Sun dappled water, kids splashing, swimming, waving, jumping, dunking, diving, plugging their nose, adjusting goggles, slapping at the water with pool noodles, paddling, kicking their feet, spitting out water, swiping wet hair off the face, wiggling a finger in the ear…
Laughing, shrieking, calling out to one another, shouts, gasps for air, stuttering voices as you catch your breath, moms yelling at their kids, life guard whistle, leaves rustling, water splashing and sploshing, the spray of a shower snapping on and off, belly flops, feet…
Chlorine, sunscreen (coconut/oily/fruity), bug spray, oil and grease from fries at the concession, grass, suntan lotion, fabric softener from clean towels
Concession food: (Pop, juice, water, freezies, slushes, ice cream, chips, nachos, fries, hot dogs, chocolate bars), gum, mints, sandwiches, fruit or berries, chlorinated water, sunscreen leaking into mouth,
Gritty concrete underfoot, slippery tiles, soft, cool water, water drizzling down face and legs, drips of water landing on the feet, hot walkways, clean towels rubbing against the skin, prickly grass sticking to swimsuit and skin, snakes of hair clinging to neck and…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: After pulling myself out of the pool, I plodded across the gritty cement to where my crumpled towel lay. Water dripped off me like a rainstorm as I bent to shake grass off the striped fabric. A few minutes lying in the sun and I’d be dry enough to bike home…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Metaphor) The two-year-old sputtered and kicked in her blow-up water chair, a determined tug boat straining to explore the shallow waters.
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.