A Glossary of terms relating to Creative Writing
This glossary includes many key terms discussed in this unit that are relevant to the authoring and creative writing process.
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Where the dramatic mood and pace is punctuated by a rapid series of high-tension events and actions.
The wider context or background, which sheds light on the current story.
Causality or causation denotes the relationship between one event (called cause) and another event (called effect) which is the consequence (result) of the first.
A fictional person, with a specific identity and recognisable traits, depicted in a novel or drama.
The lines spoken by characters in novels, plays and films.
A riddle, puzzling person or thing; something that cannot absolutely be known or resolved.
Often drawing on myths handed down orally through the world’s various different cultures, fairy tales feature a number of recognisable formulae and character ‘types’. A ‘fairy-tale’ ending is meant to imply a happy ending to a story, however this isn’t always the case, and often a fairy tale evokes a complex moral lesson.
Where the main protagonists are gay, and usually, but not always, aimed at a gay readership.
A literary or artistic type or style, e.g. thriller or romance.
Style popular in 18th and 19th century novels, involving supernatural or horrifying events.
Established rules and conventions for using language.
Where the action takes place usually at least an entire lifetime ago, often but not always related in the vernacular of the particular period being evoked.
Fiction of any kind where the mood is, before everything, intended to be humorous, although it might also be said to be ‘dark’ or ‘black’ or ‘biting’, where the ‘joke’ of the fiction is something more than merely funny.
In medias res
Literally, ‘in the middle of things’. A story that begins ‘in the middle of the action’, without any form of introductory passage.
The direct, unmediated thought processes of a particular character.
Where the drama involves action perceived in relation to the law, usually involving specific legal details, and closely allied to the ‘courtroom drama’ genre, where most of the action revolves around scenes unfolding in a courtroom.
Aims to convey events in a realistic manner, yet also involving a degree of ‘surreal’ occurrences, or scenes where the laws of ‘everyday reality’ do not apply.
A written or spoken account of a series of events. The part of a literary work that deals with events and action, rather than dialogue.
A short novel of between approximately 20,000 and 45,000 words.
Literally, to know everything.
A particular part of space, described and identified with certain characteristics and qualities, possibly named, though by no means necessarily real.
The mental map of a plot’s progression.
Point of view
The position from which one character views events.
Where the action centres around a real or invented political scenario, usually nationally or internationally, perhaps taking place in a parliament, or during a political campaign.
Where a mood of high tension and excitement is created mainly as the result of psychological drama and dilemma.
Fictional writing that aims to represent ‘everyday’ scenes, speech and behaviour through faithful depiction of ‘real life’ details, without recourse to obvious literary devices or conceits. Also known as ‘truth to nature’.
Where an alternative reality is created, usually in outer space, or on another planet, often involving a high degree of scientific or technical data about that ‘other world’.
The environment and atmosphere in which characters operate.
A length of prose up to approximately 20,000 words in length, most usually of between 1,000 and 5,000 words.
A comparison usually using ‘like’ or ‘as’, e.g. ‘ The clouds were like cotton wool’.
A narrative of events arranged in their time-sequence.
The grammatical structure in sentences.