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The question of whether Vance was dead or not became more than academic when he found himself in a bathtub up to his chin in ice water like some forgotten cocktail garnish, a demonic woman standing over him, and no memory of how he got there.
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Read free chapters of Dispensing Justice here (or get it here).
Read free chapters of The Red Rook here (or get it here). -- Fritz Freiheit

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Narratology topics on Wikipedia

Template:Definition list of narratology topics on Wikipedia

Narratology Glossary


A-Plot is a cinema and television term referring to the plotline that drives the story. This doesn't necessarily mean it's the most important, but rather the one that forces most of the action. (Source: A-Plot at Wikipedia ) (e)
Anagnorisis (pron.: /ˌænəɡˈnɒrɨsɨs/; Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις), also known as discovery, originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for, what he or she represented; it was the hero's suddenly becoming aware of a real situation and therefore the realization of things as they stood; and finally it was a perception that resulted in an insight the hero had into his relationship with often antagonistic characters within Aristotelian tragedy. Northrop Frye, "Myth, Fiction, And Displacement" p 25 Fables of Identity: Studies in Poetic Mythology, ISBN 0-15-629730-2 -- Source anagnorisis at Wikipedia -- See Anagnorisis at Wikipedia
Template:Anthropomorphism -- See Anthropomorphism at Wikipedia
Template:Anti-romance -- See Anti-romance at Wikipedia
Template:Archetype -- See Archetype at Wikipedia
Template:Aristeia -- See Aristeia at Wikipedia
Article (publishing) 
Template:Article (publishing) -- See Article_(publishing) at Wikipedia
Artistic licence 
Template:Artistic licence -- See Artistic_licence at Wikipedia
Audience surrogate 
In the study of literature, an audience surrogate is a fictional character with whom the audience can identify, or who expresses the questions and confusion of the audience. It is a device frequently used in detective fiction and science fiction.
In detective fiction, the audience surrogate is usually a minor character who asks a central character how he or she accomplished certain deeds, for the purpose of inciting that character to explain (for the curious audience) his or her methods.
In science fiction, the audience surrogate frequently takes the form of a child or other uninformed person, asking a relatively educated person to explain what amounts to the backstory. Clumsy use of this device is derided in the catchphrase "As you know, Bob".
In superhero comics and other stories with a heroic central character, the audience surrogate is often the sidekick of the hero. Like the audience, the surrogate is normally young, permitting the audience vicarious participation in the hero's adventures.
Dr. Watson in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories may be considered an audience surrogate, as would most of The Doctor's many companions in Doctor Who. In Torchwood, this role is filled by Gwen Cooper, and later her husband Rhys Williams. Harry Potter also served this role in the earlier books in the series, but decreasingly so in the later books as the character became more accustomed to the Wizarding World; Eragon is used similarly in the Inheritance Cycle due to the fact that he knows nothing about magic, dwarf, or elvish customs in that around the end of each book he is more customed and is no longer needed as a surrogate.
The West Wing television series frequently uses audience surrogates to explain some aspect of politics. Donna Moss is probably the most commonly used, but other characters are used occasionally in areas which are outside their own fields of expertise.
(Source: Audience surrogate at Wikipedia ) -- See Audience_surrogate at Wikipedia

author surrogate

An author surrogate (or writer surrogate) is a character who acts as the writer's spokesman. Sometimes the character may intentionally or unintentionally be an idealized version of the writer. A well known variation is the Mary Sue or Gary Stu (i.e. self-insertion). (Source: literary technique at Wikipedia ) (Source: author surrogate at Wikipedia )
A character whom the writer, consciously or unconsciously, models after himself. Such characters (e.g. Jubal Harshaw, Stranger in a Strange Land) often dominate the story when they should not, or acquire too many positive attributes, too few faults. Author surrogates often hog the point of view to the detriment of other characters. See Mary Sue. (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) (e)
Authorial intentionality 
Template:Authorial intentionality -- See Authorial_intentionality at Wikipedia
Beat (film) 
A beat is the timing and movement of a film or play. In the context of a screenplay, it usually represents a pause in dialogue. In the context of the timing of a film, a beat refers to an event, decision, or discovery that alters the way the protagonist pursues his or her goal. -- Source: Wikipedia -- See Beat_(film) at Wikipedia

big dumb object

Template:Big dumb object (e)
Big Dumb Object 
Template:Big Dumb Object -- See Big_Dumb_Object at Wikipedia
Body swap 
Template:Body swap -- See Body_swap at Wikipedia


