What are the differences between narrative and descriptive writing? What should we keep in mind while writing it?

  • Can you clarify this question by telling us where you encountered these terms, and what the context is? This is difficult to answer otherwise. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jun 9 '14 at 5:45

Narrative writing tells a story or part of a story.

Descriptive writing vividly portrays a person, place, or thing in such a way that the reader can visualize the topic and enter into the writer’s experience.

See here and here.

So in narrative writing, the writer is perfectly capable of telling you the plot of the story, while in descriptive writing there does not have to be a plot, but something has to become very easy for the reader to visualize.

Let's look at the Lord of the Rings. The way J.R.R. Tolkien describes a hobbit is very descriptive, and the reason the movies were so successful was not only because the story was told correctly (the book being narrative writing also), but because the readers did not have to come up with their own imagination of a hobbit (or other figures, places, and such). They were described in detail, giving everybody a very precise framework of imagination to work from. Therefore everybody could relate to and agree upon the characters and the make-up of the artists.

  • @malach how do I know, that I should stop description and go on narration? – gaussblurinc Apr 16 '13 at 17:28
  • The 'here' and 'here' links a broken – alan Mar 16 '17 at 17:35
  • Descriptive Writing paints pictures with word or recreates a scene or experience for the reader.
  • Narrative Writing on the other hand, relates a series of events either real or imaginary or chronologically arranged and from a particular point of view.

for short the Descriptive is to describe and the Narrative is to tell information :)


Differences Narration often employs first person point of view, using words like "I" and "me," while other modes including description do not. The biggest difference between the two is that a narrative essay includes action, but the descriptive essay does not. Narration follows a logical order, typically chronological. In contrast, description typically contains no time elements, so organize descriptive essays by some other reasonable means, such as how you physically move around in a space or with a paragraph for each of the senses you use to describe.


The core of narrative writing is strong verbs. Descriptive writing might have some verbs, usually weak ones, but the main tools are nouns and adjectives.


Narrative writing involves the writer's personal experience and he tells it in the form of story.. e.g my first day at college descriptive writing involves the characters observed by five senses and does not contain a plot

  • Can you add a contrast to what descriptive writing is? And maybe provide some links to support this? – Nicole May 12 '15 at 18:42
  • Can you edit to expand this? We're looking for longer answers that explain why and how, not just one-liners. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Jan 13 '16 at 23:39

Narrative- is when the author is narrating a story or part of a story. Usually, it has introduction, body and its conclusion. It let readers create their own imagination. It may be exact as what the author wants to express or not.

Descriptive- describing what the author wants to impart. It expresses emotion about its certain topic. It leads the way and not letting you fall out of nowhere.


Narrative is the experience of the narrator in his own words whereas descriptive story is analysis of any topic desired..

  • 1
    "descriptive story is analysis of any topic desired" By that logic, an academic essay or a political polemic would be descriptive writing. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Oct 27 '14 at 2:49