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…
–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
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.