More Research Tips

More Research Tips for Descriptive Writing Projects

We strengthen our writing by using descriptive details that match and develop the topic.
Today let’s talk more about research for descriptive writing.

Research like it’s a treasure hunt to find your perfect topic, or gathering information to expand an interest area. When you land on that topic, consider these points for fresh, active, and believable descriptions:

•    Pursue topics that resonate with you, and inspire you to write

•    Search out topical details, then write them in an organized way to provide the reader a visual pattern they can imagine

•    Be specific with factual details, always fact check to confirm the accuracy

•    Choose details that play a role in your piece, building its credibility

•    When working with a stationary subject—stay with the focus; its texture or its inherent qualities

•    Write to make the subject realistic & relatable

•    Use verbs that don’t need assistance from an adjective to convey action

•    Strong verbs can depict movement: storms, slings, rising, burst, sprawled, staggered, creak, squawk, crackle, shriek, clatter, tinkle, jingle, thud

•    Linking verbs do not convey action. They express a state of being and require an adjective to make sense. If not necessary, linking verbs cause clutter—avoid them

•    State of being—no action—linking verbs include: would, should, can, must, might, may

•    Consider using the narrative, first person point of view, as yourself—write what you see, hear, taste or smell. And, write those details in the same order you notice them.

Idea Categories to investigate and expand:
•    Transportation, information technology, art history
•    Social issues to champion: eldercare, childcare, education
•    Hero’s caring for others
•    Setting up a Website, a Business Platform and Branding
•    Social Media: evaluating and choosing the best platform for your industry, groups, & reaching readers often

Elevate your descriptive writing:
•    Use metaphors, similes, and comparisons
•    Sight, Sound, Taste, and Texture words to add dimension
•    Details that differentiate
•    Stay on point and write with clarity and economy

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Make it with Specificity:
Write it with Research I:

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her writer’s website at:  
Visit her caregiver’s website and read the Mom & Me memoir at:
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer

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Terry Whalin said...

Deborah Lyn,

Thank you for these insights into how research can improve our descriptive writing. Every writer can gain important lessons as they study this article and apply it to their writing.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I am going through my memoir for about the fifth time and am still finding places where I can change the general to the specific. Parts of this manuscript are humorous and it REALLY helps funny things to be funnier! Yay, @DeborahLyn!

Karen Cioffi said...

Deborah Lyn, these are great tips. I'm working on a YA for a client - it started out as an MG. It's touching on social issues and your insights into giving descriptive writing a boost will be a big help.

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