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32 Literary Terms Writers Should Know

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Logline
A one-line summary of your story.

Malapropism
When a word is used incorrectly, often in place of one that sounds similar to the correct word. This shouldn’t occur in narrative, but it might occur in dialogue to “show” something about a character.

Some common malapropisms are: for all intensive purposes instead of for all intents and purposes, defiantly instead of definitely, and supposably instead of supposedly.

Narrator
The person telling the story, who determines the story’s point of view. In first-person narrative, the narrator is a participant (character) in the story. A story told by a narrator who isn’t one of the story’s participants (characters) is called third-person narrative.

Personification
A figure of speech in which objects or nonhuman organisms are given human characteristics. Generally used to convey feelings about objects or set a mood.

Plot
The sequence of events told in a story or the organization of the main events of a work of fiction. Plot differs from story as it is concerned with how events are related and structured and how change is enacted in the major characters.

A plot line is usually contains five elements: exposition/background information, rising action, climax or crisis, falling action, and denouement/resolution.

Point of view
The perspective from which a story is told. This is the narrator’s position in relation to the story. There are three main points of view: first person, second person, and third person.

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

Protagonist
The main character in a story, novel, drama, or other literary work who opposes the antagonist. This is the character that gains a reader’s interest and empathy. A protagonist should be the most interesting, complex character.

Resolution
The part of the story’s plot line in which the problem of the story is resolved or worked out. Occurs after the falling action and is generally where the story ends.

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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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