Setting Thesaurus Entry: Bakery


doughnuts, muffins, cookies, trays, stainless steel counters, coffee pots, mini coolers for pop, water and juices, flour on counters, bagels, buns, fresh bread, danishes, pies, cakes, eclairs, whipped cream, banana loaf, bread pans, cookie trays, napkins, napkin dispensers, dishwasher, bread baskets, microwave, bread warmers…


Dough mixing in an industrial mixer, cash register, oven timers going off, customer conversations, the crackle of sanitary paper when gathering doughnut/muffin choices, coffee being poured into cups, clatter of cutlery and plates, the crunch of crusty bread, murmuring appreciation of the food…


yeasty dough, sugar, melted butter, coffee, crusty bread, toasted bread…

fresh bread, spices, yeast, sugary glazes, nuts, grains, seeds, pudding centers, whipped cream, chocolate, coffee, water, jams, honey…


crumbs on the fingertips, powdered sugar on the lips, sticky buns, licking fingers, swiping a napkin at the lips, a glass beaded with condensation, a hot coffee or tea mug, sticky tabletop, plates warm from the dishwasher, warm rolls, ripping crusty bread apart, light crispy layers of puff pastry, chewy bread…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: Amanda stepped up to the counter, her gaze cascading over trays loaded with glistening sticky buns, chocolate-studded cookies and sugar-rolled donuts. Her stomach grumbled as her finger wandered over the infinite choices. “I’ll have…” the words wavered at the sight of a low fat label adorning a basket of pale, uninteresting muffins. Her brain flashed back to her morning struggle with her waistband, then forward to the wedding she would be attending a week from now. “The low fat muffin please,” she finished. “A small one.”…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor) Before carrying the apple danish up front, I gave it a small dusting of icing sugar for a pretty white accent. Cora, late from her break, rushed passed the counter, bumping my arm. The lid popped off my shaker, drowning my creation in a snowbank of powder…

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.


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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11 years ago

Mmm, I love bakeries!
Reading this made me hungry.

Bish Denham
11 years ago

As my inners no longer seem to like wheat flour it is sometimes torture to walk through the bakery department of the grocery store. However I now make a dynamite flour free cookie.

11 years ago

PJ, a few years ago, my husband owned a restaurant in a mall. Some of the things I saw in the other restaurants in the food court…*shudder* Can’t eat mall Chinese food to this day. I might have made an exception for cookies, though. 🙂

11 years ago

Now I’m hungry!

PJ Hoover
11 years ago

I worked in a bakery for years. Now there are some stories. Let’s see…there was the dead mouse I found on the floor. The bugs in the bathroom.
But yeah, the smells were fab! And the mouse and bugs didn’t stop me from eating the cookies 🙂