IGCSE Language paper 3 : Descriptive writing

Descriptive Writing


There is a definite strategy to writing descriptive prose.

  • Starting with brainstorming and evoking sensorial (perhaps experience based) images in your mind.
  • Followed by planning, structuring and writing three distinct mood based paragraphs
  • building in literary tools such as sensorial imagery, onomatopoeia, effective diction, sentence structure, personification and  figurative language to name but a few.

In my experience, being technical however is not adequate to score an A* worthy piece of writing and students need to have have read and appreciated beautiful description in order to create their own masterpieces.


Listed below are a few excerpts and short stories that may should help inspire sensitive prose.


I have to start with  a work of pure art- A God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy with credit to BookBrowse.com, sheer perfection!

Paradise Pickles & Preserves

May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun. 

The nights are clear, but suffused with sloth and sullen expectation. 


Link to excerpt from The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 

Raising the bar for descriptive writing even higher , with evocative ,poetic prose:

An exclusive extract fromThe Ministry
of Utmost Happiness
By Arundhati Roy- 

Link to Guardian exclusive excerpt from The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Read More