Improving your writing

There are some effective ways to improve your descriptive sentences by adding extra detail. The first is by adding adjectives.

Look at the image below and write down some adjectives that you could use.

Fairground scene at night.

Some of the adjectives that might come to mind are:

  • bright
  • dark
  • huge
  • big
  • busy

Example 1

Now consider this sentence:

I went to the fair.

Add at least one adjective, maybe two and the sentence becomes much more descriptive:

I went to the bright and busy fair.

Now, change the verb for a word that is more precise in its meaning, that is more descriptive than 'went':

I skipped to the bright and busy fair.

Now, can you link another sentence with 'and' to make the sentence into a compound?

I skipped to to the bright and busy fair and gazed at the amazing rides.

Example 2

Can you improve this sentence by adding detail to the verb and by using similes?

Look at the image again. See if you can come up with some ways to add detail to verbs - the words that tell what is happening at the fair.

The fair went on through the night.

The sentence ‘The fair went on through the night.’ is overlaid over a dull and lifeless fairground scene.

Now add at least one adjective:

The fair went on through the dark and starry night.

Changing the verb by making a more precise vocabulary choice will give the reader an even better feel for the fair.

The fair screamed through the dark and starry night.

Can you add extra detail to make it a compound or even a complex sentence?

The fair screamed through the dark and starry night, as if it couldn't be stopped.

Better still, can you add an adverb to add detail to the action?

The fair screamed noisily through the dark and starry night, as if it couldn't be stopped.

The new detail could even be changed to make the whole sentence a simile:

The fair screamed through the dark and starry night, like a set of raging fire engines.

The sentence 'The fair screamed through the dark, starry night, like a set of raging fire engines.' is overlaid over a colourful and lively fairground scene

The difference between the first sentence and this last is obvious.

The fair went on through the night.

or

The fair screamed through the dark, starry night, like a set of raging fire engines.

When you are writing your own descriptions, always think as you proceed, or go back to your sentences in the first draft, to see how you can improve them by adding to them in these various ways.