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Literary Terms

i-gotta-be-me
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

I Gotta Be Me!

Character agency refers to a character’s ability to make decisions that affect the outcome of a story.  But it also refers to a character’s freedom to be themselves in the story world.  They’re going to want to walk their own path, wherever that leads them.It’s…

whos-your-protag
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Who’s Your Protag?

If you’re writing a book with multiple viewpoints, sometimes it can be confusing to figure out who’s story this is.  You may have a character that’s fun to write, or one that feels like they should be the protagonist based on genre conventions.  But are they really…

narrative-as-interpreter-in-fiction-writing
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Narrative as Interpreter in Fiction Writing

When we’re talking fiction writing, what really is narrative?  It’s everything that isn’t action and isn’t dialogue.  Which means it’s the glue that holds it all together.More directly, narrative is how we help the reader interpret the action and the dialogue.  We given them…

well-i-wasnt-expecting-that
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Well, I wasn’t expecting THAT!

This whole month, I want to talk about the relationship between writing and reading.  I’ve talked to so many writers who say they don’t read inside their own genre because they’re afraid of copying someone else’s idea.  (More on this later – I’m planning an entire…

freytags-pyramid
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Freytag’s Pyramid

In 1863 Gustov Freytag, first known as a playwright and later a novelist, published Die Technik des Dramas.  (Released in English much later as Freytag’s Technique of the Drama: An Exposition of Dramatic Composition and Art.)  While his novels reflected some of the ugliness and turbulence of the time…

well-darlings-youre-weighing-us-down
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

Well, Darlings, You’re Weighing Us Down . . .

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King (not the first person to say it, but perhaps the most ominous)It’s a common piece of advice to give to beginning writers, and it’s been attributed…

but-i-never-got-to
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

But I never got to . . .

I’m a big believer in the promises-made-to-your-reader philosophy of writing.  It’s the idea that readers file away everything you’ve laid out in the first few chapters of your story – and they expect you to follow up on it.  To see how this extends…

this-things-important-right
Literary Terms, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

This Thing’s Important, Right?

One of my favorite books from the Children’s Lit classes I took in college was Treasure Island.  Stevenson stuck with me as an example I wanted to emulate, because nothing in that book is wasted.  Every piece of foreshadowing pays off, every bit of character development comes into play…

im-definitely-not-in-a-story-right
Literary Terms, Writing Tips

I’m Definitely NOT in a Story, Right?

Last month I talked about character self-awareness in the psychological sense.But today, I want to get into the other way this term is used when talking books:  literary self-awareness, where we find fictional characters who either understand their genre, or who realize they are taking part in…