Check-in counter, ugly shoes, racks of bowling balls, bowling bags, bowling merchandise for sale, dim lighting, neon lights (evening), waxed wooden lanes, gutters, inflatable bumpers for kiddy bowling, plastic chairs, electronic score boards, ball return machine…
Balls crashing/bouncing/rolling, pins scattering, the whirr of a ball returning through the machine, the blow of the hand dryer, distant clank of the bowling machine resetting pins, people laughing/talking/shouting/ordering food/complaining about the ugly shoes…
Floor polish, leather gloves and bags, disinfectant, stale cigarette smoke, perfume/cologne, hot dogs, pizza, nachos, fries, spilled beer, sweaty ugly shoes
chips, candy, nachos, hot dogs, French fries, water, soda, pizzas, beer, gum
Smooth ball, finger slipping into holes, blast of dryer on hands, leather gloves, ball’s weight in your hands, moist feel of ugly used shoes as you slip them on, frayed shoelaces, slippery soles on the wooden floor, vibration of ball return machine as your ball comes…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: The ball was heavy in my hands as I scanned the remaining two pins. A split. Tough shot, and with us down by five, I’d need to hit both. I tuned out the bass-heavy music, the kids screwing around in the next lane, the lights glaring off the alley’s high sheen until all I could see was my target: the inch-square spot on the 10 pin’s right side…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) Watching Emily struggle with her bowling ball was like watching a World’s Strongest Man competition…
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. The Urban Setting Thesaurus and The Rural Setting Thesaurus are 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.
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.