Flagstone floor, stone block walls, thick, reinforced wooden door, narrow slit windows high on wall, castle banners and colors, candles or lanterns for a light source, racks with weapons of the era: sharpened spears, poleaxe, polearm, halberd, tables holding spiked…
The clink of metal, hammer on steel, the hiss of steam, crackle of flame, the grinding rasp of metal against the granite sharpening wheel, chain links clinking, creaks, scrapes, the quiet crumple sound of leather creasing, heavy boots against the stone floor, grunts, steel…
The tang of metal, smoke, oils, leather, cold stone, wax, gunpowder, soot, blood, polished wood, sweat
Leather-wrapped sword handle against palm, the drag of a shield and armour on shoulders and arms, the burn of chafing leather against skin, the pull of a chain mail shirt, curling fingers around a smooth pole weapon, testing the edge of a blade for sharpness with thumb or finger, the press of bodies, bumping/nudging against other soldiers, a…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Edmond raced into the armoury, following the acrid scent in the air straight to the four casks of oil sitting along the far wall. The squire rubbed at his watering eyes, debating on how to best transport them and then heaved the first into his arms. Rolling the casks across to the doorway would save his energy for the stair climb to the castle walls, but the uneven flagstones might weaken the seal on the barrel. He dare not risk it. A fire here would not only claim his life, it would write the ending to the war…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Metaphor) As enemies hacked at the bolted armoury door, fear slipped down Amos’ back in burning trails, setting fire to the raw skin beneath his chain mail shirt…
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.
How clever. I list descriptors by category on my blog, but you’ve taken this to a whole new level. I may borrow the idea.
Slushpile Slut says
Popping in to say I LOVE this!! Thx so much for all your hard work 🙂
Nicholas Klacsanszky says
This is a very interesting concept – to group a subject of words into one framework. This is extremely helpful for writers. It is true that regular thesaurus’ don’t really do the job.
The thesaurus posts on your blog seems akin to the Thinker’s Thesaurus, a kind of intuitive and close to reality thesaurus. Sometimes it’s just fun to read even when not looking for words.
You’ve got some great suggestions here. Good list!
Susanne Drazic says
Wow, great list! Thanks for taking the time to put these together.
Rebecca Ryals Russell says
I LOVE this site. Sure makes it easier to come up sensory details while writing. Awesome.
Jaleh D says
This is going to come in handy at some point. Soon. I imagine. 😀
Sharon K. Mayhew says
Wonderful post, Angela! You took me to the armory in Edinburg, Scotland… Very nice!
Ahhh, this is my happy place, truly. Excellent post! I love the examples.
Angela Ackerman says
Great glad this one is fueling imaginations. Happy writing!
Riv Re says
Thanks for this! These entries are brilliant, and some really help my writing! I’m writing a fantasy with lots of war and battle, and this is really useful! Thanks again!
How do you do it, Angela? I write contemporary fiction but reading through this list was practically a novel itself (and lots of fun)–I could hear the “crackle of flame” and smell the “gunpowder”!
Becca Puglisi says
Excellent job, Angela!
Shannon O'Donnell says
Your examples are fantastic with this one, Angela – love it! 🙂
Karen Lange says
Wonderful, as always! Love the examples, too. Have a great weekend!
Michelle Gregory says
perfect. just what i needed for my story. now to find something on medieval war camps.
Joanna St. James says
I went to a medieval village once its called Eze near nice I have to go back because my battery went donw right before i climbed the hill