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Descriptive Writing Prompts

Do you love to write? Do you often find yourself daydreaming about far-off places and interesting characters? If so, you may have what it takes to be a successful author! This blog post will provide you with a series of descriptive writing prompts to help unleash your inner author. These prompts will help you to develop your skills in creating rich and vivid scenes for your readers. So get ready to let your imagination run wild!

14 Descriptive Writing Prompts

  1. Imagine yourself exploring a dense, foggy forest on a moonless night. What would it feel like to be surrounded by all those shadowy trees, and what sounds would you hear in the darkness?
  2. Picture yourself standing high atop a majestic mountain, taking in the breathtaking views below you. What sights and smells do you notice as you gaze out over the rolling hills and sparkling lakes?
  3. Imagine what it would be like to see magical creatures such as fairies or unicorns in the flesh. What colors and shapes would these mystical creatures have, and how would they move through the world?
  4. Envision yourself walking along the sandy beach at sunset, watching as the sky turns from bright orange to deep purple with streaks of gold. What sensations do you feel as the waves lap at your feet, and could you smell salty ocean air on the breeze?
  5. Close your eyes and reflect on your childhood days when everything was new and wondrous. How did it feel to run around carefree without any worries or responsibilities weighing on your mind?
  6. What might it feel like to soar through the air like an eagle or go swimming with dolphins in the vast ocean? Try to conjure up some vivid images and sensory details that will transport your readers into this otherworldly realm.
  7. Imagine being transported into another time – perhaps ancient Rome or medieval England – where you have been given special powers or abilities that allow you to change history or shape events in powerful ways. How would you use these newfound gifts, and how might your story develop?
  8. What might it be like to be the world’s strongest man, the fastest runner, or the best basketball player? How would your challenges and obstacles be different if you were placed in those situations?
  9. Can you picture yourself becoming a world-renowned chef, a famous actor, or a respected scientist? What fascinating experiences might you have in those roles, and how would others view you?
  10. How would you react if you were to discover that you had just won the lottery? Would it be the answer to all your dreams or a massive headache you could finally escape?
  11. What would it be like to live in a futuristic society where cars are replaced by flying cars and computers are small enough to fit in your pocket? Would you embrace the new tech or feel like a fish out of water?
  12. What might it be like to become a monarch in a small kingdom, with all the responsibility of being the land’s ruler? Would you take the role seriously, or would you try to live a less serious life and let others handle the day-to-day matters?
  13. Picture yourself joining a street gang, becoming a member of a professional sports team, or even becoming a brilliant surgeon in a hospital. What would this role entail, and how would it change you as a person?
  14. Can you picture yourself standing on stage in front of a huge crowd, performing before thousands of adoring fans? How would you react under those circumstances, and what would you say if you had to speak in front of all those people?

One Small Detail Can Make a Big Impact

In writing, sometimes it’s the small details that can make the biggest impact. Consider this opening sentence from novels such as Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

What makes these sentences so memorable and effective? It’s the specificity of the details. By zeroing in on one small detail—in this case, the fact that it is universally acknowledged that single men are in want of wives—Austen and Tolstoy can give us a glimpse into the larger themes of their novels. In “Pride and Prejudice,” this detail sets up the conflict between marriageable young women and the (seemingly) scarce supply of eligible bachelors. In “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy uses detail to explore how families can be both happy and unhappy.

The takeaway? Don’t be afraid to focus on the small details when you’re looking to add impact to your writing. One well-chosen detail can say more than a whole paragraph of flowery prose.

Choosing the Right Details

Of course, not all details are created equal. When selecting a detail to highlight, ask: does this detail reveal something about the characters or the plot? Is this detail enough to be interesting but not so specific that it confuses people? And most importantly, is this detail memorable?

If you can answer yes to all three of those questions, then you’ve found a winner. Here are a few more examples of sentences with small details that pack a big punch:

Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Mr. Giovanelli might have passed for forty years old.

Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

The clock struck thirteen.

