Rambling ranch house, barn, silo, chicken coop, fenced-off green pastures, rows of growing produce, scarecrow, gardens, fruit orchard, sunflowers, pond, horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, geese, dogs, cats, corn, wheat, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes…
Chickens clucking/scratching at the ground, roosters cawing, horse whinnies, cows lowwing, sheep/goats baa-ing, creaky buildings, horse hooves shuffling through hay or stomping through a barn, pigs rooting for fodder, the wind shushing through hay fields…
Manure, growing crops, flowering crops (Canola, fruit trees, etc), pine needles, fresh hay, musty barns, dust, dirt, mildew, warm earth, musky animal hides, gasoline, motor oil, fertilizers, wildflowers, burning barrels, campfires…
Chewing on young sweet grass, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, a carrot pulled from the ground, sweat, dirt, clean, cold water, potatoes roasted in foil in the coals of a campfire, hot dogs done over the fire, fresh fruit and vegetables, tart wild cranberries, sweet…
Crumbling nuggets of clay in the soil, dusty soil, the splash of cold water on the neck after a hard day’s labor, sweat-stiff clothes, dirty hands, grit under the fingernails, the feathery tops of green timothy hay, the stiff bristles of barley, thorns, brambles, smooth wooden…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: I never liked working the field than ran next to the church’s burial ground. During plowing season, the deep furrows of dark soil the tractor churned up reminded me of freshly turned graves…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Metaphor) The red, weather-beaten ford truck roosted on its axles at the edge of the overgrown timothy field, a worn out rooster to old to crow the sun awake…
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.
I’ve used the emotion thesaurus countlessly!
Thanks for doing all this. 🙂
*walks away from blog moo-ing* Farms… @_@
I went to sleep away camp as a kid. We can do that :).
I’ve always loved photos of farm silhouettes with a sunset.
Awesome descriptive words!
Sure, we could do a ‘kid camp’ setting. I’ve never been on a sleep-away camp…not sure about Becca, but we can try to fake it and all you guys can tell us if we hit the mark or not. 🙂
I have to say I’m loving these setting thesaurus entries. I *heart* you guys. I really do.
I have a request for a setting entry. I’m going to have a series set at a sleep away camp (that coincides very closely with a seaside amusement park!). I’ve done a little bit of research and asked for others experience but I’ve never been to a sleep away camp before. Would it be possible to get a setting thesaurus for something like that? Pretty please? I’ll wrangle the zombies for a day . . .