Setting Thesaurus Entry: Shopping Mall


Crowds, bright store signs, sale signs, glass doors/windows, clothing racks, shelves, displays, washrooms, food courts, benches, garbage cans, specialty item kiosks, shopping bags, store logos, tile floors, plants, escalators, stairs, cash machines, sales staff, customers, people sipping from coffee/specialty drink cups (slushes, ice cappuccinos, etc), baby…


Boots and shoes on tile, people talking, laughing, eching/mish-mashed crowd voices, people calling out to others, cell phones ringing, cash registers printing off receipts, the crackle of a security radio, plastic bags crinkling, zippers on purses & jackets being unzipped/zipped, slurping from straws, kids asking questions/whining/pointing things out to…


Food from the food court (meat grilling, grease, fresh bread products (yeasty, buttery), cinnamon, salt, spicy foods, BBQ, hot dogs, burgers), bad breath, body odor, perfume, hair spray and products, strong perfumes/body sprays from beauty product counters, popcorn, fabric, paper, cleaning supplies, coffee, wet shoes…


water, coffee, pop, mints, gum, the acrid tang of AC, food from the food court (see above), snack food bought at stores (cookies, candy, chocolate, camels, chips, ice cream), cough drops, tobacco chew, dust, dry mouth from dry air


Stepping onto an escalator, pushing past/brushing by other shoppers, leaning against shopping counters, digging through purse for cash or credit cards, digging in pocket for wallet, cup coins in palm and sort through for correct change, the feel of a cool smoothing drink in the hand, sucking on a straw, the drag of heavy shopping bags cutting at…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: Fred sat on the bench outside of Benita’s Fine Clothing waiting for his wife, his arms heavy and his chin dipping toward his chest. He didn’t know what he feared worse–the Visa bill, or that he’d be stuck in this hell-spawned mall until closing…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) Middle age men rushed into the Sony store and their boxing day sale like football players running for the touchdown…

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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9 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Shopping Mall

  1. Ryan says:

    do you have a spaceship entry? I’m writing a fictional story in space and could use the creative boost! Thanks so much and I absolutely love this site! There’s so much potential in it and so much more to discover! I love it! I’m going to order the books as soon as I can!

  2. Pingback: Setting Thesaurus Entry Collection | WRITERS HELPING WRITERS

  3. Bish Denham says:

    I’m not a big mall person. I always feel, particularly in the BIG ones, that I’m in some kind of futuristic self-contained city where humans live and work and never get outside because no one can live there anymore. The other thing is I get overwhelmed by all the STUFF! Yuk.

  4. Erica says:

    Wow, you captured it well, really well. I work in a mall office and I’m there 5 days a week… nice job!

    I would add – if there’s a movie theatre – popcorn smell :o)

  5. I am so impressed at how thorough you are with your lists. Don’t ever quite blogging! I can’t live without your site. Seriously!

  6. Anton Gully says:

    It might be a UK thing, or maybe just a throwback to when I used to frequent shopping malls as entertainment, but I always remember the clammy feel of the hand-rail on the escalators. How it would be moist when the temperature was high, giving it a tacky feel.

    I used to get into SO many scuffles at shopping malls in the summer.

  7. Kelly says:

    I bet you didn’t mind the research for this one 🙂
    I’ve got some gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. I’ve been to busy to go though.

  8. Angela says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

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