Fiction Writing, Publishing & Grammar
from the pages of:
by Gordon A. Kessler
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Appendix F: Terms and Definitions/Lexicon of 500+ Words (11.0)
This lexicon contains
terms used in the novel-writing, publishing and
book-distribution industry. These key concerns are commonly used, some perhaps even originating from the
business of novel writing, publishing and selling. The definitions given are subjective and deal
specifically with this industry and might not be accurate otherwise.
shortened form of a literary work keeping most important themes
intact. Done especially to longer novels and for the purpose of
prose that is non-specific,
non-concrete, imprecise, vague or generic and does not give a good mental image to the reader.
page of a book with author’s source credits including quoted
material and those who have helped with research and editing.
editor: editor in charge of acquiring new
material submitted to the publishing house.
part of a fiction work that is either
beginning, middle or end in a three act work, or is beginning, rising action
denouement in a five act
physical or emotional occurrences advancing the
/adventure: novel genre relying on physical
action and life threatening events.
tag (a.k.a. dialogue action
tag): action of the character involved in
dialogue used to help demonstrate
which character is speaking and/or the mood of that character.
descriptive, fast-paced prose, terse and precise,
without use of any form of the verb be.
rewriting of a novel into a screenplay or
stage play, or visa versa.
modifier of a noun or
pronoun, which describes,
qualifies, restricts or changes the meaning of it.
especially of interest to adults but that may not be suitable for younger readers.
publisher’s payment to an
author, prior to publication of a novel, deducted from future
sale: commitment of wholesale book buyers to purchase books done by brand names,
celebrities or experts in a very commercial topic.
novel: see action/adventure
modifier of a verb,
adjective or other adverb, phrase
steps a character needs to take to reach
business representative of the author with expertise in the
story with hidden meaning
sometimes using a specific character to explain a general
repetition of the same sound in a
series of words for
incidental mention or casual reference.
word or phrase that is able to be interpreted in more than one
way, either intentionally or by author error.
Awards: awards given to contemporary American authors without restriction to writers’
backgrounds or story genres.
Association (ABA): alliance of thousands of retail bookstores for the purpose of better
understanding of the bookselling business.
something out of time, not possible to have happened at the
time of the story,
character driving a Ford Mustang
comparison of like features of two different things, sometimes
describing a complex idea or thing using simpler terms, e.g. “the heart is a
two or more sentences starting with the same word for
anxiety, dread, portrayal of intense
protagonist’s opponent or center
original noun to which a
grouping of several short stories or poems normally of a
similar theme and by different
authors, but can be a gathering of works by one author.
weaker than indicated or expected ending or a wrap up after
the main climax, rarely
heavily flawed character lacking in traditional
heroic qualities, sometimes the protagonist or his companion,
possibly lacking in morals but in pursuit of a righteous cause.
directly the opposite or in contrast,
e.g. “Give me liberty or
give me death.”
words with opposite meanings, e.g. “night and
when a speaker stops mid sentence for effect or due to intense
(not the punctuation mark) when
dialogue is directed to an
inanimate, non-existent or absent person or
with no justification or reason.
see dramatic arcor
use of an out-dated word, style, or
character, symbol or
theme embodying a universal
storyline visually plotted onto a
straight inclining line that depicts the rise of dramatic tension versus the
story length. It is divided into three acts and indicates a point of catharsis near the top
of the incline.
mostly archaic term referring to plot summary
short speech by a character intended for the
audience but not the other characters in the story.
Association of Authors’
professional organization of literary agents with a strong code
of enforced ethics, e.g. no member is allowed to
charge manuscript-reading fees.
the general feeling, mood or affect of
story created with the use of
word choice, setting,
: bidding by
two or more publishers for the rights to publish a particular
when an author breaks into the story with opinionated
language not belonging to the story’s characters.
(AA): text corrections on a galley
made by the author.
one or two paragraph biography of author used
especially on book jackets/covers.
books given to the author by publisher for no
reduction of retail price given to the author by the
publisher for the purchase of that
supportive organization of traditionally published
accurate telling of one’s own life story.
