Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #006.

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.

Intellectual Property

Creations of the mind, such as inventions, artistic and literary works, designs, and the like. They are items to which their creators have the rights, and which they are able to patent, copyright, or trademark.


The style in which a story is written, or the category in which the story fits. Genres are used for indexing books in libraries and book stores, and for readers to quickly discover books of interest.


A genre of writing that contains conflict of characters, and is conveyed through dialogue between the characters, in either prose or verse form.

Story Beat

The individual points of action that occur throughout a story. The story beats are usually all interlinked or related to each other, and together, they form the story.

Derivative Work

A work that includes major elements from previously created, original works, transformed, modified, or adapted into a second, separate work.

Ensemble Cast

A cast including numerous characters, usually all of whom, or at least the majority of whom, function as main characters in the story, as opposed to a story with a single protagonist.

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.

If you’d like to receive every issue of The Writer’s Everything for free upon release, please sign up for my weekly newsletter.

If you would like to support me so that I can continue making this content without issue, please check out my Patreon, where you can help me out for as little as a quarter of the price of one Starbucks drink.

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