Setting Thesaurus Entry: House Party


Crowded hallways, people sitting on the stairs, beer cans/bottles left on tables, blasting stereo, haze from cigarettes/pot, decorative lighting, cheesy decorations, line ups for the bathrooms, people crowding onto couches, chairs, dancing, groups standing around the pool table or Foosball table, bowls of chips, pretzels, popcorn strewn about, steady traffic to…

SoundsLoud music, laughing, yelling, shouting, crying, screaming, arguing, glass breaking, smoke alarm going off, doors opening closing, beer bottles on the fridge door clinking together every time it’s opened/shut, glasses thumping onto the table, drunken whooping, the click of pool balls hitting each other and shuttering into pockets, cries of indignation of…


Spilled beer, hair products, perfume, aftershave, alcohol, spicy chips, fresh microwaved popcorn, pizza, pot, cigarette smoke, vomit, sweat, beer breath


Alcohol, pop, water, cigarettes, pot, gum, mints, chips, popcorn, pretzels, pizza, beer, coolers


Sticky counters, crunchy chips under foot, the poke of stepping on a beer cap against the heel, bumping, pushing, shoving, shoulder sliding together as you pass someone on the stair or tight hallway, feeling an anonymous pinch or grope in a crowded room, hugging drunk people, brushing up against others as you dance in a crowded space, a cool beer…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: I staggered down the hallway, bumping into people and mumbling apologies until I reached the bathroom. I squinted, but it didn’t help my focus. No matter how hard I tried, there were three doorknobs on the bathroom door. “I’ll take number two, Alex,” I slurred, honing in on the middle one…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Metaphor) Out on the back deck, the joint passed from hand to hand, a single demonic eye moving through the shadows…

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

This can also apply to dorm parties.


[…] House Party […]

Sherry Soule
7 years ago

This so helpful! I can’t wait for you guys to create a “setting Thesaurus” book!

If you have a minute, check out my books!

Lindsey Edwards
10 years ago

I love this! I actually do this for myself, so cool to know others do the same and I’m not alone!

Theresa Milstein
10 years ago

I’m glad I found your blog. Writers need to get inside their characters’ heads to experience all that they’re experiencing. If we don’t get and incorporate these kinds of details, our stories will be one-dimensional.

Matthew Rush
10 years ago

Not much specific to say about this as your post is awesome at a level equal to all your other posts – as usual.

I do love the simile about the party goers worshiping the keg. I can remember feeling that way a little bit in high school; thinking that beer and liquid courage were the only way I could talk to girls.

Jenna Reynolds
10 years ago

I’m revising a party scene so thanks a lot for this!

Jennifer Major
10 years ago

really helpful!! Thanks

Karen Lange
10 years ago

Wow, this brings some interesting images…Thanks, as always, for sharing.
Happy weekend,

Kirsten Lesko
10 years ago

Mmmm – this party smells great! Brings me back to the good old days. LOL.

10 years ago

Thanks for the post! It was great!!

Shannon O'Donnell
10 years ago

I think it’s been too long since I last told you that you’re BRILLIANT! If you could only keep one blog as a writing resource, it would be yours. 🙂

Bish Denham
10 years ago

Wow, great post! I was like, you know, there!