SETTING THESAURUS

ARCTIC TUNDRA



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HELPFUL TIP:

Settings should always be chosen with care. Consider the emotion you want your viewpoint character to feel and how setting choices, weather elements, and symbolism might build a specific mood in the scene, create tension and conflict, or even raise the stakes.
SIGHTS:
A flat landscape
Blowing snow
Ice sheets
Glaciers
Snow banks
Streaking clouds
Far-off snow-capped mountain ranges
Animals (caribou, wolves, musk oxen, hares, polar bears, foxes, snow geese, migrating birds)
Prints in the snow
Hardy tufts of grass peeking out of the snow
Rock formations
Sleds being pulled by dogs
Snowmobiles
Natives dressed in furs and leathers
Hunters with jackets trimmed in animal fur
Snowmobile and snowshoe tracks
Old fire pits and campsites
Simple tents
Tents made of skins
Animal scat
Fogging breath
Smoke from fires rising into the sky
A bright and possibly warmth-less sun (depending on the time of year)
Ice crust
Icicles
Frozen and barren patches of dirt
Scattered and sparse trees
Sunlight glaring off of the snow and ice
Isolated shelters and buildings

SOUNDS:
A wind that shrieks and howls
A flapping tent
The crackle and hiss of a fire
A kettle whistling on the fire
The crinkle of cold fabric (a parka, a tent, bedding)
Snow crunching beneath one's boot
The steady whisper of runners in the snow
Panting dogs
The rev of an engine
A bear's roar
The pattering gait of huskies pulling a sled
The creak of harness and buckles
Birds cawing as they scavenge or hunt
Sneezing, sniffling, and coughing
Snow crystals rattling against one's coat
The crack of a snow axe cutting into the ice
The scratch of wind blowing through tufts of dry grass
The crackling sound as one steps through a crust of snow
Melting snow falling into the fire with a sizzle
Howling wolves

SMELLS:
Sweat
The clean ozone-like smell of fresh snow
Warming leather
Dogs and animals
Fresh kills and found carrion
The wind carrying the scent of briny open water
Wood smoke
Tea
Coffee
Roasting meat
Dead grass

TASTES:
Raw meat
Hardtack
Biscuits
Jerky
Tea
Coffee
Cooked meat
Trail mix or other foods brought for the journey
Melted snow
Salty sweat on the lips
Gamy wild meat

TEXTURES AND SENSATIONS:
The wind slicing at exposed skin
Numbness in the fingers and toes
Chapped skin and bleeding lips
Sunburn on the face
Windburned cheeks and forehead
Cracked knuckles and skin
Pain in the ears from the constant cold
Dry mouth
Shaking from spent strength
One's breath sawing at the throat
Pain in the chest from breathing cold air
Wind-blown snow pinging against one's skin
Headaches
Snow blindness
Disorientation
Dizziness
Spasming muscles
Cold snow against one's hands
Struggling to tie frozen boot laces
Tired muscles slogging through deep drifts
Snow in one's boots or gloves
Sweating from exertion
Burning cold ice
The tingle of warmth returning to frozen extremities
A fire's heat
Brushing away ice crystals that have formed on one's facial hair
Clumsiness due to numb digits

POSSIBLE SOURCES OF CONFLICT:
Hypothermia
Freezing to death
Frostbite
Running out of fuel for one's heat source
Losing one's supplies
Being attacked by wolves
Falling through the ice or snow into a canyon far below the ground's surface
Sustaining a serious injury that requires medical attention
Falling ill far from civilization
Being unable to find food
Losing a glove
Running across hostile locals
Getting lost
Being partnered with a mentally unstable person

PEOPLE COMMONLY FOUND IN THIS SETTING:
Native people, homesteaders, scientists and ecologists, extreme sports enthusiasts

SETTING NOTES AND TIPS:
Most of the Arctic tundra is frozen year round. In the southern regions there is a brief summer season when the snow melts, inciting a burst of plant and animal life. Bogs and ponds form, insects swarm them, and migrating birds come to feed on the bugs. In some of these areas, this is the time of year when the sun is up twenty-four hours of the day. As with any setting, thorough research is paramount to ensure that the climate and animal and plant life are correct for the region you have chosen.


SETTING DESCRIPTION EXAMPLE:

I pulled the tent flap back and shielded my eyes. The sun lit up the ice crystals, transforming the ground into snow-crusted treasure. I smiled and took a deep breath of the cold, invigorating air, glad to have such beauty accompany me on the hike to the polar bear observation station.


TECHNIQUES AND DEVICES USED:
SIMILE, WEATHER

DESCRIPTIVE EFFECTS:
ESTABLISHING MOOD, REINFORCING EMOTION