French term for military, political or artistic leaders. In this case means a
style of writing that breaks
from the traditional.
saying: statement done in a witty way, e.g. “If you can’t
beat ‘em, join
device used by writers to fill
in essential information that has taken place before the present story.
publisher’s books that are still
in print after one season or year.
part of the story that happened before
the present story and usually includes
characters’ pasts and conflicts, which influence the current story.
elegant or beautiful but essentially trivial writing.
one-count pause in action or
dialogue usually indicated with
a dash or ellipses.
lists: lists appearing in Publishers Weekly, New York Times, USA Today and
local newspapers of the most commercially popular books.
summation of an author’s basic life and writing experience.
fictionalized account of a true and documented life
accurate telling of a person’s life
humor/comedy: treatment of sinister or horrible
matters in a humorous way.
copyeditor’s compensation for the
cutting of a page’s edge to allow for the margin around the text or illustration on that
commercially successful novel with sales in the
hundred thousands which positions it on national bestseller lists.
rapidly becoming obsolete, this is the book
copy proof done in
blue ink and used for the final review before the actual
publishing of the book.
short copy on book cover or book
jacket giving information
about the novel or the author and may
feature testimonials to promote the book.
wholesaler such as Ingram or Baker
& Taylor dealing in large quantities of books and acting as a go between for publishers and book
skilled independent editor hired to offer
story improvements concerning
book display used to help promote a particular book or
jacket cover: loose printed paper covering on a hardback book.
packager: person working independently who
puts together a series concept
with a veteran writer, and sells the idea for an advance and
royalties to a
published analytical evaluation of a
novel by a book
personal appearances of author at bookstores and/or with media
for the promotion of the author’s work.
galley: prepublication, paperbound novel made for promotion and
story that has had important
parts rewritten, especially sexual or violent situations, in interest of morality.
done alone or as a group, is a process of thinking about a
writing project in order to overcome writer’s block or to develop a new concept by not dismissing even
outlandish ideas until thoroughly considered.
author with a large following whose works the
publisher considers to be
consistently good sellers.
novel: novel written by a
previously published author that has sales far greater than expected, perhaps making the bestseller list,
while the same author's previous works didn't sell exceptionally well.
author’s name given as the creator of a work.
poorly portrayed novel character
without life. See three-dimensional
hardbound, clothbound or
see genre fiction.
freeing or cleansing of the soul due to the reading of a tragic
novel arousing pity or
: major division of a book, usually made up of one or more
any living thing in a fictional story.
important psychological transformation in a character brought
on by story experiences.
tool used by the writer to develop and keep track of a
character in a story, by developing a
character profile in which physical and psychological traits, background, etc. are
creation and description of fictional characters
to make lifelike.
series of stories done in
Chicago Manual of
: manual of writing style especially used by
newspaper and media.
work that has stood the test of time as a literary
something that conforms to ancient Greek or Roman
unoriginal and overly used phrase, term or
description with none of the
suspenseful story buildup of dramatic
question to a point where the
climax is imminent and
expected but the outcome unsure.
high intensity action or
emotions. Usually a point where
antagonist meet for the final and
decisive battle in a story.
punctuation: use of formal punctuation rules according to a particular
sense of finality or completeness at the end of a
old publishing term meaning hardcover or
work of which two or more writers have
two or more writers (an illustrator may be included in some
cases) working on the same novel.
colloquialisms: informal everyday language especially using terms unique to a specific region
and sometimes considered slang.
a publisher’s logo and/or
novel genre relying on
humorous antics and unusual situations.
literary device using humor during or
following a high-tension scene
age: story about growing up or
crossing a threshold.
splice: sentence using only a comma and no coordinating
conjunction in order to separate two
or more independent clauses. This practice is prohibited in closed punctuation, but used often in the
more relaxed, open punctuation style
popularly sold fiction.
factor or occurrence that complicates the
plot by adding an
obstruction or challenge for the protagonist to overcome.
preliminary story idea involving story
situation and character.
noun that gives the reader a
specific mental picture of the item described.
key element in storytelling, the situation involving a barrier
to a desired goal.
implied meaning of a word that may be subjective and vary from
repetition of identical or similar consonants in words closely
following each other, e.g. “bitter
scene takes place and
includes events that happen before and after.
writer intended surprise coming across obviously preplanned to
commonly accepted practices or devices used to tell a
conjunction: the words for,
and, nor, but, or, yet and so when used to connect two phrases, word
groups or clauses.
editor responsible for
correcting punctuation, grammar, spelling and
inconsistencies in a manuscript.
letter accompanying a completed and requested manuscript acting
as an introduction of the work and a reminder that the editor or
decisive point where the final action is set in
motion. In some stories, a series of crises are linked
discussion of a story using reason, but
good crone is a wise old woman, whereas a bad crone many times
is a female antagonist. See death crone.
novel: novel that successfully crosses
genres, perhaps even from literary to a specific genre.
part of a story sometimes difficult to
understand, possibly because of ambiguity, but its understanding is critical to completely understanding the
series of works built around a
particular subject or
theme, sometimes written by
gathering of like writers to review each other’s works and
provide constructive criticism.
moment: point in the climax of a
story when the
protagonist seems overwhelmed and can
see no way to succeed. The protagonist makes a decision that causes
the resolution of the main
conflict, ends the
crisis and leads to a
psychological change at the end of the story.
female antagonist who is interested in
the protagonist’s demise. Can be young
and beautiful, old and ugly, or anything in between.
sentence that makes a statement or
story that ignores the
conventions of its genre and shows
them in a new light.
page preceding the start of the novel that gives thanks to
those of the author’s choosing.
strict dictionary definition.
