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Glossary of Book-Related Terminology

Allegory - A story that has a second, hidden meaning.

Antagonist - The enemy or opponent of the protagonist in a story.

Antihero - A protagonist who's the opposite of a hero.

Aria - In the context of a book, an aria is a longer speech intended to have a growing emotional effect upon the reader.

Back-story - The characters' lives before the book began.

Cliché - A tired expression, overused in popular culture.

Coming-Of-Age Story- A story where the protagonist becomes an adult as a result of a meaningful experience, right of passage and/or discovery of wisdom.

Characterization/Characterisation - The technique of giving a character depth so that he/she seems real.

Crucible - In literature, a situation or environment that holds characters together as their conflict increases.

Dialogue - The conversations and other spoken exchanges between characters.

Diction - Writer's choice of words.

Euphemism- A softened or muted expression of something unpleasant or an embarrassing truth. E.g. "She passed away," instead of, "She died."

Euphony - The quality of sounding pleasant.

Fantasy Story/Genre -Writing set in a made-up world. Characters can include creatures that aren't human. Science Fiction is a similar Genre in which the made-up worlds tend to be more science-orientated. According to Orson Scott Card, if there are Rivets, it's science fiction. If there are trees, it's fantasy.

Figure of speech - A word or phrase not used literally but changed to affect the reader/listener more deeply. E.g. metaphor and simile

Flashback - A scene from the past, often remembered through a particular character's eyes, used to show the reader something that happened before the "present time" in a story. Overuse of flashbacks can damage or destroy the pace of a book.

Foreshadowing - Omens or hints in a story about what might happen later. These are sometimes used by authors to lend a story a sense of significance or  more of a mythic quality.

Literary Fiction - This kind of writing focuses more on the use of language and depth of character. It often also has more psychological depth than popular fiction.

Metaphor - A figure of speech that results when words or phrases that do not normally belong together are brought together. The words "like" or "as" aren't used. E.g. "Life is a Danish pastry."

Narrative Summary - Where the author summarises things that have happened rather than including them in dialogue or in scenes that the reader can visualise. Too much Narrative Summary tends to bore the reader and destroy the pace of a story.

We like to be shown what happened rather than being told. This especially applies to character's emotions, which are much better communicated through their actions and what they say. It's hard to feel what the hero's feeling if you're just told "Elena felt sad".

Pace - The speed at which the story progresses as perceived by the reader.

Personification - A metaphor in which human behaviours and/or emotions are given to other entities. E.g." The young tree swayed in the wind as if it hadn't a care in the world."

Plot - The selection and sequence of events in a story.

Point of View - Through which character's eyes (and mind) the reader experiences the events in a story. The most common points of view are;

1) First person point of view (often preferred by literary fiction) - The narrator uses "I" and takes part in the story.

2)Third person point of view - The storyteller refers to the characters as "he" or "she" and doesn't take part. In order to avoid confusing the reader, each scene or chapter is often limited to following the action, nearby events, and possibly thoughts of a single character in any one scene/chapter.

3)Omniscient point of view - This is a variant of the third person point of view where the author can enter the mind of any character and may flit between their minds.

Protagonist - The hero or lead in a story.

Prose - Ordinary language, without the features of poetry (Eg. Meter, Rhyme, etc.).

Purple Prose - Over-baked, flowery prose.

Scene - In books, a part of a story in which there are no sudden changes in location or in the flow time.

Simile - A figure of speech linking two different things with the words, "as" or "like". E.g.  "Life is LIKE a Danish pastry."

Synecdoche - A figure of speech where a part is used instead of the whole, or the reverse. E.g. "America won the world cup" (where  "America" is used instead of "the American soccer team").

Suspense - Sustaining curiosity, anticipation or anxiety for a long time by leaving something unresolved.

Tension - Periods of anxious uncertainty. We hate these in real life, but relish them in stories.

Voice - The aspects of a writer's style that distinguish him/her from others.