Descriptive Essays: Grabbing Readers’ Attention

Writing an interesting and attention-grabbing descriptive essay is particularly challenging because, unlike a persuasive essay, the writer is not supposed to advocate a specific position. General, unbiased description and exploration of a topic can lead to very dull results if the writer isn’t careful.

But there are many ways to avoid reader boredom and craft a descriptive essay that is enlightening and exciting to read! Here are some suggestions for snaring your readers’ attention in your paper.

Find Surprising Information

No matter what your essay topic is, it hasn’t been fully explored before. There is always more interesting, obscuring information to be found about a topic, and odd or unexpected information can really capture readers’ attention. To find some obscure bits of data and anecdote, a great place to turn is older information sources. Research archives are often rife with old records that reveal a great deal about a topic that has been forgotten or neglected over time. Do not conduct all your research online! Instead, ask a research librarian or university archivist to help you find records related to your topic.

Write in an Interesting Style

Every essay writers is familiar with the limitations of standard written English. As an essay writer, you aren’t supposed to use first person pronouns or personal anecdotes, are expected to avoid jargon and slang, and should generally write in a neutral, objective tone. Unfortunately, all these requirements promote dull, boring work. This can be overcome by using active voice and a variety of interesting adverbs, adjectives, and sentence constructions. Try to cultivate your own unique writing style-- one that resembles your own speaking voice, and use it to convey your personality throughout the paper. An essay that is written in such a personal, punchy manner is bound to be far more readable.

Use Humor

Just because a descriptive essay has to be balanced, well-researched, and objective, doesn’t mean it has to be humorless. There are many ways to pepper your paper with humor and general interest. Again, turn to your research to find odd and funny pieces of information, and share them in your paper. Odd (but still well-written) turns of phrase can amuse the reader and make the essay a pleasure to follow. Use writerly tricks like alliteration, assonance, parallelism, and irony to give the paper some personality and make it engaging. Try to avoid inappropriate or adult humor, but don’t shy away from adult themes in your written work if they are relevant to the topic.