Setting Thesaurus Entry: Graveyard


Wrought iron fence & grave bordering, gates, a church, stone angels, headstones (marble, concrete, granite, in hues of white, black and greys) raised tombs, mausoleum, cordoned off family burial plots, grass, flower beds, flake flower arrangements, dried flowers…


People crying/sobbing, sniffing, people speaking in low voices, whispered prayers, the rustle of dead flowers being removed for fresh ones, maintenance crew working (pruning, grave care, lawn care), hearses pulling up, caskets being unloaded and transported to the…


cut grass, stone, newly turned earth, fresh flowers on graves, perfume/aftershave mingling on the air from other mourners, smells associated with seasons (crisp air in the winter, rain and rot in early spring or late fall…


Tears, the metallic tang of stone in the air, precipitation


The feel of chalky dust on a headstone on the fingers, swiping dead leaves off a grave marker, dead flowers crinkling in the hand as they are removed from vases and replaced with new ones, wiping at tears, holding close to another, pressing a cheek or forehead…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: The rain on my sister’s grave site should’ve been a cliche, but somehow, it wasn’t. It fell softly over the newly-turned soil, patting it down with gentle hands. A flutter startled me and turned into a whippoorwill, its tiny claws scratching at the stone. I breathed in the smell of dirt and rain and grass that would soon be growing. My sister would like this place…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) Here and there, the gravestones leaned together like old friends…

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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7 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Graveyard

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much. This is useful for my graveyard scene!

  2. harvey says:

    Nice resource here. I have an entry on the art of writing on my blog which you may find of interest. Cheers.

  3. Becca says:

    I love graveyards, too. My husband thinks it’s weird…

  4. Angela says:

    Donna, I just read your blog–I agree, that example did make me think of us.

    Thanks Kelly. I was actually going to do Police Station next, but the new book I’m writing has a graveyard scene coming up, so i wanted to be ready!

    PJ, I guess we have a mental connection thing going on, lol. That, or I’m watching you. *cue psycho music*

  5. PJ Hoover says:

    It’s so funny how many places you pick I have as locations in my books!

  6. Kelly says:

    This is a cool, spooky one!

  7. Donna says:

    I love graveyards, as morbid as that is. The older, the better. I live in New England so we have some old ones up here.

    I have a request for a setting thesaurus. What about blight? Like a rotting Victorian building in the middle of a city or a barn looking like it’s about to cave in on itself. You know what I mean?

    And Angela, you need to read my review of City of Bones on my blog. I couldn’t stop thinking of this site when I was reading that book. You’ll see why . . .

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