Descriptive Essay Quick Check Minimum Requirements

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Descriptive Essay Quick Check

Minimum Requirements:

  • V – if less than 8vocab
  • S – if missing 1 or both similes
  • M – if missing 1 or both metaphors
  • C – if you have more than 5 copula
  • H – if you forgot to highlight something: vocab, similes, metaphors, copula, and What I know for sure
  • D – if the paper isn’t double spaced
  • F – if you are missing any major formatting elements (heading, header, title)
  • K – No key for your highlighting
  • T- Not typed
  • NP – if you don’t have a draft at all. 

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • You do not need a title page!
  • Be sure your entire paper is typed and double-spaced.
  • The font should be a nice, normal font – with a font size of 10 or 12.
  • Check your header – is it really half an inch down? It should be on every page and have your last name and page number: Smith 1
  • Check the heading information – be sure it is accurate, you should have: Your name, My Name (spelled correctly!), ENG 101 – Your Section number, and the Due Date. Remember we don’t want to abbreviate the due date! Section numbers are below in case you forget!
  • Period 1
  • ENG 101 -  11667
  • Period 2  
  • ENG 101 -  11691
  • Period 3
  • ENG 101 -  11814

If you have the extra spacing in your heading, like below, here is how to fix it . . .

  • You might think that is a regular double spacing – but compare it to your essay. It might not be. I can check it for you – just let me know!

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Look at your title – is it amazing? Does it cause intrigue? Don’t be dramatic though! We will come back to the title! 
  • Check your paragraph lengths – you need to be sure your intro and conclusion paragraphs are 6-8 sentences each and your body paragraph is 10-12. Write your sentence count at the end of each paragraph.
  • Does your intro focus on the setting, mood, tone, atmosphere and getting ready for the reader to hear your story?

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Be sure you do not have you or your anywhere in your paper! Double check to be sure you don’t! If you do, cross them out! If you added dialogue for any reason that is okay!
  • Do not put quotation marks around words for emphasis! 
  • Do not start sentences with: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet . . .
  • Be sure you have eight vocabulary words properly underlined or highlighted! Be certain you are using them appropriately! They can be from lessons 1-8. And, yes, you can change the endings if you need to!
  • Be sure you have 2 metaphors and 2 similes. These need to be highlighted or in a different font color – be certain you give me a key somewhere! Be sure they truly are figurative language and not just description!

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Review your paper for tired, boring words that can spruced up and transformed into SCINTILLATING words! Remember: show, don’t tell! That is one of the major writing concepts I will be reviewing in your writing! Choose 15 words that you can improve upon – highlight them right now! 
  • Avoid copula! Can you have copulas? Yes. 5. That is it! So, look to see where you can remove a copula and put in its place something fantastic! In case you forgot, the copula are: is, am, was, were, be, being, been, have, has, and had!
  • Be leery of vocabulary vomit! Don’t put a million, huge, crazy words all strung together – your writing still needs to flow smoothly!

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • In turn, be careful of figurative language craziness! Don’t say in one sentence: Her eyes were the color of roses, and she ran like the wind, yet she had the sadness of a jilted party clown. Blech! You don’t want to have your reader’s brain scrambling to digest a million random comparisons! So be thoughtful with your description!
  • Avoid clichés! Be original with your writing! Paint vibrant images with your words!
  • Did you utilize sensory details? Be sure you hit each of the senses at least ONCE! See, touch, hear, smell, and taste! Right now – highlight a reference to at least one of each of the five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch! Missing something? Make a note of where you can add it!
  • Be sure you bold your What I know for sure is sentence!

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Check your attention getter! Do you start in the moment? Do you immediately draw your reader in and make him or her want to do nothing more but read on?? You should! Make this first sentence spectacular!
  • Want to see some examples?

Scintillating Starts! Amazing Attention getters from previous descriptive essays:

  • The plane quaked beneath me as its wheels licked the asphalt.
  • As I heard a snap, crackle, and pop, I knew that this would be a date I’d never forget.
  • Unwanted terrors grow like small parasites creating an amorphous void.
  • The phone rang and on the other end I heard my best friend say, “Are you home? I have bad news,” through choked sobs.
  • As the car door shut I felt a rush of emptiness trickle through me, I realized then that blood will always be thicker than water.

Scintillating Starts! Amazing Attention getters:

  • The hard wooden floor became my stage and I planned to flaunt my hard work.
  • The constant whirring of jet turbines echoed throughout the terminal.
  • Watching my father click on a lighter to light the tip of a glass pipe held up to his infected mouth made me sick to my stomach.
  • I stepped shakily onto the platform, staring ebulliently across the endless crystal waters.
  • Walking through the noisy, chaotic streets of New York City, the mustard hued taxi cabs blurred in my vision as they quickly passed.

Scintillating Starts! Amazing Attention getters:

  • I stared profoundly at my friend’s fiery passionate eyes as he scanned the mysterious group standing before me.
  • Fumes radiated from my body like an overheated tea kettle.
  • I raced through the morning stillness at breakneck speed, toward the enveloping darkness.
  • My knuckles, flushed white, contrasted nicely with the steering wheel as they desperately clung to the only thing that they felt safe next to.

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Be certain your thesis is the last sentence of your intro paragraph!
  • Watch agreement issues! Don’t say: Many people don’t understand fear until he truly experiences it. Well, people is plural, but he is singular – so both need to be plural or both need to be singular!
  • Write out numbers less than one hundred!

Descriptive Essay Quick Check

  • Watch semicolon usage! For some reason people like to make up their own rules! Semicolons join two independent sentences! Be careful here! If we have lots of semicolon errors then we will need to review these in details! Correct usage: I like cheese; it is yummy.
  • End just as strong as you began! 

Do you have communal relevance?

  • Communal Relevance: At the end of the essay, the reader has the right to ask “So what?” and have it answered. A writer does not merely tell a story for personal reasons, but in order to communicate a larger truth to the reader; the story is the vehicle on which this truth, often metaphorically, rides. The personal essay argues, in a way, that the beauty associated with being a human can often best be expressed through the sharing of stories. Thus, there often appear two distinct sections of a personal essay: narrative and comment.
  • Would ANY reader walk away from reading your story and be able to get that answer to: So what?
  • Really be sure your message is universal and so is your story’s appeal!

Your Evaluation

  • Evaluate your own paper for each of the four areas – giving yourself a score out of 10 with 10 being the highest.
  • And tell me . . .
  • 2 Strengths
  • 2 Weakness
  • 3 things you need to fix as you revamp before you complete your next rough draft!

Make any necessary revisions, and then bring in 2 new drafts of your paper on Wednesday – highlighted and ready for another round of editing!


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