: portion of a novel following the
climax where loose ends of the
plot are tied up, questions
answered and clarified.
clause: subordinate clause that
cannot stand alone as a sentence and depends on the remainder of the sentence to be
translations, adaptations and abridgments of a
showing of a person, place, or thing
through the author’s prose, using precise, easily
understood terms concerning appearance, sound, smell, taste and feel.
who-done-it” novel genre linked closely to
mysteries and with a detective protagonist.
machine(de’oos eks ma’ki
na): Greek for “god from machine” originating from the times that an intervening
god descended onto a stage during a play through mechanical means.
Today, it means an unlikely ending that is not linked to
technique used to create a desired
socially or geographically influenced variation of a language
as in phrases or word pronunciation used in a specific region.
spoken words used by at least two interacting
phrase inserted directly prior, during or directly after
dialogue to indicate what character is speaking and
sometimes includes how the words are said.
instruction given in a dull or overly formal
internalization: character thought given directly,
word for word, in present tense and first
deviation from the central theme or
plot to something, at most,
business that buys books from a
publisher and resells them to
retail outlets and wholesalers.
dragon’s eye: from Chinese phrase hualong dianjing used in Chinese painting and
translated as “dot the dragon’s eye, and it comes to life.”
Referring to fiction, this means that with a
specific key detail, an otherwise lifeless, unrealistic story can become realistic and
believable. Adding detail not key to the story only makes the
dragon’s tail (the tale being told) longer.
word or expression intended to have more than one
made interesting with vivid, emotional conflict and
suspense, expressed in real
present story scene
arc: single storyline in a
narrative defined by a specific
conflict or goal that is dealt with
to a resolution. It is not unusual to find more than one dramatic
a complex story.
rights: rights to a stage play or screen
adaptation of a
when a character’s remarks at the
beginning of a story mean something
different when stated at the end of a story. Also refers to
information provided the reader that isn’t known to the characters.
events that cause the reader of a story
what will happen next.
goes into action, to help
group of awards established by the Mystery Writers of America,
Inc. that recognizes outstanding contributions to the mystery genre.
broad term for a person working for a
publishing house who may be responsible
for a number of different aspects of the publishing business.
Jobs may include copyediting, content editing, acquisitions,
of acquisitions: see acquisition editor.
see objective viewpoint.
abbreviation for the Latin term exempli gratia meaning
publishing of novels over the Internet, on diskettes or
measurement of typeface the approximate size of a capital
M, e.g. with twelve point type,
an em is approximately twelve points. There are twelve points to
a pica and six picas to one inch. The
dash is used
to illustrate a change of thought direction, a parenthetical explanation of something previously said, or to
indicate an interruption of thought or speech.
the feelings created by the telling of a
story causing a reader to
identify with and have the same emotions as a character in a
an en is half as wide as an em
story describing great heroes
and great deeds at great length, usually over a period of many years.
quotation or paragraph at the beginning of a
novel relating to the
theme of the
concluding section of a story giving information
about what happened, usually to the characters, after the present story actions in the final
sudden revelation, usually of great
descriptive adjective added to a
e.g. Alexander the Great.
“name giving” referring to a story character
being given to the novel,
novel genre dealing with
term referring to genre fiction.
type of any novel genre in which the
central characters are African American, Hispanic, Native American or any other specific cultural
distinguishing characteristics or moral element determining a
word or phrase used in place of a more disagreeable one,
e.g. instead of died,
type of any novel genre that is obviously
unusual in structure,
narrative technique or
description, explanation, or
interpretation by the author giving requisite background information and introducing characters, at times
effectively intertwined with dialogue and
reminiscence (referring especially
to a story’s
removal of objectionable words, phrases or scenes without
action following the storyline of a
information presented in fiction but is based on actual
refers to the amount of copyrighted material that may be quoted
without infringing on a copyright.
children’s fiction genre with magic,
wizards, witches, fairies and/or talking animals and objects.
action taking place after the climax of the
story, usually made up of a
change in the story situation, or reversal, and a
resolution or unraveling of the
plot—a tying up of the
loose ends of the story.
see red herring.
novel depicting unrealistic
portrait of the real world.
