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32 Literary Terms Writers Should Know

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Rising action
The series of events that lead to the climax of the story, usually the conflicts and/or struggles of the protagonist.

Setting
The physical and social context in which the action of a story takes place. The major elements of setting are time, place, and social environment. The setting can also be used to evoke a mood or atmosphere to prepare readers for what is to come.

Situational irony
An occasion in which the outcome is significantly different from what was expected or considered appropriate.

Static character
A character who changes little and has no real growth and/or development throughout the story.

Style
The way in which an author uses words that give his/her voice a distinctive manner of expression. Style is the combined qualities that can distinguish one writer’s work from another writer’s work.

Theme
The dominant idea a writer is trying to convey to readers. The theme is an abstract concept that is made concrete through images, characterization, and action in a story. The theme provides a unifying point around which plot, characters, setting, point of view, and other elements are organized.

Third-person point of view
The narrator isn’t a character in the story and pronouns such as he, she, it, they, and them are used.

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

Voice
1) The author’s style. The quality that makes the author’s writing unique and conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character.

2) The characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator.

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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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