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Descriptive writing – scene exercise

This entry is part 18 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

Timed writing exercise to practice descriptive writing.

Descriptive writing prompt

Atlantic City’s boardwalk is a great place full of sensory detail that a writer can use to make the scene come alive. This week’s visual prompt will help you exercise that part of your writer’s mind that takes in all the descriptive detail. Use the photograph below as your visual prompt.

Inside the descriptive writer’s toolbox

Timed descriptive writing visual prompt exercise uses kitchen timers. I love kitchen timers. They are a wonderful practical tool for a writer. This week’s featured timer is the Ultrak Jumbo Countdown Timer. It has a large, jumbo display and will count down from 100 minutes. Great for this writing prompt or a 20-minute writing sprint. Comes with a built-in memory and an alarm.

Grab a notebook, a pen or pencil, or a tablet or computer. Set the timer to five minutes. (If I don’t have a kitchen timer handy, I’ll use the oven timer.) Using your iPad or smartphone? Download a timer app.

Start the descriptive writing exercise

Remember, Set the timer as you start writing. Now, look at the photograph.

  • Jot down five (5) items you can use to describe this setting.
  • Have one to two items unique to this scene>.
  • Work in all five senses so the reader is hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting your scene.

Write the scene. You can choose to write it from a character’s point of view or from a more omniscient perspective. Do not stop and reread. Keep writing. Head for the middle and capture an end. (Scroll down for the after-writing process.)

How to write a scene using visual prompt timed descriptive writing exercise.

Finished? Read what you’ve written. Don’t change anything. Then read the questions below and spend the next 5 minutes exercise writing about the sprint you just did.

Read and reflect

    1. Did you work into the scene or did you begin from inside the scene?
    2. Did you use any characters? How deep into their point of view did you go?
    3. How many of the senses were you able to include? Did the senses connect directly to the scene?
    4. Does the scene have a beginning, middle, and an end?
    5. Was this an easy or or difficult exercise?

That’s it. You can stop now or expand what you’re written. Share your thoughts below, and if you’re still in the writing mode check out the other sprint exercises.


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