Glossary of Terms

This glossary will provide you with definitions of significant, common terms that are mentioned in this course.




















Active Voice

Active voice is a grammatical construction where the sentence’s subject does the main action.


An antagonist is a character whose goals directly oppose those of the protagonist, thereby generating conflict and driving the story forward.


An apostrophe is used to contract words and indicate possession in nouns.


An archetype is a familiar character type that recurs throughout literature and storytelling.

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Balanced Argument

A balanced argument considers different viewpoints or perspectives on an issue.

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A character is a person that lives within a story.

Character Arc

A character arc is essentially a character’s transformation or inner journey over the course of a story.

Character Development

A change or growth that a character goes through.

Character Goal

A character goal is the tangible target that the characters strive to achieve, powered by their motivations.

Character Motivation

Character motivation is the reason why characters do what they do, encompassing their inner drives, desires, and fears that push them into action.

Character-Driven Dialogue

Character-driven dialogue means the conversation is shaped by the unique traits of the character speaking.


A clause is a group of words that consists of a subject and a predicate.


Climax is the story’s turning point, where the protagonist faces the primary conflict directly.

Collective Noun

A collective noun is a group of individuals or things as a single unit.


A colon is used to introduce additional information.


A comma is used to separate ideas and independent clauses.

Complex Sentence

A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and a dependent clause.

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is one of the sentence types that consists of more than one independent clause joined by a coordinating conjunction or semicolon.

Compound-Complex Sentence

A compound-complex sentence is a single sentence with at least one dependent and two independent clauses.


A conflict is the engine of a narrative that drives your narrative forward, creating tension and propelling your characters into action.


A conjunction is a word that connects other words, phrases, or clauses in sentences.


In the land of storytelling, consistency refers to maintaining a steady hand on the tiller of your character development and plot progression.

Coordinating Conjunction

A coordinating conjunction joins elements of equal grammatical value or rank.

Correlative Conjunction

A correlative conjunction is a pair of conjunctions used to connect phrases or words.

Curly Brackets

Curly brackets, braces, or squiggly brackets are used to group a set.

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Dependent Clause

A dependent clause cannot complete a thought or stand on its own as a sentence.

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive writing is a style of writing that uses vivid wordage to create a picture of a scene, object, person, or emotion for your readers.


Dialogue refers to the conversation or exchange of words between two or more characters.

Dialogue Tags

Dialogue tags are phrases or words used to attribute speech to a specific character.

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An ellipsis is used for indicating words removed from a quote.

Em Dash

An em dash functions like a comma, colon, or parenthesis in introducing a clause.

Emotional Appeal

An emotional appeal, also known as “pathos,” is a rhetorical device used in arguments to sway an audience by provoking strong emotional responses.

En Dash

An en dash shows range in time periods, distance, and more.

Exclamation Point

An exclamation point is used at the end of an exclamatory sentence to show strong emotion.

Expository Writing

Expository writing is a style of writing that seeks to explain and illustrate, clarify, or even explicate a subject for the reader.

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Filler Words

Filler words are words and phrases that sneak into your prose, cluttering it up without adding much value.

First-Person Narrative

First-person narrative uses pronouns like “I” or “we” and “me” to give a personal and intimate perspective.


Flashback is a scene that interrupts the chronological sequence of events in a story to depict a moment from the past.


Foreshadowing is a technique used to hint at events that will occur later in the story.


Formatting refers to the way a text appears on the page, including margins, indentations, font size, line spacing, and paragraph alignment.

Future Continuous Tense

The future continuous or progressive tense describes an event that will be ongoing in the future.

Future Perfect Continuous Tense

The future perfect continuous tense describes an action that will continue into the future up to a specific point in time.

Future Perfect Tense

The future perfect tense is used for actions that will be completed before another event in the future.

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Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings.


Hook is the first sentence or paragraph that grabs the reader’s attention and draws them into the story.


A hyphen is used to form compound words.

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Imagery refers to using vivid and descriptive language to create mental pictures.

Independent Clause

An independent clause is a sentence element that can stand alone as a complete sentence due to its complete thought.

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Layout extends to the entire structure of the book, including elements like the placement of page numbers, headers, footers, and images.

Literary Agent

A literary agent is essentially a writer’s representative in the publishing world.

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Metaphors compare two unrelated things to highlight a particular quality or aspect.


