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.
I just learned about your blog from Chuck Sambuchino. What a great aide when the right word fails to materialize!
Stina Lindenblatt says
This almost makes me want to pull out my wedding video. Oh wait, I can’t. I don’t have a VHS anymore.
Great job as always. I can’t enough of your setting and emotion thesauruses.
Lisa Gail Green says
Awww, this is a nice one. But I don’t get to use wedding imagery too much in YA! Too bad.
Stephanie Faris says
Great tips! I love the way the church seems to come to life in words.
Becca Puglisi says
Welcome, Marina! And thanks, Susan. I’m headed over to check it out!
Susanne Dietze says
Excellent! As a romance writer, I’ve got to write weddings… Thanks for the tips, too.
Matthew MacNish says
I always love the setting entries the most, probably because I’m such a description nerd.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
So cool – I need to spend some time delving into the thesaurus here again, once I start my first draft of the new WiP.
BTW, I’m celebrating bloggers with high NICENESS COEFFICIENT on my blog today, and Shannon gave you a shout-out! I agree. 🙂
Marina DelVecchio says
This is such a great site. I’m a new subscriber, and I just recommended you to a new writer friend, also. I have so much catching up to do. Thanks for all your hard work and for sharing with the rest of us.
Rachna Chhabria says
Hi Angela…nice to meet you. Thanks for the follow. You have an awesome blog.
Angela and Becca….thanks for a lovely post. I enjoyed reading every description and could clearly visualize every bit of it. The bride in her white lace gown and the groom holding the ring and the people listening to the vows. *Sigh*
Becca Puglisi says
It’s amazing to hear how many people have funny wedding stories. We got married in a church with two aisle that angled toward the stage, instead of one center aisle. When I entered, Al couldn’t see me from where he was standing, so he walked across the front of the church. Later, he said he was aggravated that everyone had stood up so he couldn’t see, lol.
Sharon K. Mayhew says
Great description, Becca! I always appreciate the metaphore and simile examples. Thanks! 🙂
Lydia K says
I like the format of these posts! Really great stuff including a few I probably would have forgotten, like the hairspray, or techs in the background.
Lenny Lee* says
hi miss becca! i didnt ever write about a wedding but im gonna save this for when i ever do. i been saving all this symbol stuff you guys post. for sure its gonna help me be a way better writer.
…hugs from lenny
C.R. Evers says
GREAT entry! you RaWk!
Angela Ackerman says
Nice job here Becca–I agree with Traci this brings back memories. I remember the smack of rice to the face leaving the church, lol.
Susan that is so awesome! I can just picture it. Luckily the wailer would have just thought you were eager to start your life with Hubby, not trying to get away from the agony of her song!
Susan Flett Swiderski says
Very nice. I especially like your writing examples. For my wedding, you’d have to add near-hysterical laughter. Even though I’d done everything just so during the rehearsal, I kinda blew it during the real thing. I was supposed to kneel at a little side altar while one of our choir members wailed a hymn. (she was a nice old lady, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her no) But instead of staying at that side altar until the (endlessly long) hymn was done, I knelt, breathed a quick “Thank you!”, grabbed my new husband and took off up the aisle! The wailer was still wailing, and my hubby and I were outta there. Everybody laughed so hard, they couldn’t hear the hymn anymore. But, we’re still together almost 42years later, so I guess starting out with a good laugh wasn’t such a bad thing.
Bish Denham says
Nice. I think this is one many can relate to.
Traci Kenworth says
Ah, the sweet moments of life. Thanks for reminding us of all the little details that go into a wedding, sometimes it’s hard to focus on a scene until just the right words jogs your memory.