A character is any person, persona, identity, or entity whose existence originates in a work of fiction. The process of creating and developing characters in a work of fiction is called characterization. (Source: Fictional_character at Wikipedia )
Those who people the story, affect it and are affected by it. The best characters are complex, with good and bad points, triumphs and tragedies. They face moral choices. Over the course of the story, they evolve and their evolution mirrors the theme the writer is after. They care strongly and face obstacles, and because of these the reader cares strongly for them. Examples of excellence: Frank Herbert, The Dragon in the Sea, Sparrow, Ramsey, Bonnett; Robert Silverberg, The Man in the Maze, Muller, Boardman, Rawlins. (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ )
Any representation of an individual being presented in a dramatic or narrative work through extended dramatic or verbal representation. The reader can interpret characters as endowed with moral and dispositional qualities expressed in what they say (dialogue) and what they do (action). E. M. Forster describes characters as "flat" (i.e., built around a single idea or quality and unchanging over the course of the narrative) or "round" (complex in temperament and motivation; drawn with subtlety; capable of growth and change during the course of the narrative). The main character of a work of a fiction is typically called the protagonist; the character against whom the protagonist struggles or contends (if there is one), is the antagonist. If a single secondary character aids the protagonist throughout the narrative, that character is the deuteragonist (the hero's "side-kick"). A character of tertiary importance is a tritagonist. These terms originate in classical Greek drama, in which a tenor would be assigned the role of protagonist, a baritone the role of deuteragonist, and a bass would play the tritagonist. Compare flat characters with stock characters. -- (Source: K. Wheeler's Literary Terms and Definitions ) (e)
Character arc 
Template:Character arc -- See Character_arc at Wikipedia

character shield

Character shields (also known as plot armor or plot shield) are plot devices in films and television shows that prevent important characters from dying or being seriously injured at dramatically inconvenient moments. It often denotes a situation in which it strains credibility to believe that the character would survive. (Source: character shield at Wikipedia ) (e)


Characterization is the process of conveying information about characters in fiction. Characters are usually presented through their actions, dialect, and thoughts, as well as by description. Characterization can regard a variety of aspects of a character, such as appearance, age, gender, educational level, vocation or occupation, financial status, marital status, social status, cultural background, hobbies, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ambitions, motivations, personality, etc. (Source: Characterization at Wikipedia ) (e)
Character by function 
Template:Character by function -- See Character_by_function at Wikipedia

Chekhov's gun

Chekhov's gun is the literary technique, similar to foreshadowing, whereby an element is introduced early in the story forming an expectation or contract with the reader that will be resolved at a later point in the story.(Source: Fritz Freiheit) (Also see Wikipedia Chekhov's gun at Wikipedia)
An example can be found in the twin pistols of the title character in Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler, which make an appearance in the first act, but are not used to important effect until the last act. (Source: Chekhov's_gun at Wikipedia ) (e)
Childhood secret club 
Template:Childhood secret club -- See Childhood_secret_club at Wikipedia


A cliché (from French, klɪ'ʃe) is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is generally used in a negative context. (Source: Cliché at Wikipedia ) (e)
Climax (narrative) 
The climax (from the Greek word “κλῖμαξ” (klimax) meaning “staircase” and “ladder”) or turning point of a narrative work is its point of highest tension or drama or when the action starts in which the solution is given. -- Source Climax (narrative) at Wikipedia -- See Climax_(narrative) at Wikipedia
Clip show 
Template:Clip show -- See Clip_show at Wikipedia
Comic book death 
In genres that use comic book death, the primary function of a character's death becomes punctuation to the narrative. Death isn't permanent, merely a way to create temporary drama. -- See Comic_book_death at Wikipedia
Comic relief 
Template:Comic relief -- See Comic_relief at Wikipedia
Comparative mythology 
Template:Comparative mythology -- See Comparative_mythology at Wikipedia


Conflict is a common (some say necessary) element of fiction. It is often classified according to the nature of the antagonist. These include Man vs. Himself, Man vs. Man, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. God, and Man vs. Machine.
When an entity is in conflict with his, her, or itself, the conflict is categorized as internal. Otherwise, it is external. (Source: Conflict (narrative) at Wikipedia )(Updated by: Fritz Freiheit)
Conflict -- The opposition of forces between focus characters and their surroundings: either other focus characters or 'natural forces' (which include, in addition to the elements, peripheral characters). One can have conflict without drama, but it is almost impossible to have drama without conflict. -- (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) (e)


