Setting Thesaurus Entry: Pond


leaves floating on water, lilly pads, water lillies, frogs, tadpoles, thrush, reeds, long grass, reeds, mud, algae, rocks, pebbles, willows, clover, moss, swirling water, air bubbles drifting up, water striders, snakes, weeds, wild flowers (dandelions, daisies, wild…


splashing, air bubbles popping, wings flapping birds trilling, frogs croaking, small animals in the underbrush, a doe lapping up water, squawking birds, the buzz and hum of insects, wind rustling the leaves of the nearby trees, crickets/grasshoppers rubbing their legs…


algae/stagnant water, grass, wildflowers, wild mint, sweet clover, pine & spruce trees, wet earth, sunshine, decaying leaves, water slime


The dewy sweetness of a grass stalk shoot plucked from the ground, seasonal berries (Saskatoon’s, strawberries, gooseberries, wild raspberries, blackberries), accidentally eating a bug while talking, rose hips


Cold water slipping over skin, mud squishing between toes, warn sun on the skin, soft grass or moss against the back, insects landing or crawling across skin, the bite of an insect, the slimy feel in the hand from a caught frog or tadpole, scratching in the mud with…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: Flinn and I sit on the lush bank, our poles dripping lines into the motionless water. The head of a bullfrog lifts briefly near a patch of duckweed, eying us curiously before dropping back down into the murk. Neither Flinn or I know if this pond has fish, but we do know that hidden here among the tall cedars and rustling poplar trees, dad and his list of dusty, grimy farm chores can’t reach us…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor) A breeze winnowed along the water’s edge through trees and reeds and silky grass, filling the air with an exotic language of rustles, ticks and creaks…

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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11 years ago

Cattails! You know Bish–I was having a total brain fart on that word when I made up this entry, so thank you for supplying it!


Danyelle, thanks!

Marian, I have thankfully never had a bug go up my nose. I think I’d rather eat the unanticipated protein than feel it go up there–yikes!

11 years ago

I’m not sure what’s worse – the bugs you accidentally eat or the ones that “accidentally” fly up your nostril.

Good post. I feel as though I’m in a damp and duckweed-y place now. 🙂

11 years ago

Great list–as always. And very helpful as I have a pond in one of my WIPS. Thanks again, ladies!

PJ Hoover
11 years ago

LOL! I saw “deer drinking” and read it as “beer drinking” and I thought, okay, sure, one can drink beer by a pond.
The deer make much more sense 🙂

Bish Denham
11 years ago

I love ponds and the worlds they contain in and around them. I could so easily see/hear/smell/taste and feel one by reading your descriptions.

Are cattails considered reeds?