32 Literary Terms Writers Should Know

April 14, 2016 | Posted in April 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, Author Resources, Writing & Grammar Tips, XterraWeb Book Blog | By

L is for Literary Terms Writers Should Know

32 Literary terms writers should know. Plot, conflict, denouement, POV, characterization, climax, setting, style, voice.

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 situation being written about. Carries a risk of alienating readers who don’t recognize the reference.

Antagonist
The character in fiction who opposes the protagonist (hero/heroine) and can provide the story’s conflict. Also known as the villain, bad guy, nemesis, anti-hero, and enemy.

Characterization
The process through which a writer makes a character seem real to readers.

For more details, read Character Development: How Well Do You Know Your Characters.

Climax
The most dramatic, meaningful, and suspenseful moment in a story. All drama that has been developing reaches a breaking point when something or someone must change. Considered to be a moment of great intensity and point of maximum interest in a story. Generally brings events to a head and leads to the conclusion.

Conflict
The result of competing desires or the presence of obstacles that need to be overcome. Conflict is necessary to propel a narrative forward; the absence of conflict amounts to the absence of story. Often considered to be the heart of a plot. Conflict can be internal or external.

Common types of conflict are: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, man vs. society, man vs. fate, and man vs. machine.

Denouement
French word meaning an untying and represents the unraveling of the complexities of the plot and the clarification of the story’s details and misunderstandings. This is the series of events that follow the plot’s climax and can be the conclusion or resolution of the story. The exception is mystery novels, in which the denouement and climax may occur at the same time.

Dramatic irony
When words and actions of the characters have a different meaning for the reader than they do for the characters. The result is that the reader will have a greater knowledge of something than the characters.

Dyamic character
A character who changes significantly and has obvious growth and/or development throughout the story.

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.

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.

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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10 Kindle Formatting Tips

April 13, 2016 | Posted in April 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge, Author Resources, XterraWeb Book Blog | By

K is for Kindle Formatting Tips

Authors can learn how to format their books themselves, or they can hire freelancers. Whether you choose to format your own book or hire someone, these tips will help with the formatting process.

10 Kindle Formatting Tips. Kindle e-book formatting.

1. Research or Hire a Freelancer
If you choose to format your own book, there are many guides, tutorials, and videos available to help with e-book formatting.

Recommended Guides

If you choose to hire someone, thoroughly vet that individual or company. Consider pricing, turnaround time, testimonials from previous clients, experience, work samples, and files you’ll receive.

Recommended Formatters

2. Use Page Breaks
Use a page break for each new chapter/heading. Kindle doesn’t use actual page numbers as pages change based on e-reader settings (e.g., font, text size, line spacing).

Using page breaks after each chapter will ensure the chapters are clearly sectioned for readers and the next chapter begins on a new “page.”

In Microsoft Word, create a page break by simultaneously pressing the CTRL and Enter keys or by going to the Insert tab in the ribbon menu and then clicking the Page break button.

3. Layout Options—Kindle Conversion Likes/Dislikes
The Kindle conversion process can be “picky.” There are layout (or formatting) options Kindle likes and doesn’t like. The options that aren’t liked should be avoided.

Kindle Conversion Likes

  • Indentations
  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Underline
  • Headings styles
  • Paragraph Format Styles

Kindle Conversion Dislikes

  • Two spaces after periods
  • Tab spacing
  • Bullet points
  • Headers
  • Footers
  • Text boxes
  • Auto numbering
  • Tables
  • Special fonts
  • Special Word styles

4. Use One Space After Periods (full stops)
The Kindle conversion process doesn’t like two spaces after periods. Only one space should be used.

In Microsoft Word, you can check for and remove the extra space by doing the following:

  1. On the Home tab in the ribbon menu, click the Replace button at the far right or use the shortcut key combo of CTRL + R.
  2. In the Find and Replace window, click in the Find what: text box, and enter a period with two spaces after it. Next, click in the Replace with: text box, and enter a period with one space after it.
  3. To make all changes automatically, click the Replace All button. Continue clicking the Replace All button until it returns “0 Results.”

5. Remove Tab Spacing
The Kindle conversion process doesn’t like tab spacing. Some people use tab spacing instead of the paragraph styles indent options.

In Microsoft Word, you can remove tab spacing by doing the following:

  1. On the Home tab in the ribbon menu, click the Replace button at the far right or use the shortcut key combo of CTRL + R.
  2. In the Find and Replace window, click in the Find what: text box, and enter ^t. Leave the Replace with: text box blank.
  3. To make all changes automatically, click the Replace All button. Continue clicking the Replace All button until it returns “0 Results.”

6. Centered Text
Don’t use the space bar or tab key to center text. This may give text the appearance of being centered in your document; however, Kindle e-reader settings will not interpret this text as centered. If you must center text, use the align format option and select center alignment.

7. Footnotes Or Endnotes
For citations, footnotes don’t work with e-books, primarily because you cannot determine where the end of a page will fall in an e-reader. The best option is to use endnotes instead. Endnotes can be included at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book.

8. Using Images
Images can be included in e-books. For your images to be displayed properly, certain guidelines must be followed.

The preferred file format is JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg). JPEG files can be re-sized easily in Kindle-sized format. A resolution of 300dpi will provide the highest quality images. Check image height and width requirements through Amazon as these will be different depending on the purpose of the image (e.g., chapter heading, scene break, image within text).

Images should be kept on their own line and centered. Don’t “float” images to the left or right of text or “wrap” images with text.

If you are using Microsoft Word to insert images into your e-book file, use the ribbon menu Insert tab and then click Picture. DO NOT Copy and Paste images from another program into Microsoft Word.

9. Pages/Content Order
Your e-book file should contain certain pages/content in a specific order. Depending on the author and the book, some of these will be optional. Some authors choose to include “extras” in their front matter such as excerpts from reviews of their book or a call to action. The order of back matter pages is not set in stone and will vary depending on the author and what he/she chooses to include. It should be noted that some authors choose to include the Acknowledgments with Back Matter to ensure as much of the first chapter is available for Amazon Look Inside and Download Sample features.

  1. Book Cover
  2. Clickable Table of Contents (ToC)
  3. Front Matter Pages: Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication, Acknowledgments, Preface or Prologue
  4. Book Content
  5. Back Matter: Author Bio, Call to Action (e.g., website and social media links, newsletter signup link, review link, other book links), List of Author’s Other Books, Note from the Author, Glossary, Appendices, Index, and Preview/Sneak Peek to the first chapter or two for one of the author’s other books.

10. Preview Kindle e-book File
Preview your Kindle e-book file to check if it will display correctly in all Kindle e-readers. This can be done easily by using the Kindle Previewer and Kindle Gen tools which are available for download under Prepare Your Book > Tools and Resources.

Please comment with your experiences and tips for ebook formatting. If you hired someone and would like to recommend them, please share their link in the comments.

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