In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time. It is relevant to several media.
Continuity is particularly a concern in the production of film and television due to the difficulty of rectifying an error in continuity after shooting has wrapped up. It also applies to other art forms, including novels, comics, and video games, though usually on a smaller scale. It also applies to fiction used by persons, corporations, and governments in the public eye.
Most productions have a script supervisor on hand whose job is to pay attention to and attempt to maintain continuity across the chaotic and typically non-linear production shoot. This takes the form of a large amount of paperwork, photographs, and attention to and memory of large quantities of detail, some of which is sometimes assembled into the story bible for the production. It usually regards factors both within the scene and often even technical details including meticulous records of camera positioning and equipment settings. The use of a Polaroid camera was standard but has since been replaced by digital cameras. All of this is done so that, ideally, all related shots can match, despite perhaps parts being shot thousands of miles and several months apart. It is an inconspicuous job because if done perfectly, no one will ever notice.
In comic books, continuity has also come to mean a set of contiguous events, sometimes said to be "set in the same universe." (e)
In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time. It is relevant to several media.
Continuity is particularly a concern in the production of film and television due to the difficulty of rectifying an error in continuity after shooting has wrapped up. It also applies to other art forms, including novels, comics, and video games, though usually on a smaller scale. It also applies to fiction used by persons, corporations, and governments in the public eye.
Most productions have a script supervisor on hand whose job is to pay attention to and attempt to maintain continuity across the chaotic and typically non-linear production shoot. This takes the form of a large amount of paperwork, photographs, and attention to and memory of large quantities of detail, some of which is sometimes assembled into the story bible for the production. It usually regards factors both within the scene and often even technical details including meticulous records of camera positioning and equipment settings. The use of a Polaroid camera was standard but has since been replaced by digital cameras. All of this is done so that, ideally, all related shots can match, despite perhaps parts being shot thousands of miles and several months apart. It is an inconspicuous job because if done perfectly, no one will ever notice.
In comic books, continuity has also come to mean a set of contiguous events, sometimes said to be "set in the same universe." -- See Continuity at Wikipedia
-- See Contrast at Wikipedia
The events following the climax of a narrative containing a resolution or clarification.(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Dénouement at Wikipedia
Day in the life of 
Template:Day in the life of -- See Day_in_the_life_of at Wikipedia


A deathtrap is a literary and dramatic plot device in which a villain, who has captured the hero or another sympathetic character, attempts to use an elaborate and usually sadistic method of murdering him/her.
It is often used as a means to create dramatic tension in the story and to have the villain reveal important information to the hero, confident that the hero will shortly not be able to use it. It may also be a means to show the hero's resourcefulness in escaping, or the writer's ingenuity at devising a last-minute rescue or deus ex machina. -- (Source: deathtrap (plot device) at Wikipedia ) (e)
A deathtrap is a literary and dramatic plot device in which a villain, who has captured the hero or another sympathetic character, attempts to use an elaborate and usually sadistic method of murdering him/her.
It is often used as a means to create dramatic tension in the story and to have the villain reveal important information to the hero, confident that the hero will shortly not be able to use it. It may also be a means to show the hero's resourcefulness in escaping, or the writer's ingenuity at devising a last-minute rescue or deus ex machina. -- (Source: deathtrap (plot device) at Wikipedia ) -- See Deathtrap at Wikipedia
Deleted affair 
A deleted affair is the relating of a romantic relationship not in the current story. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Deleted_affair at Wikipedia

Deus ex machina

Or "God from the Box"
A story featuring a miraculous solution to the story's conflict, which comes out of nowhere and renders the plot struggles irelevant. H G Wells warned against SF's love for the deus ex machina when he coined the famous dictum that "If anything is possible, then nothing is interesting." Science fiction, which specializes in making the impossible seem plausible, is always deeply intrigued by godlike powers in the handy pocket size. Artificial Intelligence, virtual realities and nanotechnology are three contemporary SF MacGuffins that are cheap portable sources of limitless miracle. (Source: Turkey City Lexicon )
Deus ex machina -- Miraculous (often offstage) solution to an otherwise insoluble problem. "Look, the Martians all caught cold and died!" (Lewis Shiner) (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ )
Contrast with Diabolus ex machina (e)


A dialogue (or dialog) is a conversation between two or more (as versus monologue) characters. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)
A dialogue (or dialog) is a conversation between two or more (as versus monologue) characters. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Dialogue at Wikipedia
Template:Diegesis -- See Diegesis at Wikipedia
Digital narratology 
Template:Digital narratology -- See Digital_narratology at Wikipedia
Directorial beat 
A directorial beat is an exchange of behaviours between characters in a script. It usually takes the form of action-reaction. Each scene beat by beat, with the characters progressing the action in this, the smallest element of story structure.
The directorial beat should not be confused with a screenplay beat, which indicates a short pause. -- See Directorial_beat at Wikipedia
Dramatic structure 
Dramatic structure is the plot structure of a dramatic work such as a play or screenplay. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics. This article focuses primarily on Gustav Freytag's analysis of ancient Greek and Shakespearean drama. -- Source Dramatic structure at Wikipedia -- See Dramatic_structure at Wikipedia
Elfland catacombs 
Template:Elfland catacombs -- See Elfland_catacombs at Wikipedia
Ellipsis (narrative device) 
Template:Ellipsis (narrative device) -- See Ellipsis_(narrative_device) at Wikipedia
Template:Episode -- See Episode at Wikipedia
Epistolary novel 
An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word epistolary is derived through Latin from the Greek word ἐπιστολή epistolē, meaning a letter (see epistle).
The epistolary form can add greater realism to a story, because it mimics the workings of real life. It is thus able to demonstrate differing points of view without recourse to the device of an omniscient narrator. -- Source: Wikipedia -- See Epistolary_novel at Wikipedia
Template:Eucatastrophe -- See Eucatastrophe at Wikipedia
Evil twin 
Template:Evil twin -- See Evil_twin at Wikipedia
Exercises in Style 
Template:Exercises in Style -- See Exercises_in_Style at Wikipedia