George Orwell, 1984

In each case, these opening lines use specific details to set up the novel’s major themes—wild adventures, mistaken identity, and totalitarianism—and they do so in an unforgettable way. So next time you’re stuck on how to start your latest writing project, remember: sometimes all you need is one small detail.

Ideas for Using Descriptive Detail in Your Writing

The possibilities for using descriptive detail are endless. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Use descriptive detail to set the scene for your story. What does your protagonist see when she enters the room? What smells does she notice? What sounds does she hear? Answering these questions will help you bring your readers into your story from page one.
  2. Use descriptive detail to introduce your characters. What does your character look like? How does he dress? What kind of car does he drive? What kind of job does he have? Again, by answering these questions, you’ll be able to help readers visualize your characters and understand their motivations from the start.
  3. Use descriptive detail to heighten tension during key moments in your story. What happens before your character kisses his love interest for the first time? How does he feel while waiting for her answer when he pops the big question? By describing your character’s emotions in vivid detail, you’ll help readers feel them too.

The Magic of Descriptive Writing

There’s something special about descriptive writing. It can transport you to another time and place, make you feel different emotions, and even change how you see the world around you. In short, good descriptive writing has the power to transform both the writer and the reader. But what makes good descriptive writing? Let’s take a closer look.

The Power of Descriptive Words

Strong, evocative words are the most important elements of good descriptive writing. These words create vivid mental images and make the reader feel like they are in the moment with you. For example, compare the following two sentences:

The sun was setting. OR The sun slowly dips below the horizon, painting the sky in a spectrum of oranges, pinks, and purples.

Which sentence gives you a better sense of being there? Chances are, it’s the second sentence. That’s because it uses strong, specific words to create a clear image in your mind. Another tip for using words effectively is to avoid using clichés where possible. Clichés are old and overused phrases that have lost their impact (e.g., “She was as mad as a hornet,” or “He was a real smooth talker.”). Instead of relying on clichés, try to be original in your descriptions. Your readers will thank you for it!

Show Don’t Tell

In addition to using strong words, good descriptive writing also uses strong show don’t tell techniques. This means instead of simply telling the reader what is happening; you show them by describing the scene in detail. For example:

Telling: He was angry.

Showing: His face was red, and he clenched his fists so tightly that his knuckles turned white.

Telling: She was sad.

Showing: Her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy from all her crying earlier in the day. Tears threatened to spill over again as she thought about her recent loss.

As you can see, showing allows the reader to experience what is happening instead of just being told about it. It’s a powerful technique that can bring your descriptions to life!

Spunky, Sassy, and Downright Delightful: 3 Ways to Make Your Writing More Descriptive

In a world with so many voices clamoring for attention, it’s important to find ways to make your writing stand out. One way to do that is by making your writing more descriptive. Describing your characters, settings, and events in vivid detail will captivate your readers’ imaginations and make your writing more memorable. Here are three tips to get you started.

  1. Use adjectives liberally. Adjectives are words that describe, modify, or quantify nouns or pronouns. They can be used to describe the physical appearance of a character, the emotional state of a character, the atmosphere of a setting, etc. The more adjectives you use, the more descriptive your writing will be. Be careful not to overdo it; too many adjectives can make your writing sound clunky and contrived.
  2. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your word choice. When brainstorming adjectives to describe something, it can be tempting to just go with the first word that pops into your head. But if you take a little time to think outside the box, you might come up with a word that is even more evocative than the one you originally thought of. For example, instead of describing a character’s eyes as “blue,” you could describe them as “aquamarine” or “azure.” By expanding your vocabulary this way, you’ll be able to paint a more nuanced picture for your readers.
  3. Use figurative language sparingly but effectively. Figurative language uses figures of speech like metaphors and similes to produce an effect or create an image in the reader’s mind. When used well, figurative language can add another layer of richness and beauty to your writing. But beware—figurative language can make your writing seem forced and unnatural if overused. As with adjectives, less is often more when using figurative language in your writing.


Making your writing more descriptive doesn’t have to be difficult; often, small tweaks can have a big impact. So next time you write, try out some of these tips and see how they help you breathe new life into your work!