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GLOSSARY

Glossary of Writing Terms

Welcome to the world of writing! There are certain terms and phrases that you will come across as you enter this wonderful world. Word-Mart has compiled a list of writing terms and phrases for your reference. This is by no means a comprehensive glossary, but as complete as we could make it for these pages. We hope it proves to be useful to Word-Mart’s visitors.

In case you feel there are other words that should have been included, or you need explanations of any of these terms, please feel free to write to us at help@word-mart.com

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A

About the Author: Relevant information about the author, written for books, proposals, articles, and websites. Usually a couple of paragraphs to one page, written in the third person.

Acrostic: A sentence where the first letter of each word of the sentence helps to remember the spelling of a word, or order of things. For example – Never Eat Sour Wieners = North, East, South, West.

Advance: A percentage of the money paid to the writer by a publisher prior to publication of the book. Advances are paid against future royalties, and are paid back to the publisher once the book starts earning royalties.

Agent: An individual who markets creative works to publishers. Agents charge a commission of around 10 to 20 percent, rather than charging a fee.

All Rights: The publication owns all the rights to the work in all the media worldwide, but does not own the copyright.

Allegory: A narrative technique in which the characters are portrayed as things or concepts in order to convey a message. Usually used for satirical or political purposes.

Alliteration:  A series of words in a sentence all beginning with the same sound. For example: Sing a song of six-pence.

Ambiance:  The feeling or mood of a particular scene or setting.

Ambiguity: Allows for two or more simultaneous interpretations of a word, phrase, action, or situation, all of which can be supported by the context of a work.

Analogy: A comparison of two unlike things, used to explain or illustrate a concept.

Anaphora: Several consecutive sentences all starting with the same words. For example – I will not give up. I will do it.  I will succeed.

Antagonist: The main character or force in a fiction that tries to stop the protagonist (the hero or heroine of the story) from achieving his/her goal.

Anthology: A collection of short stories written by various authors, compiled in one book or journal.

Antonyms: Words which are opposites in meaning. For example – come and go, clean and dirty, good and bad, etc.   

Assignment: A piece of writing that a writer has been assigned to write by an editor or publisher for a pre-determined fee.

Assonance: Repetition of internal vowel sounds in nearby words that do not end the same, used to emphasize important words in a line. For example – asleep under a tree.

Autobiography: The writer’s own life story.  

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B

Backlist: Books published before the present year, but still in print.

Ballad: A narrative folksong, usually created by common people and passed on orally.

Beat: One count pause in speech, action, or poetry.

Bibliography: The list of books, magazines, journals, people, websites, or any other resources that you consulted in the process of writing a book, article, or paper.

Bimonthly: Once every two months.

Biography: A life story of someone other than the writer’s.

Bionote (Bio): A short 2 or 3 sentence description of the author written in the 3rd person, usually to accompany an article.

Biweekly: Once every two weeks.

Blank Verse: Poetry that doesn’t rhyme.

Boilerplate: A standard publishing contract, with no changes made by the author or agent. The boilerplate is the starting point only, and later changes are usually made.

Book Review: A summary of a book, including its critique.

Byline: The author’s name appearing with his/her published work.

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C

Canon: Works generally considered by scholars, critics, and teachers to be the most important to read and study.

Caption: A brief description of a picture, graph, table, or diagram.

Characterization: The author’s expression of a character’s personality through the use of action, dialogue, thought, or commentary.

Cliché: An overused expression.

Climax: The moment of greatest intensity in a story, usually the point where the central character/protagonist faces and deals with the consequences of all his/her actions.

Clips: Published samples of writings that a writer submits with queries to prospective markets. Sometimes called “tear sheets”.

Closet Drama: A play written to be read rather than performed on stage.

Connotation: Implications that go beyond the literal meaning of the word.

Copyediting: Checking for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and word usage.

Copyright: The ownership by an author of his or her work. Copyright laws recognize the author’s right of ownership of anything that the author writes immediately upon its creation.

Couplet: Two consecutive lines of poetry that usually rhyme and have the same meter.

Cover Letter: A short letter accompanying a manuscript, proposal, or resume that introduces you, your work, and your credits. No more than one page.

CV:  Curriculum Vitae - a short one page resume.

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