Setting Thesaurus Entry: Cave

Sight

stone walls, dirt/stone floor, tree roots, dead leaves, twigs, trash, campfire remains, animal scat, fur, old bones, bears, mountain lions, raccoons, bats, rats, spiders, webs, insects, earthworms, stalactites hanging from ceiling, stalagmites protruding from floor, pools of…

Sounds

wind whistling around stone, muffled sound of wind in trees outside, echoes, shoes shuffling over floor, skitter of animals, insects whirring, bat wings fluttering, water dripping or running, rustle of feet through detritus, crickets chirping, campfire crackling…

Smells

Wet or cold stone, animal feces, decaying animals, animal musk, rotting vegetation, stale air, stagnant standing water, briny smell of slimy lichen, woodsmoke/food cooking (if there’s a fire going)

Tastes

Sweat, water, food cooked over a fire (trapped animals, fish, hot dogs–whatever the case) & drinks made or brought (tea, coffee, etc)

Touch

Bumpy/knobby/sharp stone, crumbling rock, jamming hands in fissures for handholds, slipping on a patch of wet rock, scraping against the wall, a fist of stone poking you in the back as you lean against a wall, bumping your head on a low ceiling, sweeping aside debris…

Helpful hints:–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: As I opened my mouth to call the all clear, something snapped. I froze, pressing myself against the cold, wet stone, my gaze flicking across the unyielding darkness of the cave. My stomach clenched at the unmistakable scratch of paws passing over debris and a snout snuffling the air, rooting for a foreign scent: me…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)  Wind shrieked through the hollows and gaps of the cave like banshees haunting a graveyard…

Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers

Logo-OneStop-For-Writers-25-smallSetting is much more than just a backdrop, which is why choosing the right one and describing it well is so important. To help with this, we have expanded and integrated this thesaurus into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Each entry has been enhanced to include possible sources of conflict, people commonly found in these locales, and setting-specific notes and tips, and the collection itself has been augmented to include a whopping 230 entries—all of which have been cross-referenced with our other thesauruses for easy searchability. So if you’re interested in seeing a free sample of this powerful Setting Thesaurus, head on over and register at One Stop.

The Setting Thesaurus DuoOn the other hand, if you prefer your references in book form, we’ve got you covered, too, because both books are now available for purchase in digital and print copies. In addition to the entries, each book contains instructional front matter to help you maximize your settings. With advice on topics like making your setting do double duty and using figurative language to bring them to life, these books offer ample information to help you maximize your settings and write them effectively.

About BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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12 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Cave

  1. Pingback: Setting Thesaurus Entry Collection | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  2. Word Crafter says:

    This is totally mind-boggling. I love the post about the caves especially, but I never gave the interior of the cave any more thought than site – wow what a gold mine you ladies provide. Thank You
    Billie A Williams.

  3. Angela says:

    “This is one of the best sites for murderers.”

    Murderers. LOL. Writers. I meant writers.

    Bwahahahaaa! Auria, you crack me up!

    (Better watch out when you’re in the shower…*reet, reet*)

    *makes note to do a shower setting*

    lol

  4. auria cortes says:

    “This is one of the best sites for murderers.”

    Murderers. LOL. Writers. I meant writers.

  5. auria cortes says:

    This is one of the best sites for murderers.

    I have difficulty with description and this blog is always helpful. It’s a hidden treasure.

  6. Becca says:

    PJ, I agree, and I was shocked, when doing a little research for this, at how many different kinds of caves there are. Made it impossible to cover everything…

    So glad we could help, Gutsy!

  7. GutsyWriter says:

    I always have your blog open for advice when I’m writing in the library. Thanks again for your support.

  8. PJ Hoover says:

    I love the whole idea behind caves. They just seem so mysterious!
    Great post!

  9. Becca says:

    Yes, Bish, thanks for the additions; I haven’t been in a cave in years, so I wasn’t sure how much I’d have to add.

    marian, I must admit that the dogs were Angela’s idea ;).

  10. Angela says:

    Awesome Bish–thanks!

    Marian, you crack me up, lol.

  11. Marian says:

    Thanks for the post. I’ve read too many books where caves were clean, dry places in which the heroes could find shelter or even treasure. Not a bat in sight.

    The only thing that startled me was that when I read the “taste” section about food cooked in the cave, I skipped over the “hot” in “hot dogs” for some reason.

    So I read, “trapped animals, fish, dogs”, and thought, “Wow, I guess the food supplies were running REALLY low. Well, at least Angela and Becca are being ruthlessly realistic.”

  12. Bish Denham says:

    More than animal feces, there’s the smell of bat guano, very strong, distinct. In large caves the air is cold can taste kind of metalic. And caves (at least the larger ones I’ve been in) are chilly, in the mid 50’s.

    Great stuff. You gals rock!

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