Jack-o-lanterns, rubber rats, hairy hanging spiders, fake spiderwebs, candles, orange and black garland, black bats on strings, paper skeletons, fake headstones, coffins, black fabric draped on the walls and furniture, black and orange balloons, strings of orange lights…
Recorded sound effects (howling, cackling, creaking, laughter, moaning, wind blowing, bats screeching, chains rattling etc) people laughing, the rustle of costumes, music, glasses clinking, people talking, doorbell ringing, people running up and down the stairs, yelling…
Pizza, chips, chocolate cake, buttery sweet candy corn, alcohol (if served), pop, water, sweat, chalky/greasy make up, hair spray, candle wax, smoke, Cinnamon, popcorn, perfume/cologne, hair products, stuffy air
Candy, sugar, chocolate, chips, frosting, pizza, spices, apples, water, pop, punch, alcohol, popcorn, jello shots, jelly beans, gummy worms, pudding, cookie crumb toppings, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie/tarts/cookies/muffins/loaf
The feel of starchy crinoline on costumes, sleek silky costume dresses and capes, the greasy feel of face make up, sweat under a hot costume, touching the fur of a dance partner’s costume, sipping from a cup and trying not to get face makeup everywhere…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: After taping the last strip of fishing line from the roof, I climbed down from the ladder an admired my work. With the lights turned down, no one would see the strands in the hall. One touch against the back of the neck or face and people would immediately imagine a spiderweb and freak out…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile)
Erma set the candy bowl on the table and waited for someone to reach in. It had a buzzer inside that would shake the moment someone crossed the motion sensor. All those gummy worms would jiggle like live maggots and she’d bet money that whoever had their hand in there would shriek at the top of their lungs…
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.