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Glossary of Terms

ARC [Advance Reader Copy]

A free, not-quite-final version of a book often distributed to reviewers or book convention attendees.

Author

An author is broadly defined as “the person who originated or gave existence to anything” and whose authorship determines responsibility for what was created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work and can also be described as a writer.

Backstory

A backstory, background story, back-story or background is a set of events invented for a plot, presented as preceding and leading up to that plot. It is a literary device of a narrative history all chronologically earlier than the narrative of primary interest. It is the history of characters and other elements that underlie the situation existing at the main narrative’s start. Even a purely historical work selectively reveals backstory to the audience.

Blog

A Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences. – Merriam-Webster

Blog Meme

An internet meme is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet. A blog meme specifically is a post in a blog that then links up to other website that host the meme.  The creator of the meme invites other bloggers to participate. This gives all participants  the opportunity to have their posts shared further. – Wikipedia

Blogosphere

is made up of all blogs and their interconnections. The term implies that blogs exist together as a connected community (or as a collection of connected communities) or as a social networking service in which everyday authors can publish their opinions. Since the term has been coined, it has been referenced in a number of media and is also used to refer to the Internet. – Wikipedia

Characterization

is the concept of creating characters for a narrative. It is a literary element and may be employed in dramatic works of art or everyday conversation. Characters may be presented by means of description, through their actions, speech, thoughts and interactions with other charactersis the way in which authors convey information about their characters. Characterization can be direct, as when an author tells readers what a character is like (e.g. “George was cunning and greedy.”) or indirect, as when an author shows what a character is like by portraying his or her actions, speech, or thoughts (eg. “On the crowded subway, George slipped his hand into the man’s coat pocket and withdrew the wallet, undetected.”). Descriptions of a character’s appearance, behavior, interests, way of speaking, and other mannerisms are all part of characterization. For stories written in the first-person point of view, the narrator’s voice, or way of telling the story, is essential to his or her characterization.

Composition

in written language composition refers to the body of important features established by the author in their creation of literature. Composition relates to narrative works of literature, but also relates to essays, biographies, and other works established in the field of rhetoric.

Copy editing

is the work that an editor does to improve the formatting, style, and accuracy of text. Unlike general editing, copy editing might not involve changing the content of the text. Copy refers to written or typewritten text for typesetting, printing, publication, broadcast or other independent distribution. In the context of publication in print, copy editing is done before typesetting and again before proofreading, the latter of which is the last step in the editorial cycle.

Creative writing

is any writing that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, or technical forms of literature, typically identified by an emphasis on narrative craft, character development, and the use of literary tropes or with various traditions of poetry and poetics. Due to the looseness of the definition, it is possible for writing such as feature stories to be considered creative writing, even though they fall under journalism, because the content of features is specifically focused on narrative and character development. Both fictional and non-fictional works fall into this category, including such forms as novels, biographies, short stories, and poems.

Creative writing can technically be considered any writing of original composition. In this sense, creative writing is a more contemporary and process-oriented name for what has been traditionally called literature, including the variety of its genres.

Dialogue

in fiction, is a verbal exchange between two or more characters. If there is only one character talking aloud, it is a monologue.

Diction

refers to the writer’s or the speaker’s distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression in a poem or story.Diction has multiple concerns, of which register is foremost — another way of saying this is whether words are either formal or informal in the social context. Literary diction analysis reveals how a passage establishes tone and characterization, e.g. a preponderance of verbs relating physical movement suggests an active character, while a preponderance of verbs relating states of mind portrays an introspective character. Diction also has an impact upon word choice and syntax.

Flashback

a scene in a movie, novel, etc., set in a time earlier than the main story.

Genre

A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

The most general genres in literature are (in loose chronological order) epic, tragedy, comedy, and creative nonfiction. They can all be in the form of prose or poetry. Additionally, a genre such as satire, allegory or pastoral might appear in any of the above, not only as a subgenre (see below), but as a mixture of genres. Finally, they are defined by the general cultural movement of the historical period in which they were composed.

Genre should not be confused with age categories, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young-adult, or children’s. They also must not be confused with format, such as graphic novel or picture book.

Giveaway

a thing that is given free, especially for promotional purposes.

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. ““I had fallen through a trapdoor of depression,” said Mark, who was fond of theatrical metaphors”

Narration

is the use of—or the particularly chosen methodology or process (also called the narrative mode) of using—a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including:

  • Narrative point of view (POV): the perspective (or type of personal or non-personal “lens”) through which a story is communicated
  • Narrative voice: the format (or type of presentational form) through which a story is communicated
  • Narrative time: the placement of the story’s time-frame in the past, the present, or the future

 

Narrator

is a personal character or a non-personal voice that the creator of the story develops to deliver information to the audience, particularly about the plot. The narrator may be a voice devised by the author as an anonymous, non-personal, or stand-alone entity; as the author herself/himself as a character; or as some other fictional or non-fictional character appearing and participating within their own story. The narrator is considered participant if he/she is a character within the story, and non-participant if he/she is an implied character or an omniscient or semi-omniscient being or voice that merely relates the story to the audience without being involved in the actual events. Some stories have multiple narrators to illustrate the storylines of various characters at the same, similar, or different times, thus allowing a more complex, non-singular point of view.

