Setting Thesaurus Entry: Tree House


wooden planks, cut-out window, rope ladder, boards nailed to tree trunk to make a ladder, chipped/mismatched dishes, ratty furniture, carpet remnants, curtains, junk food wrappers, crumbs, books/magazines, legs dangling from the sides or through the trap…


creak of boards, rope ladder scraping against tree trunk, wind in the leaves, leaves brushing against the house, branches creaking, curtains flapping, soda cans popping open, rustle of candy wrappers, crunch of potato chips, birds singing, scrabble of lizards on…


nearby flowers, fresh-mown grass, new wooden planks, sawdust, rain, fresh air, tree sap, moldy furniture/carpet, chocolate, sweat, hamburgers/hot dogs cooking, chimney smoke, pitch/sap, musty cushions


water, soda, juice, chocolate, candy, chips, sandwiches, cookies, rain, sweat, stolen cigarettes


rough/smooth wooden planks, nail heads sticking out of boards, gaps in boards, breeze blowing through the window, curtains brushing your skin, treehouse swaying in a strong wind, scratchy rope, nappy carpet, soft fabric on furniture, glossy feel of magazines papery…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: Kent gasped and yanked his hand back as the splinter skewered his palm. The floorboards creaked and he froze. Shoot–had they heard? Carefully, holding his breath tight in his chest, Kent leaned down to stare through the open knothole in the floor. Mark and his posse were right beneath him, looking around, trying to figure out where he’d gone…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) In the storm, leaves and branches battered against the walls like zombies looking for their next meal…

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

great blog. i have something for you at my blog

Roy Buchanan
11 years ago


Big Plain V
11 years ago

You put a lot of love and effort into these things, don’t you? It shows.

Keri Mikulski
11 years ago

I always wanted a tree house. 🙂

Christina Farley
11 years ago

Great as always~

11 years ago

Very nice! I loved designing tree houses as a child. 😀 Much fun!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children

Interesting site and a great list. A member of my children’s critique group recommended your site.
Karen Cioffi

11 years ago

I like example 1 of the simile. Gives me the shivers!
(–aka “stormie” from AW)

Bish Denham
11 years ago

Tree houses ROCK! Great post.

C.R. Evers
11 years ago

another great list! Thnx! :0)