cracked/pitted windshield, dusty and faded dashboard, broken window cranks, muddy floor mats, scuffed interior, dial radio knobs, cassette player, broken radio, broken AC or heat, dusty vets, trash on the floor (hamburger wrappers, big gulp cups, coffee take out…
Exhaust rumbling or sputtering, a tinny rattle caused from a loose heat shield, grinding gears, squealing or squeaking brakes, back fires, creaky springs in the seats, a grumbling engine, a scraping whine of the starter trying to catch, chugging/hiccuping/stuttering…
Old food, dust, dirt, crumbling foam padding, smelly feet, spills (soured milk, pop, coffee) oil and grease, cigarettes, air freshener trying to cover the other sells up
cold coffee, water, gum, cigarrettes, take out food, gas station food (beef jerky, chocolate bars, chips, hot dog, peanuts, etc) pop, energy drinks or shots
The smooth knob of the stick shift, the bouncing seat, the resistance of the emergency break, the pressure of the gas pedal, spinning the radio knob or volume knob, shouldering the door to get it to open from the inside, pulling the door handle hard to get it to shut…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Cool air as good as any air conditioner poured through the windows and tossed my pine tree air freshener. Potholes in the dirt road tried to ruin my good mood but the patched seat softened the blows. I grinned ear to ear and turned up the radio. This truck would probably outlive me…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) I stood on the running board of Henry’s truck, trying to figure out where to sit. The bench seat was like the confectionery isle at the Gas and Go–a total mish-mash of beef jerky, pretzel bags, hunting magazines and red bull cans….
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.
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.