 

Plot

is a narrative (and, traditionally, literary) term defined as the events that make up a story, particularly: as they relate to one another in a pattern or in a sequence; as they relate to each other through cause and effect; how the reader views the story; or simply by coincidence.

Premise

The underlying idea of your story-the foundation that supports your entire plot. What the story is about.

Punctuation

Punctuation is “the use of spacing, conventional signs, and certain typographical devices as aids to the understanding and the correct reading, both silently and aloud, of handwritten and printed texts.” Another description is: “The practice, action, or system of inserting points or other small marks into texts, in order to aid interpretation; division of text into sentences, clauses, etc., by means of such marks.”

In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences.  The sharp differences in meaning are produced by the simple differences in punctuation within the example pairs, especially the latter.

The rules of punctuation vary with language, location, register and time and are constantly evolving. Certain aspects of punctuation are stylistic and are thus the author’s (or editor’s) choice.

“Show don’t tell”

it is a technique often employed in various kinds of texts to enable the reader to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition, summarization, and description. The goal is not to drown the reader in heavy-handed adjectives, but rather to allow readers to interpret significant details in the text. The technique applies equally to nonfiction and all forms of fiction, including literature, speech, movie making, and playwriting

Syntax

Is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of sentences in a given language, specifically word order. The term syntax is also used to refer to the study of such principles and processes.

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 (e.g., as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox ).

Story Arc

The purpose of a story arc is to move a character or a situation from one state to another; in other words, to effect change. This change or transformation often takes the form of either tragicfall from grace or a reversal of that pattern. One common form in which this reversal is found is a character going from a situation of weakness to one of strength. For example, a poor woman goes on adventures and in the end makes a fortune for herself, or a lonely man falls in love and marries. Another form of storytelling that offers a change or transformation of character is that of “hero’s journey,”. Story arcs in contemporary drama often follow the pattern of bringing a character to a low point, removing the structures the character depends on, then forcing the character to find new strength without those structures.

Tone

is a literary compound of composition, which shows the attitudes toward the subject and toward the audience implied in a literary work.[1] Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many other possible attitudes. Works of literature are often conceptualized as having at least one theme, or central question about a topic; how the theme is approached within the work constitutes the work’s tone.

Worldbuilding

is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography and ecology is  a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers. Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work.

Writer

a person who uses written words in various styles and techniques to communicate ideas. Writers produce various forms of literary art and creative writing such as novels, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, and essays as well as various utilitarian forms such as reports and news articles. Writers’ texts are published across a range of media. Skilled writers who are able to use language to express ideas well often contribute significantly to the cultural content of a society.[1] The word is also used elsewhere in the arts – such as songwriter – but as a standalone term, “writer” normally refers to the creation of written language. Some writers work from an oral tradition.

Writers can produce material across a number of genres, fictional or non-fictional. Other writers use multiple media – for example, graphics or illustration – to enhance the communication of their ideas. Another recent demand has been created by civil and government readers for the work of non-fictional technical writers, whose skills create understandable, interpretive documents of a practical or scientific nature. Some writers may use images (drawing, painting, graphics) or multimedia to augment their writing. In rare instances, creative writers are able to communicate their ideas via music as well as words.[2]

As well as producing their own written works, writers often write on how they write (that is, the process they use);[3]why they write (that is, their motivation);[4] and also comment on the work of other writers (criticism).[5] Writers work professionally or non-professionally, that is, for payment or without payment and may be paid either in advance (or on acceptance), or only after their work is published. Payment is only one of the motivations of writers and many are never paid for their work.

The term writer is often used as a synonym of author, although the latter term has a somewhat broader meaning and is used to convey legal responsibility for a piece of writing, even if its composition is anonymous, unknown or collaborative.

Writer’s block

the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Writer’s Voice

is the individual writing style of an author, a combination of their common usage of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).Voice can be thought of in terms of the uniqueness of a vocal voice machine. As a trumpet has a different voice than a tuba or a violin has a different voice than a viola, so the words of one author have a different sound than the words of another. One author may have a voice that is light and fast paced while another may have a dark voice.

In creative writing, students are often encouraged to experiment with different literary styles and techniques in order to help them better develop their “voice”. This aspect varies with the individual author, but having this asset is considered positive and beneficial to both the writer and his or her audience.[

Writing Style

refers to the manner in which an author chooses to write to his or her readers. A style reveals both the writer’s personality and voice, but it also shows how he or she perceives the audience. The choice of a conceptual writing style molds the overall character of the work. This occurs through changes in syntactical structure, parsing prose, adding diction, and organizing figures of thought into usable frameworks.

4 Comments

  1. He he, I like it! 😀 x
    Amy recently posted…Maskerade (Discworld #18, Witches #5)My Profile

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