Rock The Vault: Celebrating the Urban and Rural Setting Thesaurus Duo (A Guest Post by Angela Ackerman of Writers Helping Writers)

Rock the Vault banner

Oh, am I excited for our latest guest! Angela Ackerman is one half of the duo at Writers Helping Writers (her co-blogger is the equally awesome Becca Puglisi). And not only do they run one of my favorite websites dedicated to the craft of writing, but they’re also the authors of the best-selling Thesaurus collection – all of which have become instrumental parts of my writing process. Today, these ladies are releasing two new additions to their collection, and I couldn’t be happier to have Angela tell you more about them. Read on!

As we storytellers sit before the keyboard to craft our magic, we’re usually laser-focused on the two titans of fiction: plot and character. Yet, there’s a third element that impacts almost every aspect of the tale, one we really need to home in on as well: the setting.

The setting is so much more than a painted backdrop, more than a stage for our characters to tromp across during the scene. Used to its full advantage, the setting can characterize the story’s cast, supply mood, steer the plot, provide challenges and conflict, trigger emotions, help us deliver those necessary snippets of backstory… and that’s just scratching the surface. So the question is this: how do we unleash the full power of the setting within our stories?


Well, there’s some good news on that 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 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 Rural Setting Thesaurus: Ancient Ruins.

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


Becca 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 the Writers Helping Writers site 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!

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Angela Ackerman

Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: a Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, as well as four others including the newly minted Urban Setting and Rural Setting Thesaurus duo. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site, Writers Helping Writers, as well as One Stop For Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling. She loves connecting, so please say hello on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Interested in guest posting here in the future?  Check out my guest posting policy before contacting me to see if your idea might be a good fit.

20 thoughts on “Rock The Vault: Celebrating the Urban and Rural Setting Thesaurus Duo (A Guest Post by Angela Ackerman of Writers Helping Writers)

  1. It’s so true! Setting is a vital ‘character’ of any story, and often in a way that isn’t easy to pin down.
    Last year, an agent (who turned me down) suggested I move my 1920s stories to a modern setting. I immediately though, no way!
    And you know what? I wouldn’t be able to explin why, but I know that my stories wouldn’t work in a modern setting. They were born in 1920s Chicago and… I don’t know. They just belong in there in a way that even I can’t explain.

    That’s the power of setting, and it’s really like a character. Should someone ask me why is your MC like that? I wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s how she is, That’s her personality. It’s the same for the setting. It truely is another character of the story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • ^^ I couldn’t have said any of that better myself, Sarah. 🙂

      Shame on the agent for asking you to change your story’s time period. I think the Roaring 20’s / Prohibition Era is fascinating. The sensual, rebellious tone to that era is ripe for any genre of storytelling, including fantasy (like yours, in other words).

      That reminds me – Have you heard of A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly? It’s a historical fantasy that came out earlier this year, set in the 1920s; and I’ve been thinking of you as I’ve been reading it. Want me to let you know what I think of the book when I finish reading it?


      • That’s on my TBR list too. I’ve even tried to get it from NetGalley, but it was too late. Shame. I’m going to get it anyway.
        By all means, I’d love to hear what you think about it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. thank you so much Sara! And gosh, such nice things you’ve said. I am very glad we connected, and I am wishing for all good things to come your way. You are exceptionally insightful when it comes to writing craft, and I can’t wait to read your books to see how it plays out in fiction. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve really enjoyed using The Emotion Thesaurus and as you say, scene setting is key to the tone, pacing and style of your story. In many tales the backdrop can become another character, but that can only occur if the author knows that setting inside-out and can depict it with authority.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Sarah. Setting doesn’t always have to be its own character, though it should if the story calls for it. What matters more is grounding the reader in the current location with enough sensory details so they can feel like they’re there with the characters.

      Liked by 1 person

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