Glossary of Terms
B
Backstory
Narrative providing history of the character’s past
      
C
Catharsis
Negative emotions that help either the character or audience

Character arc
A character’s personal development/growth

Characterization
The use of dialogue, thoughts, actions, appearance, etc. to develop the character

Chekhov's Gun Principle
Russian playwright Anton Chekhov quote:  "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be
fired.  Otherwise, don't put it there."  In other words, don't include any unnecessary information in a story.

Cliché
An overused or trite expression

Cliffhanger
An ending that leaves the reader uncertain of the outcome

Climax
The moment of greatest intensity

Clip
A sample of published work

Comprehensive copy editing
See Line editing

Conflict
Opposition between characters, groups of characters, a character within him/herself or a character and a problem

Connotation
The meaning of the word that goes beyond the strict definition

Content editing
Stage of the editing process that focuses on structure, style and content

Copy editing
Stage of the editing process that focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, style and accuracy

Critique
A broad assessment of a piece of work identifying strengths and making suggestions for correcting weaknesses
                    
D
Denotation
The strict definition of a word

Dénouement
See Resolution    

Dialogue
Conversation in the narrative

Diction
The choice of words  
 
Dramatic structure
The five stages are 1) problem definition, 2) conflict, 3) climax, 4) problem resolution, and 5) how the protagonist has changed

E
E-books
Any publication in digital form produced on, published by, and readable on computers and other digital devices.

E-Pub files
Files supported by Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, Adobe Digital Editions, Aldiko on Android, and others. Free and publicly available. Similar in
appearance to HTML.

Elevator speech/pitch
A 20- to 30-second verbal statement about your book, taking no longer than your average elevator ride between two floors.

Epilogue
A conclusion or ending that follows the last chapter

Epistolary
A novel created from letters or other correspondence.

Exposition
The summarization of background information

F
Flash forward
A scene (usually) that takes the narrative forward in time

Flashback
The narration of past events

Foil
A character whose personality is in direct contrast with (usually) the protagonist

Foreshadowing
When the narrator hints at or suggests something that will happen later in the narrative

Freelance
Getting paid by the hour, day or job, etc. rather than a salary
                    
G
Genre
The classification or category of literature for the purpose of shelving a book
                    
H
Head Hopping
Switches in point of view; going from one character’s thoughts to another’s

Hero
The main male character

Heroine
The main female character

Hook
Something that entices the reader to want to read more, usually the first sentence, paragraph or page
                    
I
Imagery
Descriptive comparisons

Indie
Short for independent; published outside of mainstream publishing

Interior monologue
The narrator’s depiction of the internal thoughts of a character

Irony
The difference between reality and appearance                                                                                          

J, K
Kenning
When two nouns are combined to make a new word or phrase (ex: gas-guzzler = car)

L
Line editing/comprehensive copy editing
The stage of the editing process that focuses on sentence structure, word use, tone, style, organization, characterization, writing
conventions and consistency
                    
M
Manuscript (MS)
The original handwritten or typed version of the author’s work

Metaphor
A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to something it’s not (Example: caught my eye)

Mobi File
An open standard file for eBook publishing. Owned by Amazon. May have the .prc or .mobi extension.

Monologue
A character speaking out loud to him/herself

Mood
The feelings or emotional state of a character

Motif
A recurring word, phrase, image, concept, etc. that appears in one's work                                             

N
Narrative
The story

Narrative arc
The stages of the narrative – beginning, middle and end

Narrator
The person telling the story

Non sequitors
Character responses that have no bearing on what was just said

Novel
Fictional prose narrative, typically more than 40,000 words

Novelette
Fictional prose narrative longer than a short story but shorter than a novella, typically 7,500 – 17,500 words

Novella
Fictional prose narrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel, typically 17,500 – 40,000 words
                    
O
Omniscience
Knowing the feelings and thoughts of all the characters

On-spec
Short for on speculation, as in an agent will accept your work with no guaranty they will represent you

Oxymoron
Figure of speech where two contradictory words make a single expression (ex: bitter and sweet)                                             

P
Persona
See Voice
                    
Plot
The basic storyline

Point of view (POV)
Who is telling the story (first, second or third person)

Print on demand (POD)
Books printed as they are sold vs in large quantities

Prologue
Introductory material preceding the first chapter

Proofreading
Stage of the editing process that focuses on typos, spelling/punctuation errors, formatting mistakes and other minor mechanical
problems

Prose
Written material that is not poetry

Protagonist
The main character
                    
Q
Query, query letter
A letter written to pitch a piece of work, usually addressed to an agent, editor or publisher, to see if they are interested in representing the
author
                    
R
Resolution, dénouement
The outcome of a situation or sequence of events; aftermath

S
SASE
Self-addressed stamped envelope

Scene
Dramatic sequence of events

Sequel
A manuscript complete in itself but continuing the narrative of an earlier work

Setting
The general location and time period in which a scene takes place

Show, don’t tell
The use of words that allow the reader to experience the story through the character’s actions, dialogue, facial expressions, or through
specific details rather than tell the reader what to believe

Simile
A comparison of two unlikely things using “as” or “like” (Example: built like a tank)

Style
Choosing words to fit the character or genre

Submission
A completed piece of work

Subplot
A minor or secondary plot

Subtext
What is hidden below the surface of a scene that contributes tension or conflict

Synopsis
A brief summary of the plot of a novel

Syntax
The methodical arrangement of words in a sentence; sentence structure
                    
T
Tag line
The identification of who is speaking (he said, she said, etc.)

Tense
The time of the action expressed by the verb (past, present or future)

Text
A single work of literature

Theme
The central idea that ties the narrative together

Tone
The attitude conveyed by the character’s actions or dialogue
                    
U, V
Voice, persona
The use of language to create believable characters and interesting stories; the style in which the narrative is presented, usually by
syntax, diction, dialogue and tone
                    
W
WIP
Work in progress

Writer’s block
A temporary interruption of an author’s ability to continue writing due to lack of creative thoughts

X,Y,Z
A

Alliteration
Repetition of constant sounds at the beginning of words.

Allusion
An historical, religious, Shakespearean, or literary event or character.

Antagonist
The character who opposes the hero, heroine or protagonist

Antihero
A protagonist who lacks those virtues and morals typically deemed heroic.

Archetype
A familiar pattern, action, model, or image

Atmosphere
The emotional feeling of the narrative created by dialogue, diction, setting and description

Audience
The reader(s)

AZW
Amazon's format for Kindle.



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