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The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to City Spaces

(Writers Helping Writers #5)

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  481 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Making readers care and feel like they’re part of the story should be the number one goal for all writers. Ironically, many storytellers fail to maximize one of fiction’s most powerful elements to achieve this: the setting. Not only can the right location become a conduit for emotion, it can also provide conflict, characterize the story’s cast, reveal significant backstory ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published June 13th 2016 by JADD Publishing
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K.M. Weiland
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thorough as ever. Author advocates Ackerman and Puglisi have added yet another comprehensive guide to their wonderful Thesauri series. This one has obviously been researched with sterling care and provides authors with a quick and handy reference and/or reminder of any and all imaginable settings they might need for their latest book. (I even used it to explore ideas for an upcoming trip!)
Elise Edmonds
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The Urban Setting Thesaurus starts with a discussion of how to use setting to assist with characterisation and back story. This leads into a section on how to use the sensory details of the setting to draw the reader into the story.

I agree with the writers that the use of setting in this way is often overlooked, with plot and characters usually being the key considerations. This section of the book has a lot of good advice on letting the setting do some work for you, and how to integrate releva
La Loves a Little Tea and Books
What a great book to have in my collection. As a writer, it's an indispensable tool. ...more
Annie Lima
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I got this handy little book! The introductory material about settings and their purpose is full of great reminders. But the best part is the actual thesaurus part, where you can look up almost any imaginable urban setting and read a detailed list of likely sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures & sensations. In addition, the authors include suggestions for possible sources of conflict in that location, people commonly found there, related settings that may tie in with it (with ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book and I thought it was amazing. It's actually a very useful book for those who really want to improve their writing. I totally recommend it. ...more
Tracey Pedersen
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The perfect writing companion. No matter where you are in your writing journey, this book series will make an immediate difference to your output.
Susanne Dietze
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Writer's Guide books by Ackerman and Puglisi are pure gold to me. I'm slowly collecting them but I use them to help my writing, with everything from character development to enriching my scenes to plot points. They serve as a springboard for me, like brainstorming with a friend. I highly recommend these books! ...more
Harley Christensen
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Good riddance to boring, one-dimensional story settings…

Creating compelling, believable settings is one of the most overlooked yet vital components of storytelling. Too little can make your story feel flat; too much can overwhelm and frustrate readers—either can potentially pull them out of the story or cause them to stop turning pages altogether.

The Urban Setting Thesaurus is part reference guide, part writing tool for developing rich city settings that will add depth to both your backstory and
Sloane Collins
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a dark and stormy night…
Eh, kind of a boring opening, right?

So any good author worth his or her salt would want a really impactful way to describe the setting, one that will draw readers into the story and keep them there. Authors want readers to feel as if they’re living the story through the point of view character’s eyes, so their experience with the book will not only be worth their time and money, but will keep them coming back for more.
This is where The Urban Setting Thesau
Sacha Black
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Both the settings thesauri are fantastic. Much like the first in the series (the emotion thesaurus) it is supremely useful. I particularly like the fact each setting has accompanying suggestions on the right senses. This book is extremely generous in its quantity of different settings. If you're a new writer, this book is perfect for you to bring depth to your witting by ensuring you capture your setting adequately. ...more
Hope Ann
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like their other writing Thesauruses, Angela and Becca's Urban Setting Thesauruses is a wonderful resource for any writer. Not only are dozens of settings described in up to five senses, but variations within each settings are noted, possible conflicts are recorded, and numbers of small scenes give example of how settings can be used to enhance a story. Plus, several chapters at the beginning of the book detail the power of settings and show how you can use them to further enhance your story. ...more
Alexander Shay
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Very handy if you're waffling between certain types of settings for your scenes. Probably the most handy part is the inclusion of different senses that could be included, to avoid just vision through an entire novel. Bringing in other senses is sometimes hard and easily forgotten, so this book can help remind an author of what to add to their prose if they feel it's falling a little flat or feeling a little empty. A lot of generic locations, but a few more unusual ones. ...more
Samantha Stroiazzo
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Though it's made to be a starter and get your own creative juices flowing, I felt it was biased and too short for the price. It didn't live up to the expectations of The Emotional Thesaurus. It still does what it was intended for which is to jump start the creative process so for that I give it a three star review. ...more
 ★ gwiz ★
Great reference book for writing. When I see one of Ackerman and Puglisi thesaurus release I buy it. In fact if there was an automatic purchase feature I would sign up for it.
L.R. Braden
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-craft
Ackerman and Puglisi have published an entire series of books designed to help authors create unique details. Some focus on character building, others on world building. The Urban and Rural Setting Thesauruses focus on the latter.

