Following the principles of writing to described outlined in my lecture, this is an example of writing to describe based upon a picture stimulus of a chalked body outline on the floor.


1 Body is discovered

2 Chalk

3 Tape

4 Grass Growing

5 Body is of known criminal


Tone will change from negative to positive:

Body discovered Shock, dismay
Chalk Rough, stark, dislocating
Tape Shiny, trapping, sanitised
Grass from concrete Healthy, new life, hope
Body is criminal Joy, mixed feelings


Inspector Anderson stopped with the suddenness of a quiet explosion; splayed face-down on the floor was the unmistakable form of a freshly-killed man. Inside Anderson’s gut a slow long waterfall of lead splashed down, carrying his feelings of dismay and horror deep into the recesses of his steel boots. His eyes flashed in dull recognition at the hours of paperwork and trauma that lay ahead of him.

Like the inevitability of leaves falling from winter trees, it was not long before he had taken his regulation chalk stick to draw around the outline of the body. The rough white dust kissed the pavement, a faint outline left behind, a spewed shape on the dark ground. The vibrations of the drawing grinding up the bones of this arm he found attached to him.

Back-up was coming. Before they arrived, the regulation plastic police-tape was set up to be wound around the scene. Trapping the scene in a moment of time, the tape grasped the lampposts either side of the body. Above the horror the dirty orange of the lampposts washed over the dim street, bathing the cooling body in a warm glow. The street breathed a gust of wind: the despairing throat of the road caused the tape to twist and dance in the night sky. A twinkling glint of light gigged from one special twist (a strange reminder of the dance that Anderson had been learning for his wedding anniversary later this week).

As Anderson stepped back, he almost trod on a sodden clump of grass that had poked through the pavement. Even here, in the rotten of heart of this city, some life still grew, determined to succeed even without care or love. The newness of this weed inspired him, its happy ambition starkly out of place next to the body of man who had lived his life so wrongly. The thin blades of green glass reflected the wet gifts of the sky, rain so hated elsewhere taken and turned into something beautiful and new and real.

With an impetuous step, Anderson strode towards the body. Against all regulation, he shifted it over, determined to see the man whose life had come to such an abrupt and violent end.

The face told an evil story.

Lying dead, on the floor, was Alan Milano. No more would the wicked gutter of his gang be led on these streets. Maybe now, with Milano dead, the people of these streets could live with the ambition and hope they so richly deserved.

The tape untwisted itself with a quick gasp from the windy street as if it was laughing in cheerful agreement.