Writing Assignment: Description From Memory

by Randy Murray on February 19, 2010

If you have a goal of becoming a better writer, you need to practice. I accept practice assignments from my editor, Penny, including spelling and grammar quizzes. I find them both entertaining and a great way to sharpen my skills.

Here’s your writing assignment for today:

Write a description of an item from memory.

In this assignment, select an item you do not have within view or in your current possession. Write a short, one or two paragraph description that strongly and visually evokes the object. In this exercise, you may name the object, but it is not required. Be very specific about all of its physical attributes.

When complete, ask yourself if this paragraph fully describes this object. And as always, give your completed work to someone else to review and comment.

Here’s my example:

“I cannot recall which bank the keychain was from. It must have been some sort of promotional item, for which a plastic owl might have made sense. As a child if fascinated me. Its softly luminescent body had a bright red head that could be snapped on and off. Its phosphorescent eyes peeked out from underneath this little helmet. Such sleek lines, only enough to say owl and nothing else. That head was cool to the touch, smooth and hard, but the body, pliant and flexible.

When I see it, I see my own hands, but young hands, small fingers. I don’t remember it ever being attached to a set of keys thru its tiny metal chain of balls, but in an age before we were overrun with trinkets and toys from fast food meals, this little owl glows brightly in my memory.”

You may leave your completed assignment in the comment section below.

The Writing Assignment: Description From Memory by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Janets Business February 19, 2010 at 9:14 am

It’s old, squishy, and smells of countless years of tears, dried indelibly into its fabric, and of duck feathers that have gradually escaped or gone wherever duck feathers go over the decades. It’s only half the size now I imagine it once was. I carried it with me wherever I moved after my father died suddenly when I was five, and hugged it every night. It’s been nearly half a century now. But it is, for sure, the one thing that I know for a fact he touched, he held, he squeezed tight up close to his face. I’m sure he did. It was his pillow.


Randy Murray February 19, 2010 at 9:35 am


You might consider reading it aloud, testing and listening to the length of the sentences and transitions.




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