Choose a subject appropriate for a
descriptive essay. Be sure you are choosing a subject that lends itself
to description. I recommend that you choose a thing, especially if you
are not confident that you can describe a person or place without too
much narration. Do NOT choose a concept or verb for this assignment. See
the difference between abstract and concrete details, and try to use
descriptive versus emotional information.
Take time to study your subject, making rough notes of descriptive elements, personal connections, and dominant impressions. During this initial observation, sketches, dual-entry lists, phrases, and passages of free writing can be particularly useful. Be sure to note objective sensory qualities (smell, touch, feeling, hearing, taste, sight) and subjective qualities (comparisons and images).
Write a coherent essay that describes your chosen subject. Bring your reader to the object of your observation and make them touch, feel, taste, hear, smell, and see the essence of the item that you have chosen to share.
Each one of us moves about every day with rare and beautiful moments wherein we notice that we exist. The sweet air and sharp corners of these moments often remain smothered by the daily clutter of frantic scurrying and hurried conversations. I invite (and assign) you to breathe for a moment the neglected atmosphere of your surroundings and to share, in words, the elements that fill and surround and infuse your life. Show your reader one tiny snapshot of the world that only you can know, and then call upon your reader to experience more than two dimensions of that world by recreating the very object of which that snapshot was captured. Because this is a formal assignment, take great care in the growth and revision of your work.
• Sensory details — do you paint a clear picture of your object for the reader?
• Organization and development – do you use transitions that work to improve the flow of your paper? Does your paper have a time or space order?
• Focus and perspective – please do not refer to the act of writing the paper or the assignment itself.
• Dominant impression – what idea do you want your reader to come away with after reading your observation?
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization/attention to mode and assignmentOrganization is the physical structure of your paper, including the way you group those original ideas. If you have organizational issues, I mark the areas in which you’re struggling and try to give you advice. Attention to mode means exactly that: if we are writing a narrative, as in essay 2, you use narrative tactics and tell a story. If we are writing in process mode, you show the steps of the process. And so on. Attention to the assignment is also pretty clear. It means that, if I’ve asked you to write in a certain mode about a certain topic, you do that. If I ask you to include no outside information or sourced material, you go with that instruction.||2.5 ptsFull Marks0.0 ptsNo Marks||2.5 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIdeas/ThinkingI expect you to do your prewriting and think fresh, original thoughts, thoughts that are unique to you and your experience. If you’ve plagiarized your work, you get a zero in this area.||2.5 ptsFull Marks0.0 ptsNo Marks||2.5 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeStyle and DictionDiction is simply word choice. If you have issues finding the best word to express your thoughts, again, I will point that out and make suggestions. Some students make bad diction choices when they use a thesaurus to try and make their writing sound more sophisticated. Please don’t use a thesaurus. Instead, increase your active vocabulary by READING MORE. Style is really about the sophistication of your expression. If you have awkward expression, or if you write the way you speak, I will mark you out on style.||2.5 ptsFull Marks0.0 ptsNo Marks||2.5 pts|
|This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMechanicsThese are nagging concerns such as commas, comma splices, run on sentences, spelling, and apostrophe issues. I do mark these issues in at least half of your essays each time. You can look into the online handbook for rules (and remedies).|