fenced-in playground, slides, swings, jungle gyms, chalk-colored sidewalks, walls covered with artwork, office, restrooms, janitorial closets, classrooms, tiled or carpeted floors, cubbies, lunchboxes, backpacks, jackets hanging on coat hooks, pencil sharpeners…
Children laughing/yelling/talking/singing/crying/playing, teachers talking/yelling/reading, children speaking in chorus, phones ringing, shoes slapping on sidewalk, doors slamming, the snick of scissors, happy music playing, squeaky swings, slap…
Snacks (crackers, granola bars, cookies, chips, fruit), juice, milk, coffee, glue, paint, disinfectant, sweat, urine, air fresheners, freshly-copied paper, rain
Snacks, juice, water, milk, coffee, sand
Heated/Cooled air blowing from vents, a child’s hug, sticky hands, sweaty hair, soft tissues, smooth table surfaces, cracker crumbs on your chair, the scratch of a pencil or crayon on paper, fuzzy carpets, hard plastic chairs, backpack pulling on your shoulders…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: Sarah let the teacher push her kindly out the door, then ran to peek through the window. The class sat in the reading corner, whispering, giggling, pulling on rug fibers to play with them. Molly, her little girl, shuffled to the circle of kids, the fan blowing her hair as she crossed its path. After the longest five seconds of Sarah’s life, a little boy in the circle scooted over so Molly could sit next to him. He held out a baggy of cheese crackers. Molly took one and smiled at her new friend. Swallowing tears, Sarah pushed herself off the cinder block wall and went to work, her shoes making a lonely clacking sound on the tile…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) She wrinkled her nose and turned the fan to blow directly in her face. The four-year-old class after recess smelled like a high-school locker room…
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.