Exposition is a literary technique by which background information about the characters, events, or setting is conveyed in a novel, play, movie, short story or other work of fiction. This information can be presented through dialogue, description, flashbacks, or directly through narrative.
Because exposition generally does not advance plot and tends to interrupt action, it is usually best kept in short and succinct form, though in some genres, such as the mystery, exposition is central to the story structure itself. The alternative to exposition is to convey background information indirectly though action, which, though more dramatic, is more time consuming and less concise. (Source: Exposition_%28literary_technique%29 at Wikipedia )
For an example of exposition, see Chapter 6 of Dispensing Justice. (e)
Exposition Boy 
Template:Exposition Boy -- See Exposition_Boy at Wikipedia
Falling action 
Template:Falling action -- See Falling_action at Wikipedia
False document 
A false document is a technique used to create verisimilitude in a work of fiction. By inventing and inserting documents that appear to be factual, an author tries to create a sense of authenticity beyond the normal and expected suspension of disbelief for a work of art. The goal of a false document is to give an audience the feeling that what is being presented is factual. -- See False_document at Wikipedia

fantasy trope

Template:Fantasy trope (e)
Fantasy tropes 
Template:Fantasy tropes -- See Fantasy_tropes at Wikipedia
Fiction with unreliable narrators 
Template:Fiction with unreliable narrators -- See Fiction_with_unreliable_narrators at Wikipedia
Fiction writing 
Template:Fiction writing -- See Fiction_writing at Wikipedia

fiction-writing mode

Template:Fiction-writing mode (e)
Fiction-writing modes 
Template:Fiction-writing modes -- See Fiction-writing_modes at Wikipedia
Fictional character type 
Template:Fictional character type -- See Fictional_character_type at Wikipedia
Fictional character 
Template:Fictional character -- See Fictional_character at Wikipedia

fictional fictional character

A fictional fictional character is a type of fictional character found in a metafictional work. It is a character whose fictional existence is introduced within a larger work of fiction, such as the Itchy & Scratchy cartoon that exists only within the fictional world of The Simpsons.
When a fictional character's primary existence is in a media outlet that, itself, is fictional, that character is a fictional fictional character. This is usually, but not necessarily, done for comedic effect. For example, when John Ritter played the role of Garry Lejeune in the motion picture Noises Off, and Garry played the role of Roger Tramplemain in the stage production of Nothing On, Roger became a fictional fictional character, since Nothing On exists only within the realm of Noises Off.
The extent to which this can be comically confusing is summed up in the following quote, taken from a behind-the-scenes sequence at the end of the Stargate SG-1 episode "Wormhole X-Treme!": "I'm Christian Bocher, portraying the character of Raymond Gunne, who portrays the character of Dr. Levant, which is based on the character Daniel Jackson, portrayed by the actor Michael Shanks, originally portrayed by the actor James Spader in the feature film." (After a beat he adds, "Are you okay?")
Perhaps the most extreme example of a fictional fictional character is Suicide Squid, whose eponymous comic book doesn't even exist in other media — it all started as an "in-joke" among the regular posters on a Usenet newsgroup. In this case, the "larger work of fiction" containing the Suicide Squid comic book is the ongoing "in-joke" rather than any formalized media.
Even when the character within the "story within a story" is based on a real person or a person from legend, the character takes on the sense of being a "fictional fictional character" by virtue of the setting, even though in fact the character remains a "real fictional character" or even a real person in truth. (Source: Fictional fictional character at Wikipedia )  (e)
Fictional revisionism 
Template:Fictional revisionism -- See Fictional_revisionism at Wikipedia
Not strictly factual. Made up.(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Fiction at Wikipedia
Filler (media) 
Template:Filler (media) -- See Filler_(media) at Wikipedia
Film treatment 
Template:Film treatment -- See Film_treatment at Wikipedia
First-person interpretation 
Template:First-person interpretation -- See First-person_interpretation at Wikipedia

