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Writers Create Descriptive Imagery

"And they came in waves. Streams of animals pouring like some liquid over the hilltops, expanding, contracting, spreading across ridge crests and passes. We followed for as long as we could each day, were overtaken when we camped for the night, and dragged our leaden limbs out of frosted sleeping bags in the mornings, to start a day of trying to keep up, all over again." -Karsten Heuer from first weeks "Being Caribou"

In this selection from the journals of Karsten Heuer and Leanne Allison on their expedition along the caribou migration trail we are drawn into their experience. How does he describe the animals' migration? What is he trying to tell us in the last line? Keep up....with what? If you think about ALL they are trying to keep up with, the powerful instintual drives urging the animals on, nature, landscape, weather, inevitable and repeating cycles as old as time.

  • What pictures came into your mind as you read this paragraph?
  • What sensory details did the author use to help readers picture ideas?
  • What images did you see in your mind as you read the selection?
  • What sounds did you hear as you read?
  • What textures did you feel?
  • What words and phrases did the author use to evoke pictures in readers’ minds?

Have you ever taken on a project that was really hard and seemed like you would never finish? Brainstorm situations you have been in. Some examples: Running the mile for gym class, weeding a big garden row, washing dishes after a big meal, a long bike ride to raise money, raking leaves in a big tree-filled yard.

Use these memories of your difficult experience to write a descriptive paragraph.

Digging Deeper
Read this segment from the expedition, "Being Caribou" and find other examples of descriptive writing.