Accented:   a word, syllable, or musical note or chord) stressed or emphasized.

Allegory:  A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Alliteration:  The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. 

Analysis: Detailed examination of the elements or structure of something.

Antagonist: The main character in a work of fiction who comes into conflict with the protagonist (hero or heroine). Note that the antagonist does not always have to be a character; it could be a thing or a situation

Assonance:  Resemblance of sound between syllables of nearby words, arising particularly from the rhyming of two or more stressed vowels, but not consonants (e.g. sonnet, porridge), but also from the use of identical consonants with different vowels (e.g. killed, cold, culled) ‘the use of assonance throughout the poem creates the sound of despair’

Ballad: A poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. Traditional ballads are typically of unknown authorship, having been passed on orally from one generation to the next.

Beta Readers: the book is being tested (for free), you can find beta readers online, or start asking friends and family to read your manuscript. This is where you can find potential negative reader reactions, spelling mistakes, timelines, or anything else that the reader finds out of place. You can also find out if the book is a hit.

Biography:  An account of someone’s life written by someone else.

Blurb: is a short summary about the book on the back cover.

Byline: author credited.

Character:  A person in a novel, play, or film. – The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. read our complete guide to characters and story plot.

Characterization: the method used by a writer to make a character in a story seem like a real person. Common ways for writers to illustrate characters is through their speech, dress, actions, and mannerisms.

Chiasmus:  A rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order. 

Chronological:  following the order in which they occurred.

Cliche:  A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.‘that old cliché ‘a woman’s place is in the home’’

Climax: the moment of greatest intensity in a work of fiction; the most exciting and important part of a story, usually occurring at or near the end. The climax is the turning point in the action.

Comparison: A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.

Conflict:a struggle, disagreement, or difference between opposing forces in a literary work, usually resolved by the end of the work.

Connotation: in a literary work, an idea or quality that a word makes you think about in addition to its dictionary definition; an implication that goes beyond the actual meaning of a word. Connotations can be positive (childlike [innocent, happy], dove [peaceful] or negative (chicken [cowardly]).

Contrast: The state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association.

Convention: a traditional or common style often used in literature, theater, or art to create a particular effect.

Example: romantic conventions (characteristics of romantic literature) include the following:

– Imagination and emotion

– A reliance on intuition

– An emphasis on nature and primitivism

– An idealization of life

– An emphasis on sadness, melancholy, psychology, and introspection

Copy Editing: checking for errors: spelling, grammar, consistency, and proofreading.

Denotation: the precise/actual meaning of a word outside of the feelings it evokes; the dictionary meaning of a word or phrase. In fiction writing, writers will play off a word’s denotative meaning against its connotations or implied associational implications.

Example: A four-leaf clover, rabbit’s foot, and wishbone are all considered things that can bring good luck, but they themselves are not luck. Likewise, unicorns, the color white, and white doves can all have the connotation of purity, but they are not part of the actual definition of the word purity. The dictionary meaning of purity is “free from contamination” or “free from immorality, especially of a sexual nature.”

Dénouement: the outcome of a plot; the resolution or final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work. The dénouement reveals the answers to secrets/misunderstandings in the plot and comes after the climax.

Description: a spoken or written account of a person, object, or event.

Dialogue: a written composition in which two or more characters are represented as conversing; the conversations between characters in a literary work, typically enclosed within quotation marks.

Diction: the choice of words, especially with regard to correctness, clearness, or effectiveness, in a literary work. Writers will use words to reveal character, imply certain attitudes, convey action, demonstrate themes, and indicate values.

Draft: unedited version.

Drama:  A play for theatre, radio, or television.

Dramatic Irony: dramatic irony, which often shows itself as some type of miscommunication, occurs when the reader becomes aware of something important of which the characters in the story are not aware.

Editing: is the process of selecting and preparing writing, photography, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information. 

*Copy Editing/Line Editing: is the process of revising written material to improve readability and fitness for its purpose, as well as ensuring that text is free of grammatical and factual errors.

Epic:  A long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation.

Exposition: this also refers to the first stage of a plot, in which necessary background information is provided.

Fable: a narration intended to enforce a useful truth. Fables frequently involve animals that speak and act like human beings.

Fact:  A thing that is known or proved to be true.

Falling Action: the action in a story that occurs after the climax, thus moving it toward its resolution.

Fantasy:  A genre of imaginative fiction involving magic and adventure, especially in a setting other than the real world.

Fiction:  Literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

A Figure of Speech:  A word or phrase used in a non-literal sense for rhetorical or vivid effect.

Fairy Tale:  A children’s story about magical and imaginary beings and lands; a fairy story.

Flashback: when a relevant past event is brought up in the current time of the story. A common way for this to occur is through a narration or a dream. Flashbacks create complications within the chronology of the plot to help enrich the experience of time.

Flat Character: an uncomplicated character in a story who is illustrated by very few traits. A flat character is opposite to a round character. Although such characters are important, they tend to remain static in their temperaments and personalities throughout the story.

Foil: a character in a story whose purpose is to bring out certain characteristics in either the main character or in other characters. Thus, the foil character will contrast with and parallel those characters.

Folk Tale:  A story originating in popular culture, typically passed on by word of mouth.

