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How to Plan a Descriptive Paragraph Using a Graphic Organizer

by Samuel Nielsen, Demand Media

    Descriptive paragraphs attempt to describe the subject of the paragraph in minute detail. According to the website Scribendi, a descriptive paragraph describes a person, place, idea or feeling. However, while a combination of words thrown together may be descriptive, they may not be a coherent and logically organized paragraph. Using accurate and elegant descriptors in conjunction with a logically thought-out plan of organization will ensure a polished and professional finished paragraph. You may find that using a graphic organizer will help you achieve that finished product.

    Step 1

    Create a flow chart in the word processor of your choice or download a chart from the Internet. Alternatively, you may make a simple flow chart on paper by drawing boxes with arrows pointing to the next box.

    Step 2

    Enter the thesis statement, or topic statement, of the paragraph in the first box. The topic sentence does not have to be the first sentence of the paragraph, but this placement is common in descriptive writing. Your sentences can be rearranged after the first draft is complete.

    Step 3

    Enter supporting points in the next three or four boxes of the flow chart. If you are working on paper, use a pencil. Put the basic ideas of the sentences in the boxes if you do not yet have fully developed sentences. Use the graphic organizer to examine the flow of each idea into the next. Each idea must be presented in a logical order so as not to confuse the reader. Each supporting idea not only describes the overall topic but needs to build on the idea before it.

    Step 4

    Add descriptive detail to each of the supporting points. Use as many of the senses as possible: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. Such sensory detail helps create a vivid description for your reader.

    Step 5

    Read over the first few boxes and rearrange them until they flow smoothly. Reading them out loud helps. Make sure the ideas—or sentences—all support the main idea. Each idea should follow the next. For example: The wheel is round, the roundness is slightly flattened at the bottom of the wheel and the weight of the car makes it bulge slightly. Each point builds on the one before it.

    Step 6

    Write complete, descriptive sentences for each idea. Remember that each descriptive element should build on the one prior.

    Step 7

    Refer to the flow chart throughout the writing process to help you keep your sentences in logical order. Work without editing at first; just write.

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    Tips

    • Do not take too much time worrying about having a perfect order. Stopping to edit as you write can interrupt the flow of the writing, making it hard to continue. The draft from organizer to paper is just the first, and there will be more. Save editing details for later.
    • Be careful not to overload your paragraph with ideas that are only remotely related. Save those for another paragraph. During the graphic organization process, ask yourself if the ideas you are writing in the box relate directly to the main topic. If not, start another chart and enter the unrelated idea there.

    About the Author

    Sam Nielsen has been writing since 2005. With more than 16 years in professional kitchens, he has worked as an executive chef and taught private cooking classes. Nielsen holds management and nutrition certification from the National Restaurant Association, a degree in culinary arts from the California Culinary Academy and is currently pursing a B.A. in journalism and nutrition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    Photo Credits

    • process flow image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com

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