The main part of these books is the actual thesaurus, which lists places an author is likely to write about. Under each listing, they have included descriptive details you are likely to find in each location arranged by sense: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures an
Joseph Hirsch
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Comic book artists used to use something called a "morgue." It sounds a bit macabre, but the morgue was really nothing more than an alphabetized collection of images of various locations, to which a cartoonist could refer when drawing a scene, in order to give it some verisimilitude. Say, for instance, you wanted to place your character in a bowling alley or in a dentist's office, and you wanted to get the details of those two environments right (we've all been to bowling alleys or dentists' off ...more
Rebecca Allen
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
I received a free copy of Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s The Urban Settings Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces in exchange for an honest review. Since I'm a fan of their Emotion Thesaurus, I was excited to dive in.

The Urban Setting Thesaurus is a wonderful resource for a fiction writer! The bulk of this book and its sister craft book, The Rural Settings Thesaurus, is comprised of two-page entries describing dozens of settings that could pop up in any fiction genre — from a police c
Willow Woodford
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Urban Setting Thesaurus opens with some great suggestions on how to use setting to make your story come alive and then an entries for various settings and what they might be like. They include the sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and possible sources of conflict that might come from that setting amongst other suggestions. Again, an invaluable resource.

I have the whole set on my kindle which I can carry with me for easy reference. On the Kindle version the table of contents is linked and y
Osiris Brackhaus
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Was excited about the idea, but realized I had the wrong book after reading through the table of contents - entirely centered on the USA and a few locations that US writers might deem 'exotic'. For a book that is supposed to help writers avoid using tropes and cliché descriptions, this is damning. I agree, the individual locations are well researched and described, but if you are looking for anything that helps you avoid banalities or write anything outside the US, this is not the book. ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love all the books these two authors published thus far. With me being a country girl of meager means, this book was very helpful for writing a book with part of the setting being urban. I don't have the $ to travel to all the places I may want to write about. This book helps me create places similar to the places I would like to go. I also like Ackerman and Puglisi's blog and website. There is so much helpful information that writers can obtain from these two ladies. ...more
M.A. Nichols
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this series of books. They're great desk references for authors wanting inspiration for their writing. It helps spur new ideas and helps your writing from becoming stagnant and repetitive (just like having a regular thesaurus does for your word choice). I would highly recommend these books for anyone looking to improve their craft. ...more
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a prize from the authors. I loved it so much I bought the rest of the series too. Accurate and incredibly useful to the creative process and to editing, I highly recommend this book (and the others in the series).
Ivy Seablom
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I thought this was a spectacular tool that outlines and details many locations that I may not necessarily get a chance to really see or explore for myself. It’s a perfect helper so my places within my books really have a well built world that feels realistic.
Jane Nash
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a brilliant resource for authors who are stumbling with writer's block - all of this series are a great brainstorming exercise done for you - now it's time for you to make the magic on the page with all these juicy tidbits. ...more
Ronel Janse van Vuuren
Okay, so this is also my favourite one in the series as it’s about settings, only focusing on urban settings. There’s so much here to make your setting a character, essential in your story, instead of just a place where things happen.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-books
Another great tool for authors!
Holly Davis
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5/5!! Another must-have thesaurus which should go hand-in-hand with The Rural Setting Thesaurus. So grateful for these writing staples!!
Another great reference book by Ackerman. I use this quite often and find it very helpful.
Roger Alderman
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book always remains close by as I work on my own fiction titles.
Eric Huffbind
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference
All I can say is that these sets of Thesauruses is a must for any author of fiction. It's a tool I can't live without!

Eric Huffbind
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ANGELA ACKERMAN is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of 8 bestselling books for writers, including The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (now an expanded 2nd Edition). Her books are available in eight languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world.

Angela is also the co-fo

Other books in the series

Writers Helping Writers (8 books)
  • The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression (Writers Helping Writers, #1)
  • The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws
  • The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes
  • The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Personal and Natural Places
  • The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma
  • The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers
  • The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Volume 1)

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