Booths, high tables and stools, long bar, hanging glass racks, mirror behind the bar, hundreds of different alcohol bottles, stools, kick plate along bar, straws, sprayers, TVs, beer/wine/highball/martini glasses, beer on tap, shot glasses, bowls of peanuts/pretzels…
music, talking, laughing, cheering, swearing, yelling, whistling, TVs, calling out orders, glasses clinking, cutlery scraping, thump of glass mugs onto tabletop, pool balls hitting one another, dings from the VLTs, the pressurized rush of a beer tap, coffee pot gurgling…
Beer, food cooking, grease, spices, char, sweat, perfume, aftershave, cigarette smell clinging to people’s clothing, bad breath, beer breath, vomit, dirty money
Beer, pop, alcohols (rum, vodka, liqueurs, whisky, gin, etc), coffee, pub food (nachos, salsa, hot wings, teriyaki wings, dry ribs, poppers, tempura, calamari, pizza, fish and chips, burgers, etc), water, orange juice, wine, gum, mints
Drunk people (bumping, groping, brushing, stumbling), taking hold of the back of a chair or stool and dragging it to a table, fingers around a glass of beer covered in condensation, wiping finders/mouth with a dry napkin, sticky hot sauce on fingers, spilling beer on self…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: After a slight hesitation, I squeezed myself onto the only vacant seat at the bar–a stool with a torn leather seat. Smoke permeated the room, forcing me to adopt a squint as I kept the entrance in view. TVs blared overhead and truckers slouched to either side of me, the collection of empty shot glasses and beer mugs in front them suggesting career drinkers. I set my purse on the worn bar and tried to flag down a bartender, accidentially dragging my sleeve through a spill of beer. Damn it! I glared at the door, ready to leave as soon as Marcie showed up. Only my sister would pick a place like this…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) The woman with the platinum blonde hair and tight mini skirt sauntered up to the bar, eyeing the regulars like an aging lioness hungry for a meal…
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.
It must have been hard work researching this one! 😉 Thanks again for some great ideas.
LOL! Aging lioness hungry for a meal. I LOVE it.
Glad it helps. I know this one is more for the adult writers, but it’s a great setting and you never know… 😉
Have a great week, everyone!
This is a fun one!
Christina Farley says
More good stuff like usual. Love your blog!
Mary Witzl says
I can almost smell that stale beer and hear the tinkle of glass.
Love that aging lioness…
Great entry! If it was the afternoon, I might have a cold one after reading it!
Wow, you really worked on this list. It’s absolutely the BEST one I’ve seen on this. I really like the touch, which I need to use more! I love exp. #1 using the simile. Thanks so much! *SMILES*
Steph Infection says
Thanks for the excellent tips!
PJ Hoover says
Pubs are so much fun! Working them into kids books is a nice challenge 🙂
Keri Mikulski says
Nice list. Thank you for all your hard work!