Description is used to convey an impression of a person or place and to create an atmosphere. The best writers select only those descriptive details which help create these effects.

Descriptive writing

Most forms of writing involve description. For example, in a short story characters and places need to feel real for the reader. Description of events, feelings and atmosphere helps to achieve this.

There are a number of ideas and skills you can use to improve the quality of description in your writing.

Word choice

Two identical plates of food, one dull and grey that is described as 'nice', and the other colourful and interesting that is described as 'tasty' and 'delicious'

Using interesting words can help to stop writing becoming dull and flat.

The first words that occur are not always the most interesting that could be used, such as "get", "nice" and "really". It can help to think about what specific verbs and adjectives apply to the situation. For example, We had a really nice dinner, could become, We enjoyed a tasty meal. or the children had a great time at the circus with the children shared a thrilling night at the circus.

Reading the same words over and over again is boring. Variety makes writing interesting. But remember adjectives are only one way of improving descriptions - careful choice of verbs can help too.