Curve: with the ideas of German philosopher Johann Fichte, American writer John
Gardner coined this term for the charting of the reader’s emotional involvement in a
story in a manner that is
similar in appearance to Freytag’s Pyramid and seems to be a blending of it and Aristotle’s
Incline. Some sources also call this a story
untrue account told as if real.
speech: language differing from formal construction and order including metaphors,
similes, axioms, hyperboles, onomatopoeias, etc.
first typed version of a story.
published, original and never-revised version of a particular
story narrated using “I” by
main character in the story or one
that has knowledge of it.
first run of books of a particular title printed in an
recollection by a
character of an event previous to
the present story.
narrative sometimes at the end of
a story giving a hint of what
might happen with a situation or to a character in the
character that is not fully fleshed out and doesn’t seem
real. Also referred to as cardboard character
Fog Index: readability index using school grade reading levels
to gauge. A commercial novel should be written on a
fourth to tenth grade level.
sometimes referred to as sidekick, a
character or thing that makes
another character seem better or more notable. Sometimes the
foil assists the protagonist to unravel the
plot, helps in creating a
more realistic protagonist, or is a vehicle for important analytical dialogue.
hinting of future events.
brief commentary in the front of a
story in which the plot and characters are
consistent with a set of guidelines required by a particular genre, especially common in romance
story within a story—the
story usually starting and finishing at a point in time after that of the main story within
usually the new titles published that are given the most
exposure by the publishing house and have the most
Freytag’s Technik des
Dramas (a.k.a. Freytag’s
Pyramid/Triangle): simple line drawing showing high point of an
inclining line meeting a declining line of equal length that depicts a story’s rising action (incline), climax
(apex—meeting of the two lines) and falling action (declining line).
telling of a story as if it were to happen
in the future using verbs in the future tense. Very uncommon and difficult to pull off effectively, it is considered risky
preliminary typeset version of manuscript used for editing and
occasionally sent out to critics and well-known authors for review (review
class or category of fiction writing including
fiction, fantasy and
verb with an -ing
ending that is used as a
e.g., Traveling through
the mountains is fun.
writing of a story in which the credit and
byline goes to someone else,
perhaps a well-known celebrity.
novel genre, many times set
in old mansion or ancient castle, involving an innocent protagonist being tormented by a
very evil or supernatural antagonist(s).
rules and guidelines that define the basic
structure of a language and
concerns clear and precise communication.
blood and gore.
type of novel, typically in the
which comic-like drawings are used to help tell a story.
space between columns of type especially between two opposing
Japanese poetry in a verse of three unrhymed lines with five,
seven and five syllables respectively.
book page that contains only the novel’s title and nothing
copy: paper copy of a
book bound in hardback form.
novel with a simple but
compelling and very commercial plot. Hollywood material.
romance, which is set in a
particular period of history.
moral instruction or sermon.
two words that have the same spelling but sometimes are
pronounced differently and have different meanings and origins, e.g. lead a horse and
the element lead.
two words pronounced the same, usually spelled differently and
have different meanings and origins, e.g. the animal boar
and bore, to drill.
compelling part at the beginning of a
story that draws the reader
in to want to read more. Also, hook can mean the
theme of a
novel that sets it
novel genre involving
horrific events, usually supernatural.
obvious and intentional exaggeration for
culturally specific phrase or term unrelated to what it
describes, e.g. she kicked the
abbreviation for the Latin term id est meaning that
description of a thing or
scene given in colorful or
expressive terms, metaphors, or similes to depict the image in a manner easily conjured by the
publisher’s line of a particular
type of book.
clause: clause (word grouping containing a subject and a
predicate) in a sentence that can
stand on its own as a sentence.
sentence introductory phrase which begins with the present
participle form of a verb (verb form ending in ing) and
indicates two actions taking place simultaneously.
res: Latin term meaning to start telling the story in the middle of the
action or a dramatic
event. This storytelling device is used to immediately
monologue (sometimes incorrectly
called inner dialogueor interior
dialogue): see internalization.
type of writing which incorporates a particular philosophy that
may be adapted to the reader’s own life.
word used to express an emotion or surprise
i.e. Hey! Darn! Wow!
Oh! Interjections should be used sparingly (if at all) in
dialogue as they are generally
meaningless and unimportant.
written expression of a character’s
concerning a secret or intricate plot.
clause: clause (word grouping containing a subject and a
predicate) that starts a sentence
but is dependent on the rest of the sentence.
reverse of the normal syntax of a sentence for
internalized inspection of one’s own
humorous, poignant or dramatic difference between what is said
and what is meant, or the structurally expressed difference between what apparently occurred and what really
: reader knowledge of a dramatic element of which the
: when the result of an action is not what is expected
and may even be the opposite of what is intended. This result can
be humorous or even tragic.
: when a character’s actual feelings are not
consistent with what she says. Dialogue might be sarcastic in
tone to convey a disparity
between character’s thoughts and the literal meaning of her
acronym for International Standard Book Number, which is a
unique, ten-digit identifying number, used to catalogue books.
words or specific terms used by a particular professional or
social group, e.g. law, military or
writer’s collection of thoughts, story ideas, observations and
novel genre intended for
children from ages two through twelve.