first person

First person narration is used somewhat frequently. The first-person point of view sacrifices omniscience and omnipresence for a greater intimacy with one character. It allows the reader to see what the focus character is thinking; it also allows that character to be further developed through his or her own style in telling the story. First-person narrations may be told like third person ones; on the other hand, the narrator may be conscious of telling the story to a given audience, perhaps at a given place and time, for a given reason. In extreme cases, the first-person narration may be told as a story within a story, with the narrator appearing as a character in the frame story.
In a first person narrative, the narrator is a character in the story. This character takes actions, makes judgments and has opinions and biases. In this case the narrator gives and withholds information based on its own viewing of events. It is an important task for the reader to determine as much as possible about the character of the narrator in order to decide what "really" happens. This type of narrator is usually noticeable for its ubiquitous use of the first-person pronoun, "I".
"I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends. We went out to the Cafe Napolitain to have an aperitif and watch the evening crowd on the Boulevard." from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. The narrator is protagonist Jake Barnes.
In very rare cases, stories are told in first person plural, that is, using "we" rather than "I". Examples are the short stories "Twenty-Six Men and a Girl" by Maxim Gorky and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner, the novella "Anthem" by Ayn Rand, and the novels The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia by Joan Chase, Our Kind by Kate Walbert, I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris.[1]
The narrator can be the protagonist (e.g., Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels), someone very close to him, who is privy to his thoughts and actions (Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes), or an ancillary character who has little to do with the action of the story (Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby). A narrator can even be a character relating the story second-hand, such as Lockwood in Wuthering Heights.
The first person narrator is the type most obviously distinct from the author. It is a character in the work, who must follow all of the rules of being a character, even during its duties as narrator. For it to know anything, it must experience it with its senses, or be told about it. It can interject its own thoughts and opinions, but not those of any other character, unless clearly told about those thoughts.
In autobiographical fiction, the first person narrator is the character of the author (with varying degrees of accuracy). The narrator is still distinct from the author and must behave like any other character and any other first person narrator. Examples of this kind of narrator include Jim Carroll in The Basketball Diaries and Kurt Vonnegut in Timequake. In some cases, the narrator is writing a book ("the book in your hands"), therefore it has most of the powers and knowledge of the author.
-- Source: Wikipedia (e)
First-person narrative 
Template:First-person narrative -- See First-person_narrative at Wikipedia


In history, film, television and other media, a flashback (also called analepsis) is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened prior to the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory. Character origin flashbacks specifically refers to flashbacks dealing with key events early in a character's development (Clark Kent discovering he could fly, for example, or the Elric brothers' attempt to bring back their mother). The television show Lost is particularly well known for extensive use of flashbacks in almost every episode. In the opposite direction, a flashforward (or prolepsis) reveals events that will occur in the future. The technique is used to create suspense in a story, or develop a character. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashback to before the narrative started.
A scene in a narrative is called a flashback if it depicts a set of events that occurred before the scenes immediately preceding it. The closely related term flashforward is used to indicate scenes that depict events taking place after the scenes immediately flowing it. Flashbacks and flash forwards are used frequently in literature, television, and movies for foreshadowing and stronger dramatic effect. -- (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashback_%28narrative%29 )
For an example of flashback, see Chapter 6 of Dispensing Justice. (e)
In history, film, television and other media, a flashforward or flash-forward (also called prolepsis) is an interjected scene that takes the narrative forward in time from the current point of the story. Flashforwards are often used to represent events expected, projected, or imagined to occur in the future. They may also reveal significant parts of the story that has not yet occurred, but soon will in greater detail. In the opposite direction, a flashback (or analepsis) reveals events that have occurred in the past. (Source: flashforward at Wikipedia ) -- See Flashforward at Wikipedia
Flashing arrow 
A flashing arrow is an audiovisual indicator, most commonly used in film or television to foreshadow or focus attention on some object or situation that will be significant later. For example, showing a closeup of an ordinary object, such as a pencil, that will be used to murder someone, or cutting to a postman several times before the actual delivery of a letter with news of a critical plot point. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Flashing_arrow at Wikipedia
Forback Moment 
Template:Forback Moment -- See Forback_Moment at Wikipedia

