Writing Tips

Glossary for Writing Novices!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that for newbies to writing there are words or phrases that you’ll never have come across before that make you want to tear your hair out in frustration. Today I’m going to discuss all the fancy terms used in writing that you were too afraid to ask.

Glossary for Writing Novices

Your protagonist is the main character in your novel or screenplay. Simple right? Think Katniss in The Hunger Games with her awesome archery skills and accidently inciting a mass rebellion against the most corrupt administration since V for Vendetta’s dictatorship.

Also known as the baddie, evil guy or dastardly villain in your masterpiece aka the person trying to foil your protagonist. Best example of the top of my head is Cruella of 101 Dalmatians. She wants to make fur coats from puppies… jeez how low can you get?

This is the main character but with significant flaws and let’s face it they are usually not that likeable. Picture Patrick Bateman from American Psycho and you get the idea.

A narrative is simply the overall story of your manuscript, usually told in chronological order but not always. Some films reveal their story in a disjointed and jumbled sequence of events, such as Nolan’s Memento.

Plot Point
A significant event or action that transitions in to a new Act and a new series of events as a result. In the original Rocky (1976) this occurs when Rocky finally accepts the opportunity to fight Apollo Creed after Jergens insists it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Essentially this is a short reminder scene that serves to reinforce who the antagonist is and what goal your protagonist still needs to accomplish. In my own manuscript a clear example would be when trucker girl arrives at the outpost to find dozens dead and children missing because it reminds the audience of what is at stake.

Every story has a conflict; this is a collection of obstacles that stand in the way of your protagonist’s goal. This could be a super villain such as Ursula in The Little Mermaid who seeks to block Ariel’s path to true love or the would be bomber Payne in Speed who wants to kill everyone on the bus.

Foreshadowing is made up of a series of small hints within your story that serve to predict what is to come. If you consider Mice and Men Lenny’s death echoes that of Candy’s dog earlier on.

Exposition is used by writers to reveal background information that is necessary to understand the story; it can be a voice over, flashback or even a conversation between two characters. The expoaitional flashback to the murder of Andy’s wife in The Shawshank Redemption reveals why Andy was imprisoned which is significant later.

Meet Cute
An odd phrase first coined in the early 1940s the ‘meet cute’ refers to the first (usually unconventional) meeting between romantic interests on screen and in novels. Sally instantly hates Harry in the rom-com classic When Harry Met Sally but regardless there is a spark that the audience picks up on immediately.

The climax is the result of a culmination of events that have transpired throughout your protagonist’s journey as they face their final battle to achieve their goal. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ climax is the final battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort at Hogwarts.

That’s all for today folks but if there are any more you think of feel free to comment below and I’ll gladly update the list! TTYL.

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