Literary Glossary

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Allusion
     A reference in a literary work to a person, place, thing, or idea from history or pop culture; or to a work of art, music, or literature  

Editing
     
A stage of the writing process in which a writer strives to improve a draft by correcting errors in grammar, spelling, formatting, and other mechanics

Essay
     
A concise genre of  nonfiction writing that explores an idea or argues a point

Genre
     
A way of categorizing various forms (novel, poem, drama, short story) of literature. Different genres are characterized by similarities in style, subject matter, tone, or other elements. Genres can be fiction or non-fiction.

Imagery
     
Vivid language that appeals to one or more of the senses

Mechanics

     A term used to describe the technical aspects of writing, such as spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and abbreviations; refers to a set of rules which are designed to make the writing easy to understand. 

Metaphor
     An indirect comparison of two unlike things in which some quality of one is transferred to the other

Motif
     A narrative element (an image, a phrase, a stylistic or structural device, etc.) that pops up throughout a literary work

Narrator
     Within a literary work, the real person, the fictional character, or the impersonal voice who tells the story to the reader

Narrative

Narrative Point of View
     The position from which a narrator relates the action of a story

Personification
     A metaphor in which the qualities of a human being are transferred to something that is not a human being

Perspective

Poetry    
     Writing that combines multiple uses of language, especially meter, form, figurative language, and rhyme

Point of View

Prose
     Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure

Revision
     Changing the meaning, content, structure, word choice, or style of a piece of writing, in order to most effectively express an idea and/or communicate to an audience. Revision happens throughout the writing process when writers add, remove, move and substitute text

Simile
     A direct comparison of two unlike things using a comparison word, such as “like” or “as"

Symbolism
     When an element of a literary work—such as an object, image, or action—is more than just itself; it also represents something bigger and more abstract.

Theme
     A big idea that pops up over the course of a literary work (story, play, poem, etc.)—and about which the work may offer a certain message

Thesis Statement

Writing Process
     An approach to writing that views it as an ongoing experience, something more than simply sitting down to write.  The writing process generally operates in some variation of three to five “stages”:

  • Prewriting
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Publishing