formula fiction

In popular culture, formula fiction is literature in which the storylines and plots have been reused to the extent that the narratives are predictable. It is similar to genre fiction, which identifies a number of specific settings that are frequently reused. The label of formula fiction is used in literary criticism as a mild pejorative to imply lack of originality.
Formula fiction is similar to genre fiction. The label of genre fiction is typically assigned because of the reuse of settings, content, layout, and/or style. The label of formula fiction is assigned because of the reuse of plot, plot devices and stock characters.
Genres like high fantasy, Westerns and science fiction space opera have specific settings, like the Old West, or outer space. Approaching the genre, certain assumed background information covers the nature and purpose of predictable elements of the story, such as the appearance of dragons in high fantasy, warp drives in science fiction, or shootouts at high noon in Westerns. These set-ups are taken for granted by the genre conventions, and need not be explained for the reader anew.
The formula is defined specifically by predictable narrative structure. Formulaic tales incorporate plots that have been reused so often as to be easily recognizable. Perhaps the most clearly formulaic plots characterize the romantic comedy genre; in a book or film labeled as such, viewers already know its basic plot.
(Source: Formula fiction at Wikipedia ) (e)
Framing device 
The term framing device refers to the usage of the same single action, scene, event, setting, or any element of significance at both the beginning and end of an artistic, musical, or literary work. The repeated element thus creates a ‘frame’ within which the main body of work can develop. -- Source Framing device at Wikipedia -- See Framing_device at Wikipedia


Genres are vague categories with no fixed boundaries. Genres are formed by sets of conventions, and many works cross into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. The scope of the word "genre" is sometimes confined to art and culture, particularly literature, but it has a long history in rhetoric as well. In genre studies the concept of genre is not compared to originality. Rather, all works are recognized as either reflecting on or participating in the conventions of genre. (Source: Genre at Wikipedia )
Genre fiction is a term for fictional works (novels, short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to the fans of that genre. In contemporary fiction publishing, genre is an elastic term used to group works sharing similarities of character, theme, and setting—such as mystery, romance, or horror—that have been proven to appeal to particular groups of readers. Genres continuously evolve, divide, and combine as readers' tastes change and writers search for fresh ways to tell stories. Classic romance novels, such as those written by the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen in the nineteenth century, continue to enjoy popularity today in the form of both books and movies. Despite its popularity, genre fiction is often overlooked by institutions that favor literary fiction. (Source: genre fiction at Wikipedia )
See list of genre definitions (e)
Genre studies 
Template:Genre studies -- See Genre_studies at Wikipedia
Grand argument story 
Template:Grand argument story -- See Grand_argument_story at Wikipedia
Had I but known 
Template:Had I but known -- See Had_I_but_known at Wikipedia
Template:Hamartia -- See Hamartia at Wikipedia
Happy ending 
A happy ending is an ending of the plot of a work of fiction in which almost everything turns out for the best for the hero or heroine, their sidekicks, and almost everyone except the villains. -- Source Happy ending at Wikipedia -- See Happy_ending at Wikipedia
Template:Heterodiegetic -- See Heterodiegetic at Wikipedia
Template:Homodiegetic -- See Homodiegetic at Wikipedia
Iceberg theory 
Template:Iceberg theory -- See Iceberg_theory at Wikipedia

idiot plot

A plot which functions only because all the characters involved are idiots. They behave in a way that suits the writer's convenience, rather than through any rational motivation of their own. (Attr. James Blish) (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)
In medias res 
In medias res (Latin "in the midst of things") is the literary and artistic narrative technique of relating a story from the midpoint, rather than the beginning (cf. ab ovo, ab initio).[2] In an in medias res narrative, the story opens with dramatic action rather than exposition setting up the characters and situation.
In medias res often, though not always, entails subsequent use of flashback and nonlinear narrative for exposition of earlier events in order to fill in the backstory. For example, in Homer's Odyssey, we first learn about Odysseus' journey when he is held captive on Calypso's island. We then find out, in Books IX through XII, that the greater part of Odysseus' journey precedes that moment in the narrative. On the other hand, Homer's Iliad has relatively few flashbacks, although it opens in the thick of the Trojan War.
-- (Source: In medias res at Wikipedia )
-- See In_medias_res at Wikipedia
It was a dark and stormy night 
"It was a dark and stormy night" is an often-mocked and parodied phrase[3] written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the opening sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford.[4] The phrase is considered to represent "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing,"[3] also known as purple prose.
The phrase comes from the original opening sentence of Paul Clifford:
It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
-- Source: Wikipedia -- See It_was_a_dark_and_stormy_night at Wikipedia

