Descriptive Essay Writing How To Set A Scene

By Dean Nixon

Irrespective of whether education is acquired from a private English tutor or in a college class of forty plus, the challenge remains – how to set a scene within a composition.

It is doubtful if a composition could be penned without a scene. An article cannot be set in ‘no place’. Give it a try! Test checking the first page of a typical novel and most likely you will come across the location of a scene. This process of scene establishment is generally broken down into 5 points:

i. Exactly where

ii. When

iii. Using our expertise of additional scenes

iv. Mood as well as ambiance

v. Reader’s reactions


The whole article could be a detailed description associated with ‘where’. It need incorporate no people and no occurrences. We do not, essentially, require characters or even issues transpiring but we do need to have ‘where’.

Precision and depth are definitely the all-important elements here. You will need to paint a picture by using written text. The picture in your mind really needs to be moved to that of your reader.

Attempt visualising being there; check around and punctiliously point out the results. Take in all the elements, move over to the reader the required descriptive essentials.



For a whole outline we must know not only ‘where’ a specific thing is but also ‘when’ something is occurring there. This can be as obscure as which century or as accurate as which moment.

Sometimes you don’t have to express the actual ‘when’. If you’re writing about a siege involving a fortress in the Holy land, we have a rough knowledge of the period associated with its history; or perhaps the moon recently came out, which might be enough to indicate the time period for the audience.

The next brief description sets the scene at the beginning of Man’s time on earth:

‘Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden.

Paradise Lost – John Milton


Our lives are created from countless events. We’ve been witness to many scenarios. Recollect them in your authoring. Why don’t you cross time barriers?

When covering a park, don’t purely restrict your explanation to the one inside your local town. Have you thought to use your historical awareness and set the scene within a medieval space in Britain. Take into account the places, noises in addition to scenes – you wouldn’t come across swings and slides there!

Hogsmeade Village, in the Harry Potter series, is the only all wizarding village in Britain. Although ‘magical’ we can see that J.K.Rowling uses her knowledge of places she has encountered to produce something fictional.

‘Hogsmeade looked like a Christmas card; the little thatched cottages and shops were all covered in a layer of crisp snow; there were holly wreaths on the doors and strings of enchanted candles hanging in the trees.’

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K.Rowling


The way a location is determined has a bearing ON the reader’s reaction to it. Feelings and atmosphere can be anything from crazy to exotic. One’s utilisation of adjectives play an essential part here and should be given attentive consideration.

The wild outside world of Nature is conjured up on a blasted heath in the following description:

‘Blow winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!

You cataracts and hurricanes, spout

Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks!

You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,

Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,

Singe my white head.’

King Lear – William Shakespeare


The particular account of a setting is entirely with your responsibility.

Would you prefer it be grim as well as foreboding or possibly wild and fantastic? Would you like to develop one mood and then make a surprising about-turn?

Keep in mind your vocabulary and handle with great care; give some thought to who you are crafting for. Might it be your peers, could it be your teacher, could it possibly be a paying readership? Knowledge of your audience will almost certainly determine the selection of words and phrases.

A certain amount of grimness is put over here in very few words:

‘A crowded street, where men and women went to and fro in multitudes.’

Phantastes – George MacDonald

Scenario establishing is critical, take the time to get it right.

About the Author: Dean Nixon is a

private English tutor

in Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire, England. Working with him is Norma Shaw who offers

private Sociology tuition

Please feel free to be a guest blogger at our ‘Everything Educational’

experienced tutors



Permanent Link: