Clothing on hangers, laundry hamper, pile of rumpled clothing, orphaned socks, shoes lined up in a row or thrown together in a jumble, shelving, coats, books, board games, stuffed animals, keepsakes from childhood, boxes of Cd’s, old electronics, scarves, ties, bathrobe hanging off the door, mirror on the inside of the door, folded sweaters, box of photos…
SoundsMusic from the bedroom, squeaky door hinges, a shift in the clutter that leads to an avalanche when the door is opened, silence, clinking of metal hangers, rustling fabric as you sort through clothing options
Dirty laundry, dust, shoes, gym socks, a mouldering lunch forgotten in a backpack, fabric softener, lingering perfume/body spray
Turning or pulling on a knob, sliding hangers along the bar, sorting through clothing, feeling the different cloth textures (wool, polyester, cotton, silk, chenille, denim, etc), sliding hand down along the sleeve of a shirt and holding onto the cuff as you decide whether to choose it or move on, plucking a ball of lint or hair from a piece of clothing, holding jeans up to waist to guess if they will still fit, fingering a loose button, scooping scattered dirty laundry int a basket, flinging aside…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Betty Ann knew there was nothing in her closet, nothing but her folded up sweaters and jeans lying neat in their drawers and her old collection of teddy bears sitting on the shelf now that she was too old to display them out in the open. No, there was nothing in her closet…but after watching The Ring, she decided to get out of bed and close the half inch shadowy gap of the door anyway.
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) Inside Bobby’s closet the overflowing laundry hamper had tipped over like a drunken teen experiencing his first keg party.
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.
Mary Witzl says
Ooh — I just saw Kate’s comment. I was pretty sure I wasn’t the only one with sloppy teenagers, but it’s nice to be reassured just the same!
Mary Witzl says
Once again, great examples.
Everything is spot on here except for that very first sentence in ‘Sight’: ‘Clothing on hangers…’ Clothing actually ON hangers? I don’t believe mine ever achieved that. And don’t forget the monotonous whine of Mom’s nagging voice!
Keri Mikulski says
Good one. 🙂
Roni @ FictionGroupie says
This is a great one! My room used to be littered with fallen Teen Beat pin up posters because my mom wouldn’t let me put tacks in the wall, so she made me use that putty stuff and it never held, lol. So my room looked liked it had rained New Kids on the Block. 🙂
Awesome. I could use this. I’m writing a YA 🙂 Thanks again!
What did you say? Clothing on hangers? That’s not my teenager’s closet. His clothes are all on the big shelf – the floor.;)
Another good list.
Tara McClendon says
Wow. This post reminds me of what my closet used to look like. :] I’d add moth balls to the taste. Or cedar. My mom was always tossing one or the other into my closet. And they both added an odd flavor to the air.
Arlene C. Harris says
I am *so* glad I found this blog through Nano… a teenager’s room (including the closet) is actually a plot point and I bookmarked this thing so when I go back into editing, this post is my new BFF to flesh out the descriptives 🙂
Excellent work! Much appreciated.
PJ Hoover says
Sweet! You seriously have the best example ever!