Lockers, locks, tile floors, entrance to showers and gym, benches, bin for dirty towels, clothes poking out of closed lockers, mirrors, faucets, bathrooms, soap dispensers, dirt/hair/wrappers/etc on the floor, empty lockers with doors ajar, scuffed gym equipment, soiled sports paraphernalia…
Shouts, laughter, teasing, hooting, hollering, the clink of locks bumping metal, the clang of metal doors opening and slamming shut, the thump of equipment being thrown on the benches, shoes scuffing against the floor, body spray hissing out of cans, the crinkle of potato chip bags pulled out of dufflels, backpacks or lockers, the snap of towels, zippers…
Sweat, body odor, body spray/perfume, deodorant, shampoo scented steam coming from adjoining showers, grass and mud from stains on football uniforms or soccer jerseys, wet towels, dirty clothes, bleach & pine cleaners, air fresheners, hair spray/gel
Sweat, water, sports drinks, snacks from locker (power bars, chips, granola bars, candy, etc)
Soft cotton towels, cold locker doors, chipped paint on doors, ridged lock dials, hard zipper pulls, the splash of water on the face at the basin or from water poured over neck, sweat trickling over face, down the sides and back, the sweaty cling of uniforms, the dig of tight padding, gently probing a bruised area, scrape or other injury, the stretch or ache of…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: I sagged onto the cold metal bench, sweat skating down my back and sides. The stink of my grungy pads and soaked uniform was almost enough to knock me out cold. My gaze stayed on the worn blue tiles at my feet as the others filed in. No one spoke; the dragging scuffle of shoes and lockers being opened with muted creaks spelled out our crippling loss just fine on their own…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) In the narrow, locker-lined room, the coach’s motivational speech made the team wince like it was being delivered through stadium speakers at a rock concert…
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.
Mary Witzl says
Ewww, this took me right back to junior high school! Except for soft towels: ours were like Brillo pads, rough and scratchy enough to scour the skin off you.
Beautifully evocative, as usual.
Elaine 'still writing' Smith says
Impressive site premise – first visit (probably not the last)!
Keri Mikulski says
Printing this one!! I use lockers rooms ALOT. 🙂
Thanks, all! Sorry the post went up before the examples were in–I’d set the timestamp to AM, not PM…duh!
It’s all fixed now. 😉
PJ Hoover says
Locker room cracks me up. It’s such a perfect scene for YA!
That’s a great way t set up the setting! I am so bad at working on setting. I might have to use this concept as a writing prompt! 🙂
Bish Denham says
I never experienced the joy of a locker room as my school didn’t have a gym or phys-ed program. So this is a good one for me to refer to should I ever need a locker room scene.