less is more

Template:Less is more (e)
List of novels by point of view 
Template:List of novels by point of view -- See List_of_novels_by_point_of_view at Wikipedia
Literary archetypes 
Template:Literary archetypes -- See Literary_archetypes at Wikipedia
Literary element 
A literary element is an inherent constituent of all works of narrative fiction—a necessary feature of verbal storytelling that could be found in any written or spoken narrative. This distinguishes them from literary techniques, or non-universal features of literature that accompany the construction of a particular work rather the necessary characteristics of all narrative. For example, plot, theme, and tone are literary elements, whereas figurative language, irony, or foreshadowing would be considered literary techniques.
Literary elements aid in the discussion and understanding of a work of literature as basic categories of critical analysis; literary elements could be said to be produced by the readers of a work just as much as they are produced by its author. For the most part, they are popular concepts that are not limited to any particular branch of literary criticism, although they are most closely associated with the formalist method of professional literary criticism. There is no official definition or fixed list of terms of literary elements; however, they are a common feature of literary education at the primary and secondary level, and a set of terms similar to the one below often appears in institutional student evaluation. For instance, the New York State Comprehensive English Regents Exam requires that students utilize and discuss literary elements relating to specific works in each of the two essays,.[5] -- (Source: Literary element at Wikipedia ) -- See Literary_element at Wikipedia
Literary forgery 
Template:Literary forgery -- See Literary_forgery at Wikipedia

literary technique

A literary technique or literary device may be used in works of literature in order to produce a specific effect on the reader.
Elements of fiction -- Literary techniques are important aspects of a writer's style, which is one of the five elements of fiction, along with character, plot, setting, and theme. Of these five elements, character is the who, plot is the what, setting is the where and when, and style is the how of a story. [1]
Distinguishing most literary technique from literary genre -- Literary technique is distinguished from literary genre. For example, although David Copperfield employs satire at certain moments, it belongs to the genre of comic novel, not that of satire. By contrast, Bleak House employs satire so consistently as to belong to the genre of satirical novel. In this way, use of a technique can lead to the development of a new genre, as was the case with one of the first modern novels, Pamela by Samuel Richardson, which by using the epistolary technique gave birth to the epistolary novel.
See literary technique at Wikipedia(Updated by: Fritz Freiheit) (e)


A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin) is a plot device that motivates the characters or advances the story, but has little or no actual relevance to the story.
The director and producer Alfred Hitchcock popularized both the term "MacGuffin" and the technique. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Hitchcock explained the term in a 1939 lecture at Columbia University: "[We] have a name in the studio, and we call it the 'MacGuffin.' It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is most always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers." (Source: MacGuffin at Wikipedia )
An external constraint (object, fact, person) whose sole dramatic purpose is to force a character or characters into actions which serve the writer's dramatic theme. Examples: The Maltese Falcon, The Grail in King Author's Knights, or Helen of Troy (but not the One Ring in Tolkien, as it actually does things). -- (Alfred Hitchcock) (e)
Marriage plot 
Template:Marriage plot -- See Marriage_plot at Wikipedia
Template:Meta-reference -- See Meta-reference at Wikipedia
Template:Metafiction -- See Metafiction at Wikipedia
Template:Metanoia -- See Metanoia at Wikipedia
Metaphoric criticism 
Template:Metaphoric criticism -- See Metaphoric_criticism at Wikipedia


Mimesis is usually translated as "imitation" or "representation," though the concept is much more complex than that and doesn't translate easily into English. It is an imitation or representation of something else rather than an attempt to literally duplicate the original. For instance, Aristotle in The Poetics defined tragedy as "the imitation [mimesis] of an action." In his sense, both poetry and drama are attempts to take an instance of human action and represent or re-present its essence while translating it into a new "medium" of material. For example, a play about World War II is an attempt to take the essence of an actual, complex historical event involving millions of people and thousands of square miles over several years and recreate that event in a simplified representation involving a few dozen people in a few thousand square feet over a few hours. The play would be a mimesis of that historic event using stage props, lighting, and individual actors to convey the sense of what World War II was to the audience. In the same way, the process of mimesis might involve creating a film about World War II (translating the event into images projected onto a flat screen or monitor using chemical images on a strip of photosynthetic film), or writing a poem about World War II would constitute an attempt at distilling that meaning into syllables, stress, verse, and diction. Picasso might attempt to embody warfare as a montage of destruction--his painting Guernica is the result. The degree to which each form of art accurately embodies the essence of its subject determines (for many classical theorists of art) the degree of its success.
Additionally, mimesis may involve ecphrasis--the act of translating art from one type of media into another. A classical musician or composer might be entranced by an earlier bit of folkloric art, the legend of William Tell. He attempts to imitate or represent the stirring emotions of that story by creating a stirring song that has the same effect; thus, the famous "The William Tell Overture" results. A story has been translated into a musical score. It is also possible to attempt mimesis of one medium into the same medium. For instance, American musician Aaron Copland was inspired by the simplicity of Quaker music, so he attempted to re-create that music mimetically in "Appalachian Spring," much like he earlier attempted to mimetically capture the American spirit in "Fanfare for the Common Man."
In literature, ecphrasis is likewise used to describe the way literature describes or mimics other media (other bits of art, architecture, music and so on). For instance, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is largely Keats' poetic attempt to capture the eternal and changeless nature of visual art depicted on an excavated piece of pottery. Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" involves an elaborate architectural recreation of three pagan temples, and the artwork on the walls of those temples, as well as the verbal construction of an entire coliseum to enclose a knightly combat. These are both ecphrases seeking to turn one type of non-verbal art into verbal art through mimetic principles. (Source: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_M.html ) (e)
Template:Mode -- See Mode at Wikipedia
A monologue (as versus a dialogue) is an extended, uninterrupted speech by a single person. The person may be speaking his or her thoughts aloud or directly addressing other persons, e.g. an audience, a character, or a reader. -- (Source: Monolgoue at Wikipedia ) -- See Monologue at Wikipedia


