Try This: Pretend You're an Alien

By Dee Romito:

An important part of writing is being able to create a clear, vivid picture in the reader’s mind. Here’s a fun exercise that focuses on using observation and details to make you look at things in a new way.

You are an alien.  Bring a journal and pencil with you and go outside for a trip to Earth for the very first time. Your mission is to describe objects you see on this new planet in great detail so that your alien family and friends back home will be able to picture them. There’s only one rule—you can’t use the names of the objects because an alien wouldn’t know the names -- right? 

Here's an example:

a tall, thick, brown, stick-like object with flat, pointed, green material covering its entire top

It's a tree, but you can't call it a tree in your writing.  Describe!

Take a walk outside, go on the writing journey with friends or family, and then compare notebooks when you’re finished. 

Although we have to be careful not to overdo it with descriptions in our writing, understanding how to create a picture for the reader is an important skill.

See my notebook below for other examples:

Click to Enlarge this Notebook Page

Dee Romito is an author, elementary teacher, and educational freelance writer. Her middle grade debut, SUMMER BUCKET LIST, will publish with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin in 2016. She blogs about writing at I Write for Apples, where she and her team share tips to help fellow writers. You can visit her website at

To go back to the list of all Try This! ideas, click HERE.
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