Mood is the feeling or atmosphere the writer creates for the reader.


Mystery is a genre centered around a puzzling event or situation, often involving a crime.

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Narration is the author’s voice describing events, character thoughts, or providing background information.

Narrative Writing

Narrative writing is a style of writing that tells a story.

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An object is a person, thing, concept, place, or animal that receives the action in the sentence.

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Pacing is the speed at which your story unfolds.


Parentheses are used to add information to a sentence, allowing for the inclusion of additional details that may not naturally fit.

Passive Voice

Passive voice is a grammatical construction where the verb acts upon the subject.

Past Continuous Tense

The past continuous tense shows a continuing action happening at a specific point in the past.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The past perfect continuous tense expresses an action initiated in the past and continued until a later point in the past.

Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense describes actions completed before a specific event in the past.


A period is a punctuation mark used to end declarative and imperative sentences.


A phrase does not include a subject that performs an action.


Plot is the backbone of a narrative that shapes the story, directs its flow, and dictates the important events that drive the characters toward the end.

Plot Structure

Plot structure is the sequence or organization of events in a story.

Plot Twists

Plot twists are events that drastically alter what we understand about the story or characters.

Point of View

Point of view is the literary term for the perspective from which a story is told.

Present Continuous Tense

The present continuous or progressive tense shows an ongoing action in the present.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

The present perfect continuous tense shows actions that started in the past and are continuing in the present.

Present Perfect Infinitive

The present perfect infinitive combines the present perfect tense with the infinitive to followed by the base form of the verb.

Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense indicates past actions continuing or being related to the present.

Proper Noun

A proper noun is a noun that names a specific person, place, or thing.

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Query Letter

A query letter is a one-page letter with a clear purpose: to intrigue the agent or publisher enough to ask to see part (or all) of a manuscript.

Question Mark

A question mark is a punctuation mark used to end interrogative sentences.

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are used to make direct quotations or repetitions of someone’s exact words or famous quotes.

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Resolution is the final piece of the narrative puzzle, where all loose ends are tied up, and the story finally ends.

Rising Action

Rising action encompasses the events in your story leading up to the most exciting part of the narrative, usually the climax.


Romance is a genre that focuses on the relationship and romantic love between two characters.

Run-on Sentence

A run-on sentence is a sentence that connects two or more independent clauses without appropriate punctuation or coordinating conjunction.

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Science Fiction

Science fiction is a genre that uses speculative, scientific, or technological elements as a central theme.

Second-Person Narrative

Second-person narrative is a rare and special narrative that uses “you” and involves the reader directly in the story.


A semicolon functions to separate elements within sentences.

Sensory Detail

A sensory detail refers to bits of information that appeal to our five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.


Setting is the time, place, and social environment in which your story unfolds.


Showing involves painting a picture with your words, allowing readers to infer the details for themselves.

Simple Future Tense

The simple future tense indicates actions or state of being that will occur in future events.

Simple Past

The simple past tense shows past actions, whether they occurred at a specific or nonspecific time.

Simple Present Tense

The simple present tense indicates actions or states that either occur at the moment or regularly.

Simple Sentence

A simple sentence is a basic sentence construction with one independent clause.


A slash is a punctuation mark used to show relationships, alternatives, and fractions.

Square Brackets

Square brackers are used to clarify information within quotes.


Storyboard is a sequence of illustrations or images displayed in the order of your narrative’s progression.


A subject refers to the doer of the action or the one that expresses time or existence.

Subordinating Conjunction

A subordinating conjunction is one of the kinds of conjunctions that links a dependent or subordinate clause to an independent clause.


Subplot is a secondary plot that supports and enhances your main story.


Subtext is the underlying message hidden just beneath the layer of dialogue.

Superfluous Writing

Superfluous writing may include redundant phrases or tautologies.


A synopsis is a concise, detailed summary of your entire manuscript, which includes your plot, characters, and the ending.

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Telling is simply stating facts or details outright.


Theme is the subject of a story and an insight or viewpoint about life that the story expresses.

Third-Person Narrative

Third-person narrative uses pronouns like “he,” “she,” or “they” to offer a wider, more objective view.

Time Reference

Time reference indicates when the action takes place.


Tone refers to the writer’s attitude toward their subject.

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A verb is a word that expresses an action, condition, or the fact that anything exists.

Verb Tense

A verb tense refers to the grammatical structure of the verb.

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