Foreshadowing: to give a suggestion of something that will happen in the story.

Form:  The structure of a word, phrase, sentence, or discourse.

Format: the layout of the book.

Freytag’s Pyramid: a pyramidal diagram of the structure of a dramatic work; symbolizes Gustav Freytag’s theory of dramatic structure. This “dramatic arc,” as it is known, comprises five parts: exposition (inciting incident), rising action, climax, falling action (resolution), and dénouement.

Generalization:  A general statement or concept obtained by inference from specific cases.

Genre:  A style or category of art, music, or literature.

Ghostwriter: is hired to write the information, but does not take credit for the work.

Hyperbole:  Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Idiom:  A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g. over the moon, see the light).

Image: a mental picture or representation of a person, place, or thing in a literary work. The use of images is a powerful literary tool, as images have the ability to convey states of being, feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Imagery:  Visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work.

Inference:  A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

Irony:  The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Literal Language: a form of language in which the writer means exactly what his or her words denote.

Kenning:  A compound expression in Old English and Old Norse poetry with metaphorical meaning.

Metaphor:  A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Metonymy:  A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Moral:  A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience.

Motive:  A reason for doing something.

Mood: a conscious state of mind or predominant emotion.

Motif: the reoccurring aspect (object, issue) in a story; can also be two binary elements in a piece of writing (e.g., bad versus good). A recurring salient thematic element, especially a dominant idea or central theme.

Narrative: a collection of events featured in a story that are placed in a certain order and recounted to tell a story. The story may or may not be true, and the events are placed in a specific order.

Narrative Poetry:  Poetry that tells a story.

Narrator:  A person who narrates something, especially a character who recounts the events of a novel or narrative poem.

Non-fiction:  Prose writing that is informative or factual rather than fictional.

Novel:  A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

Ode:  A lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular meter.

Onomatopoeia:  the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named.

Oxymoron:  A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).

Parable: a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson, especially one of the stories told by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Bible.

Parody: according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, parody is “an imitation the style and manner of a particular writer or school of writers . . . so as to emphasize and thus satirize the weakness of the writer or the overused conventions of the school.”

Personification:  The attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.

Plot:  The main events of a play, novel, film, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

Poetry:  Literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.

Point of view:   (in fictional writing) the narrator’s position in relation to a story being told.

Predictions:  A thing predicted; a forecast.

Proofreading: the act of finding and correcting mistakes in copies of printed text before the final copies are printed.

Protagonist: the principal or main character in a literary work.

Recognition: the point at which a character acknowledges his or her situation for what it really is; the act of knowing who or what someone or something is because of previous knowledge or experience.

Resolution: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem; the act of resolving something.

Reversal: the point in the plot at which the action turns in an unexpected direction; usually involves the protagonist.

Rising Action: the set of conflicts in a story that lead up to the climax.

Rhyme:   A short poem in which the sound of the word or syllable at the end of each line corresponds with that at the end of another.

Rhythm:  The measured flow of words and phrases in verse or prose as determined by the relation of long and short or stressed and unstressed syllables.

Round Character: a character in a story who is complex, dynamic, and maybe even contradictory; a round character is the opposite of a flat character. A round character’s personality, background, motives, and other features are fully delineated by the author.

Satire: a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc.; humor or a literary work that shows the weaknesses or flawed qualities of a person, government, society, etc.

Science Fiction:  Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.

Sequence:  A particular order in which related things follow each other.

Setting:  The place or type of surroundings where something is positioned or where an event takes place.

Simile:  A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.

Solution:  A means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.

Stanza:  A group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem; a verse.

Subject: the main topic of a piece of writing; what a story is about. A subject can be found in a sentence, a paragraph, an essay, or a book.

Subplot: a subordinate plot in fiction that coexists with the main plot.

Symbol: something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblance, especially a visible sign of something invisible; an object or act representing something in the unconscious mind that has been repressed.

Synecdoche: a figure of speech by which a part is substituted for the whole , the whole for a part, the species for the genus , the genus for the species, or the name of the material for the thing made.

Syntax: the way in which linguistic elements (as words) are put together to form constituents (such as phrases or clauses) in a sentence or line of verse or dialogue. The organization of these words and phrases creates prose, verse, and dialogue.

Tale: a story about imaginary events; an exciting or dramatic story; a story about someone’s actual experiences; an exciting story that may not be completely true.

Theme:  An idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature.

Tone: a particular pitch or change of pitch constituting an element in the intonation of a phrase or sentence; the style or manner of expression in speaking or writing.

Tragic Hero/Tragic Figure: a protagonist whose story comes to an unhappy end due to his or her own behavior and character flaws.

Understatement: saying that something is smaller or less important than it actually is.

Voice:  The distinctive tone or style of a literary work or author.

*Active Voice: the verb focuses on what the subject of a sentence is doing.

*Passive Voice: the verb focuses on what is being done to the object of the sentence.

Workshopping: where a small group of participants attend an educational seminar or series of meetings focused on conversation of information, as in a creative writing group.

Writing Style: the ways in which an author chooses to write words for his or her readers, including how he or she arranges sentences, paragraphs, dialogue, and verse. The style also refers to how the author develops ideas and actions with description, imagery, and other literary techniques.