Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)


Dust, cobwebs, sheets on furniture, broken tables, chairs, windows, lamps, peeling wallpaper, gaps in the floorboards, holes in the walls, flickering lights (if there’s electricity) chandelier with broken strings of crystals, broken glass on the floor, spiders, cockroaches, rust, mildew, ripped curtains, shadows, gloomy staircases, old portraits & paintings, cracked…


footsteps on the stair, creaking doors, window shutters rattling on the outside, wind scattering/rustling paper through a broken window gap, words whispered in ear, screams, crying, wailing, laughter, glass smashing, the scrap of a chair moving, the scritch of tree branches scraping at the windows, rats squeaking, movement in the walls, a…


Phantom perfume or cologne, burning smells, pipe or cigarette smoke, mildew, rot, dank, rusty or metallic smells, wet wood and stone, rancid breath, yeasty beer smell, food, dust, dry rot, rat/mice feces, urine


Sour & dry mouth from fear, dust floating in the air and coating the tongue, salty tears


A phantom hand on the shoulder, the puff of breath on the earlobe or the back of the neck, the sensation of being grabbed on the arm, pushed, pulled, pinched, poked, slapped, burned, a feeling of light-headedness and nausea, hair rising on arms or the back of the neck, the body’s reaction to a drop in temperature (chills, shivering, breath puffing out…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: I cringed at each creak on the old warped stairs, but it didn’t sway my determination to make it to the bedroom on the second floor. Halfway up, a shadow flickered at the corner of my vision. I froze, and as I stood there, caught a woody scent lingering in the air. Tobacco smoke? A shiver curled through the hairs on the back of my neck then cascaded down my backbone. It was all I could do to not hurl myself back down the stairs toward the front door…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor) The dining room chair suddenly jolted back and tilted toward me, a gracious invitation by an invisible host…

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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42 Responses to Setting Description Entry: Haunted House (inside)

  1. Alysa says:

    This was SOOO helpful. Thanks a lot. It was very helpful.

  2. Alysa says:

    This was SOOO helpful. Thanks a lot.

  3. SPEEDEMON says:

    this helped me with my essay A LOT!!!!!!!!!!! 😊

  4. Swos says:

    This is awesome!👌

  5. fatima shakil says:

    This is so helpful for everyone . People can use them in essays while describing a haunted house .

  6. Razan says:

    This is so helpful! Definately the best website for writing! Thanksssss❤️❤️

  7. Olivia says:

    I really like it. It’s really good.for.young children and writers. I love it do much

  8. Emily taylor says:

    wow I really needed this thank you sooo much

  9. Peace says:

    Amazing. Im a 14-year-old writer and all these descriptions inspired me on how to write my mystery book. Thanks so much Becca

  10. Anonymous says:

    I really liked it because it helped me a lot to inspire me with my writing for greater depth.It was all very creative and amazing 😃👍🏻

  11. areeb says:

    very good descriptions

  12. vasanti says:

    This is too helpful

  13. Savannah Smith says:

    Thank you so much you have helped me so much.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This story describes the house and starts to leave an image of what the inside of the house looks like. I get shivers reading it.

  15. Autumn says:

    I love this website it helps me

  16. Raksha says:

    Thank you so much.. It helped me a lot… I am very happy about this web page😊

  17. Jade Elis says:

    Thank you so much it really helped write my writing assessment and get full marks, don’t worry i didn’t cheat that much!

  18. Jhouslyn says:

    It Game Some Ideas What To Write

  19. Hamza Zaidi says:

    Its just awesome because I get a idea to write it in my suspense story??

  20. shahad says:

    thanks alot it really helped me in my suspense story writing and it did really gave me some ideas to write it thanks 😉

  21. Zabit Khwaja says:

    Thank you very much. This is helpful to do my English HW.
    Zabit Khwaja

  22. Jaycee Lee says:

    Thank you !! This has really helped me to do my homework and to inspire me for different t ideas.

  23. chloe says:

    this helped me do my English course thank u sooo much

  24. Anonymous says:

    this is awesome! 😀 helped me do my coursework for English!
    thanks a lot 😀

  25. cardo says:

    this story is awsome i want to read another one.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Aloot It Helped Me In My English Homework:) But I Think It Would Be Better If There Were More Examples Of Haunted Houses:D x

  27. Anonymous says:

    this has helped me a great deal with my story for my English class 🙂


  28. Mary Witzl says:

    I love the image of the child riding a phantom rocking horse — very effective.

  29. Angela says:

    This one was so fun to do. There are so many unusual settings to explore–stay tuned!

  30. heyjude says:

    You gals cover some of the greatest topics!!! Hope you can get these out in book form soon or eventually! Keep up the good work!

  31. Bish Denham says:

    I can hear the wind moaning around corners…whhoooooooooowhoooooo.

  32. Abby says:

    Gives me the shivers too. =)

  33. Danyelle says:

    Gives me shivers just reading it. 😉

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