-K- & -L-
popular but worthless art.
humorous, insulting attack on an actual
person or event meant to
referring to a character that is more dynamic,
imposing, attractive and/or capable than most known real life people
ledding): white space between letters or lines of a typeset
time: time from the purchase
of a manuscript to the publication of the book.
recurring word or theme portraying a
concept in order to tie a
defamation to a person or company’s name or
Italian meaning little book, the
storyline around which music is
Library of Congress
catalog card number: number assigned by the Library of Congress (free of charge) to a book in
advance of publication to help
classify and to assist in ordering by libraries (see PCN).
use of only one viewpoint character
exact, accurate, without exaggeration.
style of fiction writing,
sometimes referred to as serious fiction in which characterization drives the
story and is more important
than the plot. Emphasis may be placed on writing style and technique. Seldom is this type of writing as commercial as is genre
any body of work focusing on a certain
writing with the concern of describing the geographical
setting (including population
and their speech patterns) to give realism.
one word description of a
word or words, thought, speech or
novel with broad appeal
traditionally centered around realistic, everyday life subjects.
Sometimes mainstream is considered more literary, transcending typical genre novels.
paperback: economical softcover novel approximately four by
seven inches and sold in grocery stores as well as bookstores.
thriller: sub genre of the thriller set in the medical field.
sensationalized or exaggerated emotion or
action lacking in
telling of an event or events from a person’s life’s memories by
recreating dialogue, characters and
imagery while not focusing on
accuracy but emphasizing the artful telling of the memory itself.
comparison equating two unlike things using a form of the word
is and without like or as, e.g. love is a
trade or profession in which one is most
use of the name of an object in place of another that is
related, e.g. boat for
publisher’s commercially viable
but not bestselling titles.
terse writing using short
descriptions and simple sentences.
metaphor: use of two or more unlike metaphors, in part or in whole, in a comparative
Modern Language Association of America, a
style used especially
concerned with documentation and used widely by students and scholars.
one character’s speech, either alone
or with others, without interaction.
recurring idea, subject or
e.g. rags to riches
in many novels.
purpose driving a character into
reason for a character’s
abbreviation for manuscript (mss
contract: book deal involving two or more titles by the same
submission: sending of more than one manuscript/story to an
editor at one time (sometimes
mistaken for simultaneoussubmission
goddess who inspires creativity. Nine muses were in Greek mythology.
novel genre relying on
discovery of clues to solve dilemma.
1st N.A.: refers to publication rights in North
composition or account of a story.
the telling of a story.
teller of a story.
application of scientific objectivity in depicting life without
idealizing or giving value judgments.
Awards: annual awards presented to science-fiction writers by the
Science-fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
person or thing with evil
intentions and in conflict with
receipts: amount of actual profit a publisher makes on a given
character: character neutral in affection, not seeming interested in or perhaps even
capable of love or sex.
age: genre focused on contemporary culture, especially concerned with spiritual
consciousness, reincarnation, astrology and meditation.
Nobel Prize for
Literature: one of the most prized literary awards presented annually by the Swedish
Academy of Literature.
plume: see pen name.
novel: work in which real people and places are depicted in fictional form in order
to camouflage them or to embellish or better understand the facts.
personal, emotional writing of a particular time in the past
dealing with people, events, customs and products of that time.
ideas, beliefs or opinions.
part of speech that is the name of an idea, place, thing or
extended fictional prose narrative
least 45,000 (some sources say 60,000) words long and may be as many as 200,000 words or
short novel/long short
story 15,000 to 50,000 words
depending on source.
long short story of between 7,500 and
15,000 words depending on source.
adaptation of a movie into a
correlative: use of scene,
situations, etc. to mirror or portray emotions of a character (especially weather and
viewpoint: narration without characters’
internalization. Also called an effaced narrator.
POV: telling of a story from a god-like,
words imitating the sound they
punctuation: use of informal, conversational and relaxed
clause: clause giving the publisher first refusal
rights for an author’s next
general description only giving the main
plot points by
submission of an unsolicited
manuscript, referring to days of
old when a manuscript was passed over the transom of an editor’s
combination of seemingly contradictory terms,
e.g. bittersweet or
sarcastically, military intelligence.
rate of progression of a plot toward its conclusion
as measured by the affect on the reader.
restatement using at least slightly different wording to make
the original statement clearer and more succinct—to give the essence of what was
somewhat humorous imitation of a well-known
phrase (a.k.a. infinite verb
phrase): phrase beginning with a present participle, e.g.
going to the window, he opened it.
voice: writing that is slow in nature due to sentence structure, word choice or use of
any form of the word be.
tense: telling of a story as if it has already
happened using verbs in the past tense.
fallacy: attribution of human feelings and emotions to natural phenomena and inanimate
art or event that, when viewed, stimulates deep feelings.
