Glossary of Literary Terms


Antagonist The leading character or situation that stops the protagonist from having a happy ending.


Blank Verse unrhymed line of iambic pentameter, which is the standard verse of Shakespeare’s plays


Climax The point of the story when all previous consequences came to a point

Crisis the point when things change for the main character from which there is no going back

Canon A rule by which something is judged. I.e literary classics.


Dialogue spoken exchanges between characters in a b=novel/play

Drama a literary performance by actors, usually screen, radio or stage.

Dramatic Arc structure of the play, film or novel. It starts with a Crisis increases to the Climax and then heads to the resolution.


Empathy Ability of a reader to understand and share the emotions of character

Epilogue short text/chapter at the end of a written work. Usually to conclude a novel or set up a new one.


First person narrator a narrator that in the story. The narrative usually included ‘I’ and therefore allows the character/reader to include their own voice

Five-act structure Dividing the dramatic arc into 5 sections

Act 1: Set up, inciting Incident
Act 2: Increasing complications
Act 3: Midpoint, crisis, turning point
Act 4: Increasing complications, reversals
Act 5: Climax, Resolution

FreeWriting Creative writing technique, writing as much a possible in a set period of time.


Genre literary form within set parameters of understood norms


Heroic Journey a story structure seem in many Fantasy Novels

  1. Ordinary World
  2. Call to adventure
  3. Refusal of the call
  4. Meeting the mentor
  5. Crossing the threshold
  6. Tests, allies and enemies
  7. Approach to the inmost cave
  8. Ordeal
  9. Reward
  10. The road block
  11. Resurrection
  12. Return with the elixir


Iambic Pentameter The main verse used in Shakespeares plays. With the verse it contains stressed and unstressed syllables

Ideology a set of assumptions that may or may have any objective

Idiom distinctive form of expression

Inciting incident the event that prompts the character to action


Metaphor a term in which one thing is described as another

Midpoint the point within the story where there is a major turning point


Narrative persona the way in which the narrative voice has its own personality

Narrative structure the way in which the story is assembled

Narrator can be a character within the story or a separate character . Tells the story

Novella a work of prose fiction that is larger than the short story but smaller than a novel


Plot The pattern of events and situations of a dramatic work

Protagonist Leading character in a story

Pseudonym a fictitious name sometimes used by authors as an alias.


Realism piece of literature where the focus is on the complex facts of real life

Resolution conclusion of events in a novel.

Reversal A change in the fortunes of the protagonist .


Scene a sequence usually occurring in one place in one time

Set-up The early part of the story where there the story, world and characters are being established

Show, Don’t Tell creative writing concept that involves using dialogue, actions and descriptions to make a piece of writing vivid.

Significant Details carefully chosen details to construct a believable world.

Simile a metaphor that uses such words as ‘like’ and ‘as’

Soliloquy A speech made by a character alone on stage aimed at the audience.


Third-Person Character a narrator who uses ‘he’ ‘she’ or ‘they’. From a distance from the events.

Tragedy A serious peice of work where the main character receives calamity. The ending is not happy.

Turning Point a moment in a story of significant change