Using Descriptive Writing in Nonfiction



What is the first goal of any piece of writing? Engaging the reader. Descriptive writing does just that. It gives interest and color to any topic.

This is not Dragnet ™

descriptive writing

Nonfiction writers often fall into the trap of "just the facts". However, except for hard news journalism, this won't work.

You, the writer, must draw the reader into the story you are telling.

Or you need to make clear the steps that the reader must take when following directions in your how-to article.

You are their eyes

Descriptive writing helps the readers to see the situation you are writing about in their minds. It gives them something specific to relate to in the story.

Sometimes, it can provoke action or help the reader to better understand a situation. But even gossip magazines and tabloids use it. 

Have you ever noticed that even celebrity interviews will offer bits like:

She was wearing her usual jeans and t-shirt when we meet for coffee. The sun warmed us as we sipped our lattes and began to chat...

This is descriptive. You can visualize a woman in casual clothing drinking coffee in the sunshine.

Not every detail is given, but enough to allow readers a sense of place and the people involved in the story, much like fiction. This is why descriptive writing is a major part of nonfiction writing.

It gives a piece power, color and holds reader interest.

How can you add descriptive elements to your own writing?

What scenes can you evoke in your articles?


Return to the Writing Basics Main Page

Return Home






Make Sure You're 
Getting It
Write

We have a firm no spam policy. When you sign up for our newsletter, you will only receive Getting It Write.


Some of the links on this site include affiliate links, providing Nonfiction Writing Guide a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. You, of course, are not obligated to use these links to make a purchase, but if you do, it helps to support this site and help it grow.



What Our Readers Say

"An outstanding site that I have bookmarked for future reference. I found it interesting and informative; an excellent resource."

A.J.
writeandrewrite.blogspot.com 



Advertise with us!

This space can be yours.