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EXAMPLES OF DESCRIPTIVE WRITING

NOTICE THE USE OF ADJECTIVES, VERBS AND ADVERBS FOR EFFECT.

NOTICE ALSO THE MIX OF SIMPLE AND COMPLEX SENTENCES AND PUNCTUATION.

EXAMPLE 1: Extract from Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Chapter 1

It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two o'clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly closed windows it penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats felt damp to the hands, and there must have beena small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark-blue stain like a splodge of ink. The wind came in gusts, at times shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road, and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat in a faint endeavour to gain shelter from his own shoulders, while the dispirited horses plodded sullenly to his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it swung between the numb fingers of the driver.

The wheels of the coach creaked and groaned as they sank into the ruts on the road, and sometimes they flung up the soft spattered mud against the windows, where it mingled with the constant driving rain, and whatever vew there might have been of the countryside was hopelessly obscured.

The few passengers huddled together for warmth, exclaiming in unison when the coach sank into a heavier rut than usual, and one old fellow, who had kept up a constant complaint ever since he had joined the coach at Truro, rose from his seat in a fury; and, fumbling with the window-sash, let the window down with a crash, bringing a shower of rain upon himself and his fellow-passengers. He thrust his head out and shouted up to the driver, cursing him in a petulant voice for a rogue and a murderer; that they would all be dead before they reached Bodmin if he persisted in driving at breakneck speed; they had no breath left in their bodies as it was, and he for one would never travel by coach again.

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EXAMPLE 2: Extract from The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

Chapter Eleven

Mma Ramotswe Goes to a Small Village to the South of Gaborone

She drove down in the tiny white van, the morning sun streaming through the open window, the air warm against her skin, the grey-green trees, the browning grass, the plains stretching out on both sides of the road. The traffic was light; an occasional van, minibuses crowded and swaying on their ruined suspension, a truck full of green-uniformed soldiers, the men calling out to any girl walking along the edge of the road, private cars speeding down to Lobatse, and beyond, on their unknown business. Mma Ramotswe liked the Lobatse road. Many trips to Botswana were daunting in their length, particularly the trip up to Francistown, in the north, which seemed to go on forever, along a straight ribbon of a road. Lobatse, by contrast, was little more than an hour away, and there was always just enough activity on the way to keep boredom at bay.

Roads, thought Mma Ramotswe, were a country's showcase. How people behaved on roads told you everything you needed to know about the national character. So the Swazi roads, on which she had driven on one frightening occasion some years earlier, were fraught with danger, full of those who overtook on the wrong side and those who had a complete disregard for speed limits. Even the Swazi cattle were more foolhardy than Botswana cattle. They seemed to lurch in front of cars as if inviting collision, challenging drivers at the very last moment. All of this was because the Swazis were an ebullient, devil-may-care people. That was how they were, and that was how they drove. Batswana were more careful; they did not boast, as the Swazis tended to do, and they drove more carefully.

Of course, cattle were always a problem on the roads, even in Botswana, and there was nobody in Botswana who did not know somebody, or know of somebody who knew somebody, who had collided with a cow. This could be disastrous, and each year people killed by cattle which were knocked into the car itself, sometimes impaling drivers on their horns. It was for this reason that Mma Ramotswe did not like to drive at night, if she could possibly avoid it, and when she had to do so, she crawled along, peering into the darkness ahead, ready to brake sharply if the black shape of a cow or a bull should suddenly emerge from the darkness.

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