Preassigned Control Number. A number assigned by the Library of Congress free of charge to help catalog
books and for ordering purposes.
name: pseudonym, nom de
byline name used by an author
other than legal name. Can be an a.k.a. (also known
sentence: sentence not able to be understood until it is read
see point of view (POV
to speak of a an inanimate object as though it is alive, or to
give an object or animal human qualities.
font measurement on written page. Six picas equal an inch—twelve points equal a
novel with a scoundrel as its
unauthorized use of copyrighted
author or agent’s one to two sentence
entice a publisher.
direct quotation or obvious paraphrasing of another’s written
word without accreditation.
information placed in a story that will make future
incidents work and be believable.
carefully devised chain of events in which a fictional
overview of the how and why of a narrative.
POV: point of view of two or more characters
given at collectively.
license: writer’s unspoken privilege to deviate from fact to achieve a particular
justice: when good is rewarded or evil is punished in an especially fitting
referring to type/font size, twelve points equal a pica
and seventy-two equal an inch.
perspective from which a story or
fiction: see genre fiction or commercial
grouping in a sentence containing the verb and its auxiliaries,
could be done.
when a manuscript is taken off the
table prior to an
auction, normally by way of a
major purchase by a publishing house.
what a story is about, the idea of
the story, expressed in a sentence or short paragraph.
story that is set before a
previously published story with recurring characters and or theme.
story: main body of a story in which the primary
tense: telling of a story as if it were happening
presently by using verbs in their present tense.
kit: promotional package including press release and reviews used to help the
author promote her/his work.
first part of a novel which includes
important action taking place that sets
up the main story of a novel. Usually, the prologue is set at an earlier time than, a location distant
from or includes characters apart from the main or present
story. Sometimes, the prologue might include showing a crime that the rest of the
novel is focused on solving.
part of speech that is used in place of a
specific work of an author.
submission from an author (usually
one with a good track record from previous sales) to a publisher consisting of a
words not set in a rhythmic, poetic pattern that are used to
tell a story.
usually the central character in the
story on the side of good and
in conflict with the
see pen name.
thriller: sub genre of the thriller novel in which psychological
aspects are key to the conflict and
resolution of the
distance: relative intimacy between reader and viewpoint character
The closeness the reader feels to the point of
company that edits books, prints them or has them printed and
then distributes them to wholesalers and/or retailers.
Pulitzer Prize in
Literature: annual award presented for distinguished achievement in
literature by the Pulitzer Prize
Board at Columbia University.
prose: overdone or overwritten, obscene or profane.
-Q- & -R-
letter written to an editor or
agent to elicit interest in a
d’etre: French for the reason of existence, referring to
identification: when readers feel as though they understand, relate to, or even know a
character as if it were a real and
breathing human being due to well-done characterization.
time: narration of the present
story in dramatic
scene as the
accurate depiction of the real world.
five hundred sheets of paper.
rework or redo a scene, paragraph or
the calling back to mind a memory or
page: odd numbered pages on the right side of a book. The first page of story narration of a
novel is almost always a recto
object: object, also known as a sacred object, that appears several times throughout a
story to help bind story scenes
and serves as a reminder or to symbolize certain plot elements.
editing or revising of a novel before final
publication. Also, the blacking out or deleting of sensitive
herring: device used to
plant information that is not
critical to the plot but, to the reader, seems
to be. Used to throw the reader off track and help provide
interesting twists and turns in the plot line.
stating the same thing more than once, possibly
correspondence from an agent or
editor to inform an author
that her work has not been accepted.
copies of a book that did not sell well and are offered at
wholesale price or less. In which case, the author will receive
memory or remembrance.
rights retained by the copyright owner.
untying of the plot, the tying up of loose
ends at the end of a story following the
copies of a title that went unsold and were returned to the
story situation as it has been
left after the climax, returning to a more
ordinary world. 2. new roadblock,
complication, situation or
conflict that the
protagonist must overcome just when it
seems she has a clear shot at her goal.
bound copy of a novel sent free to media
sources and is used for promotional purposes and to elicit reviews.
beat, sound, and appearance
of a written story.
portion of the story after the opening that
leads up to the climax and that gives
information and shows situations essential to the development of the plot.
novel genre relating
passionate love and heroic events with very emotional plot.
sub genre of romance that relies on
suspenseful scenes in which characters’ lives are at high risk.
fully developed fictional person that is portrayed so
adeptly in all aspects as to seem real.
percentage of retail price to be paid to the author for each
book sold (and not merely placed in bookstores).
publishing of a book in which the
publisher gives the author a
royalty payment in consideration for each copy sold
stapling along the folded spine to bind some magazines
and short books.
Icelandic term used for a story about the adventures of
self-addressed, stamped envelope.
