Setting Thesaurus Entry: Pirate Ship


Mast, sails, barrels of salted fish, fruit, flour and water, coils of rope, rigging, rope pegs, foredeck, main deck, aft deck, hull, bilges, compass, pirate flag, gun port, cannons, gunpowder, gunwales, stairs, muskets, swords, cutlass, pirates, knives, anchor, ballast…


Sails flapping and rustling, mast creaking, bare feet thumping against the deck, the shudder of the anchor, grunts, groans, the first mate relaying orders, the captain growling/yelling/shouting, salty spray hitting the deck, the caw of seagulls, the slap of the…


Body odor, salt, brine, rotten mean/fish, seaweed, bad breath, sour puke smell on pirates, rum, fish cooking, bread baking, yeast, blood, sun-warmed planks, wine, smoke, gunpowder, hot metal, pipe smoke


Rum, wine, water, salty meat, wizened apples or rotting fruits, hardtack, spit, fish, bread, biscuits, gruel, soup, tea, pipe tobacco


Rope burns, sun burn, heat stroke, cracked knuckles, chapped skin and lips, broken, bleeding lips, hard planks underfoot, crouching on knees, muscles pulling tight in the arms and shoulder as you adjust the rigging r run up the sail, swiping sweat from the face or…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: The sun overhead set the lash marks on Gim’s back afire as he scrubbed the stairwell clean. His muscles trembled with each stroke of the brush, a tender reminder, the first mate explained, for Gim to use his arms to work, not to snatch a cuddle with the captain’s saucy daughter…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) The Captain’s leathery, salt-worn face was as rough as the barnacles crusting the hull of his ship…

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.

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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, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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11 years ago

Thanks Kara. I know a few teachers who have taken this idea and brought it into the classroom, so I hope it helps you as well!

11 years ago

Love the description template. I will need to try this for my writing and also when homeschooling my kids. They would love to do this with their writing!