Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #009.

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. I hope that as this magazine continues, these terms can come to be so familiar to you that they become second-nature.

Active Characters

Active characters take actions throughout the story that help them to reach their goals, rather than simply taking a passive stance and allowing things to happen to them.

Passive Characters

Passive characters are carried along by the plot of the story, only reacting to events as they transpire, rather than taking actions themselves.

Reactive Characters

A reactive character is quite similar to a passive character. Rather than being active and choosing to take action, they simply wait for events to happen that they then react to. They have little to no character agency.

Character Agency

A character’s ability to make decisions and affect the events of the story in meaningful and substantials ways.


Prose is the written language without any metrical structure. Rather than having rhythmic structure, as is the case with poetry, prose is intended to replicate the natural speech we use in our day-to-day lives.

Purple Prose

Overly ornate, flowery, and embellished language that is generally used in an author’s descriptions. The objective is to make the writing appear impressive and meaningful. In almost all cases, the truth is that it achieves the opposite effect.

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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