1. continuous action taking place in the
same setting and time. 2. aspect of description—the showing, in
real-time present story, of an event as
opposed to the telling of it in static exposition.
novel genre, mostly
futuristic, relying on high-tech or scientific props and/or ideas and theories.
story: refers to the inner, psychological lives of characters, sometimes called
interior or inner plot.
a story viewpoint
you. Storytelling to you.
when the author takes on the job of
publisher and has his
novel printed, acquiring all
necessary numbers and copyrights, and marketing his own book.
contextual meaning or deliberate distortion or twisting of the
1. type of scene used as a transitional
unit linking two action scenes that gives pause
to reflect on what has just happened in the previous scene and provides motivation for what will happen in
subsequent scenes. 2. story published that relates
to an earlier work, with recurring characters and or similar in theme.
accidental discovery of necessary clues or facts, looking too
easy, forced or unrealistic.
two or more novels usually by the same author with reappearing
characters in different situations but usually with similar basic plots.
location and time in which a portion of a
amount of time a book stays on the bookstore
tell: storytelling convention concerning the conveyance of
scene in order to better depict
a believable narrative.
type of alliteration repeating
hissing sounds, e.g. the slipper sank
slowly into the soup.
comparing of two unlike things using the word like or
as, e.g. love is like a
submission of the same manuscript
to more than one editor or
agent at one
colloquial expression, jargon or
idiom used in place of more
specific approach, point of view, time, etc. to a
particular story subject
life: story set in a normal
setting under ordinary
circumstances, with typical conflict and familiar
line: header placed on the upper, left-hand corner of each manuscript page other
than the first. It should give the author’s last name, first letter
capitalized, a slash, then the title of the work in all caps.
where publishing houses’ low priority
unsolicited manuscripts go to be reviewed by
interns and low-level editors for consideration of being sent to deal-making editors.
publisher producing a small
number of titles annually, normally five or less.
extended monologue or out loud expression
of thoughts by a story character
expectations of an answer, especially speaking to himself.
use of specific details and concrete terms in
fiction: story concerned with realities
that are outside of the known, usually sci-fi, alternative history, horror or
part of the book separating the front to the
story character that adds
little or nothing to a story.
exposition: part of narrative that explains situations
and gives information without using dramatic elements of action.
proofreaders’ term meaning to disregard correction and leave as
an immediately recognizable, stock, overused and unoriginal
forced and overly formal language for the
expected type of character for a specific genre—in
some cases considered stereotypical.
common circumstance in a particular type
e.g. boy meets
narrative written or told
involving characters and situations and contains a beginning, middle and end.
continuing storyline in episodic storytelling such
as TV soap operas and comic strips.
board or drawing in which elements of a
story can be displayed in
order to better visualize its idea.
overview of what happens and whom it happens to in a
consciousness: written expression of author’s or story character
without constraints of reason or time.
way a story,
scene or sentence is
Drang: German play title which grew into meaning against established society which
actually translates into confusion or storm and stress in English.
It became the name of the early eighteenth century romantic movement in German music and
way in which an author writes considering word choice,
sheet: set of guidelines issued to the writer concerning manuscript preparation for a
particular publishing house. It usually is mostly concerned with manuscript format but sometimes may include
formulaic information for genres such as romance and male
part of a sentence that names what or who a sentence is
narration using characters’
internalization to help tell a
story and create more reader
empathy for the
mood: English language mood in which present tense verbs do not change from
basic form to indicate the person or number of the
subject. It is used in clauses expressing something that doesn’t exist, especially
when: 1. the clause begins with if or that, e.g. If I
were president, things would change. 2. expressing a wish, e.g. I wish I were in
Hawaii. Also used when: 1. expressing an urgent request, e.g.
I demand that he go now! 2. following verbs
indicating something that has not yet become a reality, e.g. I suggest the idea
mailed or emailed manuscript or portion
characters, situations or settings not following the main plot but, usually, at least loosely tied to
rights for other than original
publishing such as movie, audio and book club rights.
see vanity publishing.
story within a story,
sometimes relating to theme—what the story is
unnecessary or excessive word, sentence,
completely unexpected ending, also referred to as a
bizarre, unreal, dreamlike happening.
novel genre relying on the
building of fear, anticipation and uncertainty. Also, an element
of fiction in which the outcome of
a critical situation is uncertain and the leading up to
disbelief: willingness of a reader to accept the imaginative elements of a
story and suspend what he knows
to be true in real life in favor of briefly believing a fictional story as if it were
Swiftie: play on words using a dialogue
adverb that relates in a humorous
manner with the dialogue, e.g. “That just won’t cut
it, Bob,” she said sharply. This term specifically refers to
author Edward L. Stratemeyer’s character Tom Swift who commonly
used this sort of pun in Stratemeyer’s stories. This type of humor
isn’t recommended for contemporary novels as today’s audiences are less accepting of the intrusive cleverness of
the author (author intrusion) and more interested in
the story itself.
something described that has an underlying symbolic
sorrowful feeling for, or an understanding of, a
character: character whose emotions are evident
in the storytelling, that has feelings of some kind for the other story characters and the story
word having the same or nearly the same meaning as a different
word within the same language.
summary of important
plot elements, scenes and
events in a story.
order of word types (subject,
verb, object, etc.) in a
phrase or sentence. Also: dramatic syntax follows the
form of character’s thoughts,
objective syntax follows the form of action, subjective
syntax follows the form of author’s thoughts.
