Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Rock The Vault: Celebrating The Release Of The Urban And Rural Setting Thesaurus

Setting descriptions are a personal bane of mine. It doesn’t occur to me to add them while I’m hammering away at the plot, so I rarely bother with them in my first drafts, or my second… or my hundredth. I usually only add them after my critique partners complain.

I suspect part of my problem has to do with an inability to think up descriptions that don’t seem boring and cliché, so I’m always on the lookout for any resource that might help bolster this aspect of my writing. And one such resource has just arrived on Amazon. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, the authors of the ever popular Emotional Thesaurus, have pooled their talents to bring us The Rural Setting Thesaurus and the Urban Setting Thesaurus. These books are a compilation of the various sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations one might expect to find in a wide variety of settings, including graveyards, ancient ruins, farmhouses, schools, caves, and best of all, school science labs! Examples designed to jog your creative juices so that you can generate vivid descriptions for your own scenes.

I especially enjoyed the first part of the book, where the authors explain the technique of using setting descriptions, not only to ground the reader in the surroundings, but also how they can be used to set the mood, or foreshadow future events, or to generate conflict, concepts that never would have occurred to me on their own.

In summary, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in boosting their descriptive chops, so check out the blurb below.  And don't forget to enter the ROCK THE VAULT event.


There's nothing better than becoming lost within the story world within minutes of starting a book. And as writers, this is what we're striving to do: pull the reader in, pull them down deep into the words, make them feel like they are experiencing the story right alongside the hero or heroine.

A big part of achieving this is showing the character's surroundings in a way that is textured and rich, delivering this description through a filter of emotion and mood. It means we have to be careful with each word we choose, and describe the setting in such a way that each sight, sound, taste, texture, and smell comes alive for readers. This is no easy task, especially since it is so easy to overdo it—killing the pace, slowing the action, and worst of all, boring the reader. So how can we create a true unique experience for readers and make them feel part of the action while avoiding descriptive missteps that will hurt the story?

Well, there's some good news on this front. Two new books have released this week that may change the description game for writers. The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to City Spaces and The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural Spaces look at the sights, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds that a character might experience within 225 different contemporary settings. And this is only the start of what these books offer writers. In fact, swing by and check out this hidden entry from the Urban Setting Thesaurus: Antiques Shop.

And there's one more thing you might want to know more about....

Rock_The_Vault_WHW1Becca and Angela, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, are celebrating their double release with a fun event going on from June 13-20th called ROCK THE VAULT. At the heart of Writers Helping Writers is a tremendous vault, and these two ladies have been hoarding prizes of epic writerly proportions.

A safe full of prizes, ripe for the taking...if the writing community can work together to unlock it, of course.

Ready to do your part? Stop by Writers Helping Writers to find out more!


  1. I've seen this a couple times. Such a great event and wonderful resource for writers. I totally believe in setting being a symbol/mood setter.

  2. I'm right there with you on description. Soooo hard for me!! I would rather write 100 pages of dialogue than one of description.
    I love this Thesaurus series. And now you have me curious about the Vault event. Have to check it out.

  3. Those sound good, Ken. Describing urban settings--pretty cool.

  4. You are such a superhero, letting me take over your blog like this--thank you so much, Ken! <3 *waves to all the familiar faces* Thanks for the kind words and support, guys--you rock!

  5. I, too, suck at settings. It's great to have resources out there to help people like us!