Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #005.

Like any career or hobby, there’s a whole world built around writing that you may just be beginning to scratch the surface of. And let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to respond if someone on Twitter asks if the MC in your WIP finds the McGuffin, or if it was just a red herring all along. 

Well that’s what the Writing Definitions guide is going to be for. Rather than spending countless hours trying to develop a feel for what  all these various terms mean, a few specific terms will be defined with each issue of The Writer’s Everything.

They will be divided into eight different categories, Character, Plot, Structure, Genre, Narrator, Story Development, Writer, and Business-related terms. I hope that as this magazine continues, these terms can come to be so familiar to you that they become second-nature.


Scene

A unit of story structure in which either action or dialogue, or both, takes place. Scenes generally only take place in one location, or during one conversation. The end of a scene is called a scene break.


One-Dimensional

A character that either lacks depth or fails to develop and evolve over the course of a story. An intentionally one-dimensional character may be used to highlight a particular, usually negative, trait.


Inciting Incident

An event which launches the actions of the story, usually by drastically impacting the life of the main character and moving them to action.


Climax

The point in a story where the rising action or tension of the second act reaches its peak, or highest point, and which leads to falling action and the denouement.


Manuscript

Any copy of your novel during the writing or editing process, up until actual publication. Authors usually send their manuscripts to publishers.


Foreshadowing

Giving hints, in advance, of what is to come later in the story. Well-written foreshadowing tends to stand out in hindsight, rather than in the first reading.


The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.


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