): giving a character a particular and easily identifiable
group of readers to which a specific
novel will be of the most
unnecessary repeating of an idea by rephrasing or using
thriller involving high-tech devices, computers, weapons, etc.
time at which a scene takes place, as in
past, present, and future. See past
tense, or future
effect created when readers anticipate
action caused by
writing using active verbs and descriptive nouns, with minimal
use of adverbs and adjectives.
word content of a
significance of the plot. The consistent idea of impact throughout a story,
e.g. the good guys always
win or we all, eventually, pay for our mistakes.
reference book that lists synonyms and
point of view character
’s name or
referring to her/him in a form of she/he in the narration of the
pause in story action
on a particular detail or event.
fictional character that has been
fleshed out and seems real, having believable characteristics and a past, present and
high concept novel
relying on physical and emotional action and
suspense with high stakes and
huge risks affecting many lives.
work introduced in two or more media such as when a
novel has a movie
chronological order of a story.
stories: stories that seem taken from the day’s headlines, that are topical, dealing
with popular concerns of the day.
page at the beginning of a novel that includes the title
of the work, the author’s name and other publishing information of the publisher’s
volume of several volumes of work or a large, scholarly
overall feeling of a scene influenced by and
crafted with author’s word choices and narrative rhythm
list: publisher’s commercially viable,
de force: French term used to describe an exceptional achievement by an
test of genuineness or value.
books distributed mainly through retail
discount off retail price given the bookseller, usually 40 to
softbound book that is larger than mass-market
paperback (about the size of
hardcover) and uses higher
quality paper and print, sold primarily in bookstores.
publisher: conventional, traditional publisher that produces books for
flaw in the protagonist’s
character that leads to his
initial failure to overcome the antagonist.
passage at the beginning of a scene that helps the reader
shift focus from the last scene and into the setting of the one to
initial brief narrative concerning the key
story idea from which a
novel or screenplay is
see surprise ending.
single main story made into three parts
for commercial reasons especially done in concern over story length. Each is individually complete however, they have relating subjects or
three major female archetypes, being the virgin as a
young female associated with white, the mother as a child-bearing woman associated with red, and the
crone as a wise old woman
associated with black.
unoriginal words or phrases that are overused and have lost
nonfiction story based on a factual
re-creation of a criminal event.
see surprise ending.
mental processes existing outside of
writing device in which the writer
intentionally does not emphasize or build up an aspect of a story in order to allow
readers to create their own impact. Not often done by beginning
writers—is an admired trait among experienced authors.
stories: stories dealing with concerns that always find interest to a broad range of
press associated with a university that publishes more
scholarly work of narrower interest than the trade publishers
POV: point of view that shifts among two or
more characters within one scene or
telling of a story by a point of
not have a clear understanding of the facts and thus may be in error.
manuscript not requested by an agent or
publisher that requires the
author pay part or possibly all of the cost of editing, printing and promotion.
part of speech and part of a sentence that expresses
written in exactly the same words as previously
semblance or appearance of truth, realistic, highly probable or
dialect or language common to a
specific people, place or time.
evenly numbered page on the left side of a
submitting a manuscript to an outside expert source for
see point of view (POV
antagonist of a
story. However, the antagonist is not necessarily a villain,
e.g. nature or
novel genre set in western
United States especially during the late 1800’s.
it: mystery story in which the perpetrator the central crime is unknown until the
end and the mystery itself revolves around who is the perpetrator.
company that buys books in quantities to resale to stores and
count: approximate number of words in a written work—usually most accurately counted
by the “word count” function of the word processing program in which the story/document was
writer’s basic view of the world concerning morals, justice,
politics, people and nature.
block: point at which a writer finds it difficult to continue a
story due to lack of creative
enthusiasm or satisfactory ideas.
-X- -Y- & -Z-
yang: according to Chinese philosophy, yin is the female (sorry ladies), night,
passive, negative force of the Universe in contrast but also complementary to the opposite force of yang which
is the male, day, active, positive.
adult: books targeting twelve to eighteen-year-old readers.
story that captures the
essence of a place or time.