A church and all that it usually contains, soft lighting, real or electric candles, candelabras with wax dripping down the sides, flower arrangements, white silk bows on the pews, cloth runners down the aisle, rose petals strewn down the aisle, men in tuxes standing in a row…
guests whispering, programs being turned and folded, babies fussing, soft piano/keyboard/organ/harp/flute/guitar music, doors opening, a hush that falls when the ceremony begins, the rustle of silk and taffeta as the attendants come down the aisle, oohs…
Burning candles, wispy candle smoke, flowers, hair spray, perfume, cologne, chewing gum, mints
tears, gum, mints
a sharp-cornered envelope with a check inside, the boxy weight of a wedding present, stiff/starchy feel of new clothes, your shoes sinking into the thick carpet, a hard wooden pew, a soft-cushioned pew, people pressed closely together, folding/rolling of the program…
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
Example 1: The wailing was so loud, Drew could barely hear the pastor. Good grief, she sounded like a paid mourner. He screwed up his face and cocked an ear to hear the words he was supposed to repeat. Mumbling the vows–no one would be able to hear them anyway, bar shouting–he gave his bride a tentative smile. She winked and rolled her eyes at his mother’s dramatics, and Drew’s smile grew. He guessed she knew what she was getting in for…
–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile) Squeezing me into that bridesmaid’s dress was like pushing pudding through a sieve; it was possible, and no one really wanted to do it, least of all the pudding…
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.
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.