Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #007.

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.


A character with exaggerated and oversimplified features. In literature, this generally involves their personality and other characteristics. It can be used for comedic effect, or for insult.


A form of figurative language where non- human objects, animals, or ideas are given human characteristics. One example would be saying that the sun smiled.


Attributing human characteristics to animals or objects. It’s different from personification because the latter is used to create imagery and poetic language, rather than making animals appear more human.


The act of taking a single character trait and exaggerating it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character and becomes their defining characteristic. Named after The Simpsons character Ned Flanders.

Character Agency

A character’s ability to make decisions and affect the events of the story in meaningful ways. If a character doesn’t have agency, then their stories are at the very least not compelling, and at most dull and boring.

Character Motivation

The reasons for why a character acts the way he does during a scene and/or throughout the story.

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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