Acknowledgement : Ms Vinita Pandey


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Narrative and Descriptive Writing

Types of Essays/Writings

Expository Writing: It exposes, or sets forth the facts and figures. It is factual in nature.

Eg. Textbooks, Business writing, Technical writing, Instructions, Manuals.

Descriptive Writing: This type of writing aims to paint a word picture in the reader’s mind. The writer describes the people and places vividly.

Eg. Fiction, Poetry, Advertising, Journal, and diary writing.

Persuasive Writing: This kind of writing aims to persuade the reader. The writer tries to influence the reader to adopt his/her POV.

Eg. Advertising, Opinion, and editorial pieces, Reviews, Job applications

Narrative Writing: It tells a story through the characters and the narrator. It can be imaginary or real.

Eg. Novels, short stories, novellas, Poetry Biographies, Human interest stories, Anecdotes

Narrative Essay/Composition (Narrate means to relate)


A specific incident, story or experience shared by oneself. You may be asked to narrate an incident illustrating some character or experience. It may be real or imaginary. Example: Festival you attended.

Descriptive Essay/Composition (Describe means to elaborate)


A descriptive essay is a type of essay that explains everything in detail. It describes an object, place, person, emotion, or experience through the vivid description. The writer provides sensory information to enable the reader to use their 5 senses; sight, touch, smell, taste, and hear.


Setup (Introduction)-

The beginning of the story/description introduces us to the characters (features etc), settings, and time.

Problem (Main body)

Action, event, description, and activities involving the main characters

Climax (Conclusion)

Resolution of the problem the main character is facing in the story/conclusion of the description.

Tips for Writing Narrative Essay

  • Choose something interesting to share
  • Include evidence to support your experience
  • Write in 1st person, preferably. or the third person
  • Write in chronological order
  • Give vivid details of the characters
  • Define the setting
  • Proofread

Tips for Writing Descriptive Essay

Use figurative language

There are patches of woodland in the park.


The face of the park was dotted across with small groves like a patchy beard.

Use your senses

Sensory details: I could feel the stove’s heat on my face, and smell the rich aroma of tea filling the air.

Choose the right words

My dog runs through the garden quickly and jumps onto the barrier to watch it from above.

My cat crosses the garden swiftly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. (     more apt)

Show, don’t tell

In his most commonly repeated quoted, Chekhov said, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Eg. Tamara looked for some water to drink in the arid place.

Almost out of moisture from the body, Tamara was eager to wet her parched throat. Bare land and scorching sun added to her woes. All looked withered including Tamara.

Difference between Narrative and Descriptive Essay

                        Narrative Descriptive
Literary Elements: Plot, Setting, CharactersLiterary Elements: Not Used
Point of View: 1st personPoint of View: 3rd or 1st person
Time factor: Chronological and logical sequenceTime factor: Not accounted
Purpose: Incident, ExperiencePurpose: Place, person, Experience, Thing
Eg. When I got my first mobile (narrate experience)Eg: My first mobile phone (describe the physical and technical traits)

Descriptive Writing Example:

My Mother My Idol

The first idol of every kid is their parent. Likewise, my mother is my idol. An independent woman, she has borne her responsibilities well.

She is 51 year old now yet her hair is thick and black. Her whitish complexion and clear skin makes her look beautiful. Her brown eyes and sharp nose adds to her beauty. Her fuller figure in, her preferred attire, saree makes her look amicable. All my worries dissolve when she hugs me. Though she was an athlete during her school days and has a stands 5’4” tall, yet my mother finds it hard to stand for longer hours due to pain in her knees now. No one can cook Rajma Rice as rich and tasty as she cooks.

I really appreciate the way my mother has been able to balance and be successful in her career and family responsibilities. I aim to be like her some day.

Descriptive Writing Example:

Example #1: The Corner Store (by Eudora Welty) “Our Little Store rose right up from the sidewalk; standing in a street of family houses, it alone hadn’t any yard in front, any tree or flower bed. It was a plain frame building covered over with brick. Above the door, a little railed porch ran across on an upstairs level and four windows with shades were looking out. But I didn’t catch on to those. Running in out of the sun, you met what seemed total obscurity inside. There were almost tangible smells — licorice recently sucked in a child’s cheek, dill pickle brine1 that had leaked through a paper sack in a fresh trail across the wooden floor, ammonia-loaded ice that had been hoisted from wet croker sacks and slammed into the icebox with its sweet butter at the door, and perhaps the smell of still untrapped

Practice Questions (Descriptive Writing):

  • Describe an inspiring friend or family member.
  • Describe a piece of art.
  • Describe the first time you drove a car or rode a bicycle
  • Describe a place you loved as a child.

Practice Questions (Narrative Writing):

  • A moment when you felt alone and scared
  • A time when you discovered the truth about someone
  • The first time you cooked a meal by yourself
  • If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? Would you change the past?


Resource material ,

Google Forms,

DOE live classes XI

DOE live classes XII

Ms Vinita Pandey has been teaching English in CBSE schools for past 10 years. She believes that the lessons should be entertaining besides being informative, therefore she creates the resource material which can touch the 5 basic senses of the child. She is fond of literature, especially poetry. Her poem ‘Let There Be Dark’ has been published in an online journal ActiveMuse.

All the best!

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