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Descriptive writing is a unique and creative form of writing that allows you to paint vivid pictures with words, moving your readers to different times, places, and through various emotions. Let’s explore the art of descriptive writing, offering tips, techniques, and examples to help you improve your skills and create captivating content. Then, let’s use new AI technology to generate an endless amount of descriptive writing prompts to get those creative juices flowing.
What is Descriptive Writing?
As writers, we know that descriptive writing is a fundamental skill that can be used in a variety of contexts. Whether it’s describing a setting, a character, or a mood, descriptive writing can transport readers to new worlds and make them feel like they are a part of the story.
Descriptive writing is a genre of writing that uses sensory details to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader. It is a way of painting a picture with words and bringing the reader into the world that the writer has created. In descriptive writing, the writer uses adjectives, similes, metaphors, and other figurative language techniques to convey their message. It’s important to note that descriptive writing is not just about the words used but also about the structure of the piece, the pacing, and the use of space.
Tips for Writing Descriptively
- Use vivid and specific language. Instead of saying “the house was big,” try “the sprawling mansion towered over the trees.” The more specific and detailed you can be, the better.
- Use sensory details. Descriptive writing should engage the reader’s senses. Use sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell to help the reader feel like they are in the scene. As you’re writing a scene, imagine what things would feel like if you were there, smell like, or even taste if you’re experiencing food.
- Use figurative language. Metaphors, similes, and other figurative language devices can help you convey your message in a more interesting and memorable way.
- Use varied sentence structure. Mixing up your sentence structure can help keep your writing engaging and prevent it from becoming monotonous. Structure like dialog can help set the scene, or show how people are feeling and interacting.
- Show, don’t tell. Instead of telling the reader what is happening or what a character is feeling, show them through actions and dialogue.
What Makes a Good Writing Prompt?
In order to have a good writing prompt, you need two components;
- The writing prompt
- A description adding detail and desired content
Here are some examples of good writing prompts.
Prompt 1: A Memorable Meal
Think about a meal that you’ve had that was particularly memorable. It could be a fancy dinner at a restaurant, a family gathering, or a simple meal with friends. Describe the meal in as much detail as possible, including the smells, tastes, and textures.
Prompt 2: A Historical Place
Describe a historical place that you’ve visited. It could be a museum, a famous landmark, or a city with a rich history. Write about the significance of the place and how it made you feel.
Prompt 3: A Childhood Memory
Think back to a happy childhood memory. Describe the memory in detail, including the sights, sounds, and feelings associated with it.
Prompt 4: A Place You’ve Never Been
Imagine a place you’ve never been before. It could be a far-off land or a fictional world. Describe the place in as much detail as possible, using your imagination to bring it to life.
Prompt 5: A Special Object
Describe a special object that you own or have owned in the past. It could be something sentimental, valuable, or unique. Explain why it’s important to you and describe it in detail.
Importing and Iterating Inside ChatGPT
Now that you have some idea of what a good writing prompt consists of, you can take that into ChatGPT and start training it to create an unlimited amount of descriptive writing prompts for you.
Creating a ChatGPT account is beyond the scope of this article, but it’s really easy. Just go to OpenAI and create an account and login.
Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be logged into ChatGPT and want to start telling it what to do.
Click the “New Chat” button at the top left had side of your screen. This opens up a new chat window where you’ll begin interacting with ChatGPT.
Now you can ask it to do anything.
I started out by asking it to generate 5 descriptive writing prompts for me.
These are pretty good, but we can do better.
How to Energize ChatGPT with Prompt Engineering
The power in these large language models is really felt when you begin to train the model on what you really want. Much like creating a very specialized descriptive writing prompt, you need to be specific about what you want ChatGPT to give you.
Feed it details!
I first asked it this;
I want you to act like a writing teacher. You will come up with creative and instructive writing prompts that will help a writer learn descriptive writing. Create 5 prompts encouraging the writer use their five senses. Create a title and then a description helping the writer understand what to write.
This didn’t provide the write output that I wanted. As you can see from the output, it thought I wanted the descriptive writing prompts about our five senses.
Noting that, I refined the prompt, asking it something similar but more specific.
I want you to act like a writing teacher. You will come up with creative and instructive writing prompts that will help a writer learn descriptive writing. Create 5 different and unique prompts. The description should give detail to the title and more information so the writer knows exactly what to write about.
This yielded much better results.
Lastly, I asked it to put the output in a table and generate more.
You could play around with this and get more creative prompts for your writing.
This is the kind of thing that is amazing about ChatGPT. Ideation and creativity is what it’s good at.
Now you have an endless amount of creative writing prompts to help you hone the skill of writing.