose the most interesting hero from your favourite book, for example, if there is a feeling like you know this character personally. Surely, you may decide to write about someone fictional, then, try to create him by using the unification of familiar people. In such way, your sketch will “sound” more believable.

Choose the Right Structure

First of all, it is very important to think on how the things will be laid out for the readers. Find the most appropriate structure which helps the topic to make sense. By describing a person, try, for example, to start from some general things and then concentrate exclusively on the characteristic details. Write the plan of your future essay and don’t forget about the intro and conclusion. Remember that good introduction creates the tone for the whole essay that is why it must convey the key points you are going to reveal. And if we are talking about the conclusion, you should bring everything together and summarize how engaging, funny or inspiring the individual is.

Do Not Tell, but Show

It will be a great mistake if you suddenly decide to focus only on the physical appearance of the person you need to describe as well as the decision to add just the list of few personal traits after the list of physical qualities. You should reveal the person identity gradually and indirectly, for example, through the quotes, actions or examples of behavior. By reading a book, we get the whole “picture” of the character in our head from a lot of different details. It’s like a puzzle and your task is to create such “puzzle” in your essay. If you are at a loss as to where to get interesting details you can have an imagined or real interview with someone you are going to write about.  It will show this person in a more credible way.

Do Not Try to Tell Everything

The identity of each person is diverse and whether you are going to reveal it in a full measure you need to write at least a novel. But when you write a personal descriptive essay you are quite limited by its structure and volume that is why it is important to make an effort to gather your knowledge, skills and experience and put very concentrated and comprehensive data in such relatively short text. Usually, the most appropriate way is to choose three or four bright personal traits that you want to describe and “picture” just a sketching of someone’s individuality. Do not try to show all personal qualities immediately, it would be better to divide them a little and reveal one by one in different paragraphs. Here you can also use quite popular among writers tip when by describing an individual you leave some space for readers’ imagination and give them an opportunity to fill in some details.

Real-Life Proofs


Engage your readers and give them some “proofs” of the personal trait you are telling about. Show the revealing of that trait through real world situations. Let’s imagine, you want to make the individual you are telling a story about extremely emotional and show that he or she can’t hold back emotions when something good happens to them. To improve the description in such case you need to combine some features of the appearance and expression of the personal trait within the example of a real life situation. Lifelike and filled with examples depiction makes the essay fascinating and helps you to avoid expressionless listings.

Read Other Descriptive Essays

It is not an advice to plagiarize someone else’s essay, because your text will be appreciated only if it is individual. But looking on the web for some patterns of personal descriptive essays will be definitely useful as you will find out different ways of formulating truthful character on the paper. By reading an example of such essay, try to analyze it and find out its advantages and disadvantages, because if you want to write a good paper, you at least need to know how good papers look like.

To sum up, writing a personal descriptive essay is a perfect opportunity to see your loved ones and friends in a new way as well as improve your writing style. By following our simple guidelines on writing a personal descriptive essay effectively, you will surely make your essays more believable, fascinating and creative. So, don’t be afraid to experiment. Good luck!

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