11 Plus Descriptive Writing

Updated:February 3, 2024
Author:Creative Hare


Hello there, wonderful parents! If your child is gearing up for the 11 Plus creative writing exam, you might be wondering how you can help them prepare for the descriptive task. One topic for 11 Plus descriptive writing involves describing a special person in your life.  

So, grab a cup of tea and let’s dive into the world of planning a description of someone that’s memorable and heartfelt to help your child score those high marks!

Understanding the Prompt

First things first, it’s crucial to understand the prompt. The 11 Plus Creative Writing paper could ask your child to describe a person who holds a special place in their heart. preparing your child for this question type will help them to confident and well-prepared for their exam.  

Your child could write about...

  • A family member
  • A friend
  • A teacher

Or it could be anyone else who has made a significant impact on your  life. Encourage your child to think about someone they genuinely admire or have a strong emotional connection with and can therefore write from the heart with more ease. 

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

Walt Disney

Check out this FREE prompt to help your child structure their description about a special person in their life:

descriptive writing prompt

Mind mapping: Unleashing Creativity

Sit down with your child and have a mind mapping session. It’s important to give them uninterrupted time to sit with their own thoughts. Once they have had time to process their ideas, ask them to jot down: 

Key qualities:

  • Memorable moments
  • What makes this person unique?
  • What are the little things that stand out?
  • Any anecdotes about the special person they've chosen

It could be their infectious laughter, the way they always lend a helping hand, or even a particular habit that brings laughter or a smile to your child’s face.

Encourage your child to dig deep and explore the emotional aspects of their relationship with this special person. Memories, shared experiences, and even challenges overcome together can be excellent starting points for crafting a rich and engaging description.

Show, Don’t Just Tell

cat yawns

How do you think the cat is feeling? Hmm, maybe tired…?

One of the keys to acing descriptive writing is the age-old rule: show, don’t tell.

But what does it mean? 

Instead of simply listing characteristics of the person, challenge your child to paint a vivid picture through their actions. Think about what their action tells you about the person.

For instance, instead of saying: My grandma is kind….

Encourage your child to describe a moment when their grandpa selflessly helped someone in need – this way they showcase her kindness in action which is much more exciting to read. 

Encourage the use of sensory details – what does this person smell like, sound like, or even taste like? Engaging the reader’s senses helps create a more immersive and captivating description.

Organising Ideas: The Power of Structure

Save time and energy by visiting my story planning blog to download a free planning template for your child.

Now that your child has a treasure trove of ideas, it’s time to organise them into a coherent structure.

The layout of your description could include:

  • A clear introduction
  • A body
  • A conclusion

Now let’s look at each part:


To hook the reader from the beginning your child could try using: 

  •  A memorable quote
  • A rhetorical question
  • A vivid snapshot of the special person

A combination of the ingredients above could also work well. You want to aim for the introduction to outline  what’s to come.


Next, try dividing your description into paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect or quality of the special person. 

  • Create a logical flow, ensuring that one idea seamlessly transitions into the next. 
  • Encourage your child to vary the length of their sentences to keep the writing dynamic.


Summarise the essence of the special person in your own individual way. 

The conclusion should leave a lasting impression on the reader, echoing the significance of the relationship. 


The Magic of Descriptive Language

  • The goal is to make the reader feel a connection to the special person through the power of words.
  • Help your child infuse their writing with descriptive language to bring the special person to life on paper. 
  • Encourage the use of adjectives, similes, and metaphors as they are writing so it feels natural rather than too prescribed.

Instead of saying, ‘My brother is tall,’  you could say, ‘My brother towers over me like a protective guardian, who’s always there for me.’

Urge your child to experiment with ambitious words, guiding them to find words that evoke emotions and create a vivid mental image. 

Make sure you praise your child for their effort, even when the words have been used in the wrong context. The emphasis should be on experimenting and learning from mistakes in a relaxed, step-by-step way, this will help to increase their confidence. 

girl writing in her journal

Revision: Polishing the Gem

Once the first draft is complete, it’s time to revise and refine. Sit down with your child and read the description together. Or if they prefer, ask them to read it through on their own.

Recommend that they look for areas where they can add more detail, enhance the flow, or strengthen the emotional impact.

As your child’s confidence grows, gently encourage them to read their work aloud – this can help identify awkward phrasing or areas where the writing may feel disjointed. You want to encourage your child to voice their thoughts about their writing as much as possible. 

Top Tip!

  • Allow your child to reflect on what could be improved, they’ll know what doesn’t sound quite right. Praise them when they’ve made any small  improvements that enhance their writing. 

If your child is finding reflecting on their work tedious and tough, remind them that the drafting is part of writing that’s not only normal, but essential to crafting an impactful piece – even their favourite author will go through multiple drafts!

Seeking Feedback

Consider involving others in the revision process. Have your child share their description with a friend, sibling, or even a teacher. Fresh perspectives can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement. 

Constructive feedback is a crucial part of the writing journey, helping your child refine their work and gain confidence in their abilities.

Remember confidence is built during challenges and our personal ups and downs. 


Embracing Individuality

  • Finally, remind your child that the special person they’ve chosen is unique, and so are their thoughts and feelings.
  • Encourage them to embrace their individual voice and let their emotions shine through in the writing. 


The goal is not just to meet the exam criteria but to create a genuine and heartfelt portrayal that reflects their personal connection with the special person. This is what will lead to those high marks that are desired. 

Final Thoughts 

Helping your child plan a description about a special person for the 11 Plus creative writing exam is a wonderful opportunity to nurture their creativity and storytelling skills. 

By guiding them through the planning process, encouraging vivid details, and emphasising the importance of revision, you’re not just preparing them for an exam – you’re instilling a love for the written word and the power it holds. 

So, dive into the writing journey together or cheer them on from the sidelines – both are of equal value to your child.  

Next Step…

Save your spot here on my FREE Masterclass: How to Achieve High Marks in 11 Plus Creative Writing, Just Like Maths, held every Tuesday in term-time.

You can also book a Power Hour with Clare to address any specific concerns or questions you may have about your child’s creative writing journey.