The advice that Zinsser and DiYanni provide
Requirements and Guiding Points:
A creative title (centered) and your heading (upper left corner with your name, period number, and date due).
Approximately two pages in length—double-spaced—typed, in Times New Roman, 12-point font. (If you go over, you must have a compelling reason to go over!)
Include somewhere—it doesn’t have to be the opening paragraph, but it can be—the essential point in your writing and UNDERLINE IT.
Tell the truth. Do NOT make up a person. (Students who do this will inevitably sound phony and flat in their descriptions.)
Follow and employ as much as possible the advice that Zinsser and DiYanni provide (e.g., compelling openings, proper amplification, “just right” endings, avoiding cliché and redundancy, unity of tense and pronoun). Make a good faith effort at incorporating our in-class exercise work into your final paper.
Be highly descriptive. Rely on sensory details (sight, touch, sound, feel, taste) to achieve effective, purposeful descriptions. Remember that the goal of strong description is to draw your reader into the writer’s experience, so he/she can see your subject, feel your feelings, and connect with the writer and his/her subject. This simply is not possible with flat, clichéd writing. Give your words life so the narrative elements of your writing can breathe.
Provide many examples. Part of description really amounts to giving concrete examples of this person so that the reader is essentially convinced that the symbol you have chosen is an appropriate one.
Choose an appropriate symbol. This assignment works best if you find an object that can be compared to the person on many different levels. This can even help organize your writing.
Develop a Voice. Be deliberate about tone. Should it be light-hearted and humorous? Heavy and serious? Tone should not be an accident.
A clear sense of focus and purpose. Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph structure.
Keep the Ideal Reader in mind. Remember that someone (e.g., your teacher; maybe the person about whom you’re writing—a parent would love to get this as a gift!) is going to read this who may not be familiar with the person. So you need to establish key details up front (e.g., if your subject is a four year-old girl, we should know that up front).
Assignment:Think about a person in your family (or a friend you’ve known for a very long time) that is of singular nature and personality, one that you could best describe through the use of symbol and description. Write a descriptive essay that describes this person through the use of symbol; be sure to include essential points about the person that employ the symbol.
I’ve attached a very basic draft. I want this to about my mother and the symbol is candle. Please add more examples and details and develop this more.
This is my teacher’comment:Focus on developing your mom more using descriptive details. Include sensory language, figurative devices, lines of dialogue…all of these will help illustrate who she is. As importantly, develop the symbol. What will you use to represent her why? You should also develop the symbol and its connection to your mom. Make sure the transitions from one paragraph to another is clear.