Setting Thesaurus Entry: Hotel Room


Key card entry, fire escape plan on the back of the door, closet with non-removable hangers, extra blanket/pillow & iron on top shelf, carpet, Bathroom: small with tub/shower, tiled floor and dings in the walls, fluffy white towels, extra toilet paper on the…


The hum from air conditioning/furnace ventilation, water in the pipes inside the walls, doors opening and closing, voices from people passing out in the hall, the shower, coffee pot perking, the bing of the elevator in the hall, drinks talking to loud as they stumble…


Bleach, cleaners and deodorizers, old carpet, fabric, bleached towels, aromatic shampoos/conditioners/soap, coffee brewing, alcohol, cigarette smells clinging to clothing, perfume, aftershave, hair spray, sweat


Coffee, tea, water, mouthwash, toothpaste, food brought up to the room or through room service (burgers, fries, sandwiches, spaghetti, salads, soup, etc), pop and snacks from a vending machine


Sliding the plastic card into the slot, then yanking it out fast, pulling on the handle while the light blinks green, taking a try or two to get the timing right, the instant freeze of ice on the fingers as you dig a hand into the ice bucket for a few cubes, blowing on a hot cup of…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: I glared at the gloomy white ceiling, then shoved a pillow over my head. Never again would I stay in a hotel hosting a God damn family reunion. First the elevator doors were going off every ten minutes or so, dropping the drunks off. Then, to add insult to injury, these two old biddies show up, practically shouting at each other how wonderful it was to see everyone, and that Lindy’s fiancee seemed like quite a catch and wasn’t it just pathetic how Marvin couldn’t hold a job? Yak, yak, freaking yak! I was five seconds away from storming out there in the buff to tell them it was two a.m. and they should shut the hell up…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) Why didn’t I ask if the room was close to the elevator? Every time the thing went past my floor my bed would shake like a plane readying for take off…

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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2 years ago


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8 years ago

Its a nice post, help a lot. Thank you for the post.

10 years ago

Glad it helps! Happy writing! 🙂

10 years ago

I forgot to thank you for this description when i saw it. I was so busy using it that i just…forgot about how i got the muse i needed. Thank you…(bowing in gratitude)

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Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

PJ Hoover
10 years ago

As always, huge thank you!

Mary Witzl
10 years ago

I can relate all too well!

Odd how hotel rooms all over the world all have a similar smell, that combination of old shoes, aftershave, and starched linen.

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist

I just found your blog and love it! I love thinking about words and using all my senses and all that. Love it! So glad I found you.

Bish Denham
10 years ago

I’m sure most all of us have been in one of these. Certainly I can relate. Good job!

Did I tell you I like the lighter background color? I do.