32 Literary Terms Writers Should Know

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Exposition
The background information, or introduction, for the story and is usually related at the beginning of the story. The exposition should introduce the characters and reveal the setting. Conflict may sometimes be established.

Falling Action
The sequence of events that follows the climax and ends in the resolution.

First-person point of view
The narrator is a character in the story and pronouns such as I, me, we, and us are used.

For a more detailed description of first-person point of view, read How to Choose POV in Fiction Writing.

Flashback
A technique used to provide more information about the present and to further develop plot and characters in a way that is more interesting and complicated than a simple chronological plot.

A moment when the linear story is interrupted and launched to an event that occurred in the past (an earlier moment in literary time), usually through a character reminiscing.

Foreshadowing
The presentation in a work of literature of hints and clues that tip the reader off as to what might come later.

Genre
A category or type of literature based on its content and style. Some common genres are Science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, short story, horror, romance, and historical fiction.

Genre fiction
In general, refers to nonliterary works that tend to be written and read primarily for entertainment. Includes the categories of mystery, Science-fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and horror.

Imagery
The author’s use of descriptive and figurative language to create a picture in the reader’s mind’s eye.

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5 comments

[…] L is for Literary Terms Writers Should Know Allusion A reference within a literary work to another work of fiction, a movie, a piece of art, or an event. Used to provide greater context or meaning to the…. Read more here: 32 Literary Terms Writers Should Know […]

Thanks for sharing. Some i might realise are essential but name of terms x

Thanks for this list of terms. As a writer, I know of most of them though I hadn’t heard of Denouement or Malapropism so I learned something today which makes this a good day…

Thank you for visiting and sharing, Richard. Learning new words is fun. 🙂 Have you heard any malapropisms lately?

While I’ve heard of and know many of these, there are definitely a few on the list I’ve never seen. This is definitely a good place to start if anyone is thinking about starting a writing career.

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