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This week we will tturn our attention to another useful device used in both fiction and non-fiction, the descriptive technique. As we learned, narrative paragraphs describe a sequence of events or tell a story. The logical arrangement of ideas and sentences in a narrative paragraph is chronological - according to time order. But what if you were asked to describe how something looks - a place, a thing, or a person? How should you arrange your ideas and sentences in the paragraph? Obviously, time order would not be logical. When you are describing the way something looks - its physical appearance - it is not time but space that is important. Therefore, you should arrange your sentences and details according to where the objects being described are located. This type of organization is called spatial organization. In a descriptive paragraph, you must make the location of the objects being described very clear.
As literary students you may be asked to relate the role a character plays in a novel or as design students you may be asked to relate the role a person plays in a successful design, as a designer for instance. But how would you describe a person and their role? Depending on the subject or assignment, you could describe the person's physical appearance, behaviour, inner thoughts or the influence the person had on you or others.
A person's appearance can be described in many ways. It is possible to tell about the person's style of clothing, manner of walking, colour and style of hair, facial appearance, body shape, and expression or even the person's way of talking. Just what a writer selects to describe depends on the writer's chosen topic and purpose. No matter what the topic, however, the writer is a painter with words, so the description must be vivid but also coherent - logically...
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