Setting Thesaurus Entry: Storm Sewers


Curved cement walls, rusted metal grates, pipes, mesh debris collectors, standing water, canals, raised walkway, manhole access points, ladders, graffiti, mold, mildew, oily, stagnant water, waterlogged garbage, pipes, access chambers, tunnels that branch off the…


Dripping water, splashes, squeaking rats, echos, footsteps, traffic from above, street sounds, subway running nearby, man made waterfalls to create drainage flow, gurgling water in pipes, roaring water when high capacity (during/after storms), running water…


stagnant water, sewage (if used partially for sewage), rot, death, pollutants (motor oil, grease and other ‘roadside’ lubricants that wash in with the street water), the tang of wet stone


That water isn’t for drinking, people! Don’t lick the walls, either. Might taste sweat on lip


Water seeping into boots, cold water soaking clothing, rats running over boots, sliding hand along a slimy wall, the cold iron rungs of a ladder to the street, bumping unseen debris in the murky water, feeling things brush against your legs, holding a hand to the…

Helpful hints:

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1: The beam of my flashlight played off the filth-encrusted walls, the tide line showing where the water had gone down a good four feet. Cold water pressed against my waterproof gear as I entered the offshoot tunnel and an unholy stench slammed into me. I pressed a sleeve to my nose–the blockage I needed to find must be close. After a week’s worth of rains causing flooding in half a dozen neighborhoods, there were sure to be a few deceased pets caught up in the mesh debris catch…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile) The storm pipes curved and twisted like the intestines of a giant mythical creature in desperate need of a thirty day, fix-you-right-up detox cleanse…

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.

Bookmark and Share


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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Setting Thesaurus Entry: Storm Sewers

  1. Pingback: Setting Thesaurus Entry Collection | Writers Helping Writers

  2. Interesting blog post Angela. Never thought about writing about storm sewers, but if I did, this would be the place to come for ideas!

    I liked Heather’s comment about keeping a post it note on the inside of her notebook that lists the five senses to remind her to engage them!

  3. GOOD STUFF!! You always have such fantastic stuff for me to ponder on here…

  4. Wendy Marcus says:

    Can’t say I’ve ever given storm sewers much thought. But now, when I think of one of one, all five of my senses will be engaged.
    Thanks! (I think.)

  5. Heather says:

    I actually keep a post it note on the inside of my notebook that lists the five senses to remind me to engage them! Great post!

  6. Hey Angela- You won Escaping the Tiger on my blog! Email me your address.

  7. Seriously nice (well you know what I mean) words!!!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

  8. MissV says:

    “don’t lick the walls either”

    crack me up! You would think you wouldn’t have to tell people this…but a few years ago my son licked EVERYTHING.

    Happy Momma’s Day to everyone!

    Blog Jog tomorrow! Start at my site or see the master list at

  9. Angela says:

    Stina, I have that affect on people. Beach? Pah. Let’s party in the SEWERS!

  10. I’ve decided the beach party scene in my wip is being moved to the sewer. 🙂

  11. Angela says:

    I think sewers are a good location for all sorts of interesting storylines, but on this one I will fully admit that my reseach was online only, LOL

  12. Indigo says:

    Love all these descriptions! (Hugs)Indigo

  13. Mary Witzl says:

    Ewww… good images, though I use that word ‘good’ to mean ‘effective’. This would be a tough one to do personal research on, what with the cockroaches and the rats!

  14. slcboston says:

    You may not *want* to taste anything, but from rather unpleasant experience I know that if the smells are strong enough, coupled with certain odors in the air, you can taste things.

    Things you don’t want to taste, and faint, to be sure, but it’s there.

    Only other thing missing from your list? Harrison Ford taking a swan dive. 😀

  15. Storm sewers?! You are so clever. I loved, “That water isn’t for drinking, people!” LOL! And your simile and metaphor examples at the end are fantastic – sooooo visual! 🙂

  16. Karen Lange says:

    This is great stuff for good visual images. Have a great weekend:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.