sunshine, glittering leaves, dew, grass, weeds, flowers indigenous to climate (roses, lilies, hydrangeas, cacti, wildflowers, daisies, blazing stars, marigolds, cone flowers, sunflowers, lung wort, etc), sun-dappled, pools of water, wet leaves, damp steps/stepping..
a running sprinkler, lawnmower, the snip of shears, the hum of bees, bird calls, skittering squirrels or mice, the flutter of wings, squawking over space in the water bath or bird feeder, wind through the leaves, rustling, soughing, howling, the crackle of lighting from a…
Pungent tomato vines, sweet flower perfume, mint leaves, fresh mown grass, damp earth, the tang of ozone before or after a storm, fresh grown herbs, gasoline/exhaust from a mower or rototiller, onions, ripe fruit or berries, warm earth, dust, mouldering…
fresh flavorful vegetables, sweet & juicy fruit and berries, sour or not-quite-ripe apples or tart berries, woody or mealy apples, bland taste of chewing on a stalk of grass, honeysuckle flowers, mint leaves or other edible leaves, rain or snow on the tongue, crunchy sweet…
Leaves that feel saw-edged, felty, smooth, rough, sticky, wilted, dry, papery; squeezing a tomato or melon for ripeness, the slight give of ripe fruit, dirt under the nails, muddy hands, cold damp soil, dry & dusty soil, crumbly fertilizer, cold water against skin, water…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: The garden was more brown than green: leafless branches, skeletal twigs, dead leaves for ground cover. A stale breeze stirred the detritus, filling the garden with the smell of decay and providing the only sound. No insects hummed, not a single bird sang. Even the noise of my footsteps sank quietly into the dusty ground.
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Metaphor) The tree rose tall and regal at the garden’s center, a queen surrounded by her humble subjects…
Think beyond what a character sees, and provide a sensory feast for readers
Setting 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.
On 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.
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.