Gleaming polished wood (paneled walls, the bench, witness stand, chairs, tables, doors, lectern), small desk for the court reporter next to the Judge’s bench (enclosed) & Court clerk, the bar (wooden railing or barrier separating the proceedings from the gallery…
Fans, whooshing air conditioning, gurgling pipes in the walls, traffic outside, sirens outside, shifting in seats, wooden chairs creaking, the rustle of papers, testimony being given, footsteps across the polished floor as the prosecutor/defence attorney addresses the…
Light scent of treated wood (lacquer, polishes, varnish, etc), pine or lemon cleaner, air conditioned air, sweat, perfume, hair products & cologne all mingling in the air, stale or coffee breath from the people you sit near, paper, warm electronics (acrid plastic, metallic tang from projectors, etc)
Water, tears, gum/mints/cough drops, dry mouth
Hard wooden seat, arms brushing against spectators next to you, gripping onto a crumpled Kleenex in one tight fist, fiddling with a key fob, zipper tab, watch, piece of jewelry, hands clenched tight, fingernails biting into pads of palms, rubbing at face, pinching the bridge of…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: The court clerk called my name and I stood, swaying a little as the humid air caused a moment oflightheadednesss. One deep breath and I steadied enough to head to the witness stand, my heels making loud tocks against the gleaming floor. Lord above, why hadn’t I chosen more sensible shoes? Were the jurors wincing as I was, praying I’d hurry up and cross this ocean of tile? Poor Tom must be cursing the moment he asked me to come in and testify as his character witness…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Metaphor) Damning evidence aside, the accused’s shoulders bowed under an anvil of guilt, and he refused to make eye contact with anyone. The jury had probably already convicted him on his body language alone…
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.