flashing lights, domed cameras in ceiling, mirrors, slot machines, stools, buckets of coins, card tables (blackjack, poker, baccarat), chairs, cards, chips, roulette wheels, craps tables, dice, TV monitors, dealers, players, waiters/waitresses, drinks, food, pattern carpets…
Swish of automatic doors, crank of slot machine arms, clink of coins falling into machines, alarms announcing winners, people laughing/talking/placing orders with servers/cashing in chips/rejoicing/lamenting, chips rattling in plastic buckets, cards being shuffled/dealt…
cigarette/cigar smoke, felt, perfume, cologne, aftershave, sweat, food smells, money, metal coins
water, soda, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, mints, cigarettes, sandwiches, hamburgers, nachos, wings, fries,
Soft carpet underfoot, cool air-conditioned air, padded stools and chairs, solid feel of wooden chair rungs, slick cards, plastic chips, felt tabletops, wooden table rims, warm dice, metal slot machine arms, trickle of sweat, too-warm clothing, sunglasses sliding…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Light-headed, I closed my eyes, my chin dropping to my chest. I was in so deep now–not only was my tip money gone, so was the money I’d taken out earlier for groceries. I reached for the handle and took a breath. Please, God…I need this…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) The dealer smiled as she took my stake, her hand sweeping over my chips like the hungry, inevitable tide…
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. The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting Thesaurus are 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.