Dust, cans of paint, rake, shovels, boxes, axe, hoe, rake, lawnmower, tool boxes, old bikes, folded up lawn chairs, chainsaw, spade, gardening gloves, dirty pots, garden hose, twine, chain, extension cords, dust, chemicals, lawn fertilizer, potting soil, dirty or cracked…
clumping footsteps, dragging a sack of fertilizer across the floor, creaky floorboards, squeaky hinges on the door, bee or fly buzzing against a glass window, moving boxes, metallic clatter as you sort through cans of screws, the clink as a nail drops to the floor…
Dust, dirt, mulched grass from the lawnmower blades, fertilizer, must, rusted tools and nails, sun-baked metal, oil, grease, gasoline
Splinters, lifting a bag of fertilizer or seed by the corners, tugging, pulling, shoving to get at tools or to boxes/items in the back, reaching up to pull boxes of nails down from a shelf, hanging a saw by its handle on a hook, the points and pokes of nails as you reach into a…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Pa said the box with my old train set was in the back of the shed next to my old bike, and I figured it would be the perfect thing to set up for my little cousin Davy. At the doorway I stopped, my smile fading. I’d been in this shed a thousand times, sent in to grab the shovel or and hand full of nails, but now, with night coming on, gloom clung to the walls and shelves and hung over the barrels of feed, making everything unfamiliar. Each breath I took was sour with dust and rot and when a gust of wind sent tree branches screeching across the tin roof, I spun around and high-tailed it back to the house. Me and Davy could just as easily put together a puzzle or play a board game…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) A shabby assortment of rakes and shovels leaned against the rough wooden walls like the old men who gossip on the front porch of Bidsey’s General Store….
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.