The monomyth (often referred to as "the hero's journey") is a description of a basic pattern found in many narratives from around the world. This universal pattern was described by Joseph Campbell in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).[6] A noted scholar of novelist James Joyce, Campbell borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce's Finnegans Wake. (Source: Monomyth at Wikipedia ) (e)

more is more

Template:More is more (e)
Motive (law) 
Template:Motive (law) -- See Motive_(law) at Wikipedia
Myth of redemptive violence 
Template:Myth of redemptive violence -- See Myth_of_redemptive_violence at Wikipedia
Template:Mythemes -- See Mythemes at Wikipedia

mythological archetype

Template:Mythological archetype (e)
Mythological archetypes 
Template:Mythological archetypes -- See Mythological_archetypes at Wikipedia
A narrative is the description of a sequence of events.(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Narrative at Wikipedia

narrative environment

A narrative environment is a space, whether physical or virtual, in which stories can unfold (in other words, anyplace). A virtual narrative environment might be the narrative framework in which game play can proceed. A physical narrative environment might be an exhibition area within a museum, or a foyer of a retail space, or the public spaces around a building - anywhere in short where stories can be told in space. It's also a term coined by the Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design program in Narrative Environments. (Source: Narrative Environment at Wikipedia ) (e)

narrative form

Template:Narrative form (e)
Narrative forms 
Template:Narrative forms -- See Narrative_forms at Wikipedia
Narrative history 
Template:Narrative history -- See Narrative_history at Wikipedia
Narrative hook 
A narrative hook (or hook) is a literary technique in the opening of a story that "hooks" the reader's attention so that he or she will keep on reading. The "opening" may consist of several paragraphs for a short story, or several pages for a novel, but ideally is the opening sentence. -- Source Narrative hook at Wikipedia -- See Narrative_hook at Wikipedia
Narrative paradigm 
Template:Narrative paradigm -- See Narrative_paradigm at Wikipedia

narrative poem

Template:Narrative poem (e)
Narrative poems 
Template:Narrative poems -- See Narrative_poems at Wikipedia
Narrative poetry 
Template:Narrative poetry -- See Narrative_poetry at Wikipedia
Narrative structure 
Narrative structure, a literary element, is generally described as the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to a reader, listener, or viewer. The narrative text structures are the plot and the setting.
Generally, the narrative structure of any work—be it a film, play, or novel—contains a plot, theme, and resolution. It can also be divided into three sections, which are together referred to as the three-act structure: setup, conflict, and resolution. The setup (act one) is where all of the main characters and their basic situations are introduced, and contains the primary level of characterization (exploring the character's backgrounds and personalities). A problem is also introduced, which is what drives the story forward.
The second act, the conflict, is the bulk of the story, and begins when the inciting incident (or catalyst) sets things into motion. This is the part of the story where the characters go through major changes in their lives as a result of what is happening; this can be referred to as the character arc, or character development.
The third act, or resolution, is when the problem in the story boils over, forcing the characters to confront it, allowing all the elements of the story to come together and inevitably leading to the ending. -- (Source: Narrative structure at Wikipedia ) -- See Narrative_structure at Wikipedia

narrative technique

Template:Narrative technique (e)
Narrative techniques 
Template:Narrative techniques -- See Narrative_techniques at Wikipedia
Template:Narrativity -- See Narrativity at Wikipedia


Narratology is the study of the narrative form. (e)


A narrator is an entity within a story that tells the story to the reader (in the form of indirect discourse. It is one of three entities responsible for story-telling of any kind. The others are the author and the reader (or audience). The author and the reader both inhabit the real world. It is the author's function to create the alternate world, people, and events within the story. It is the reader's function to understand and interpret the story. The narrator exists within the world of the story (and only there—although in non-fiction the narrator and the author can share the same persona, since the real world and the world of the story are the same) and presents it in a way the reader can comprehend.
A narrator tells the story from their point of view and is frequently the main character (but not always, see Doctor Watson).
The concept of the unreliable narrator (as opposed to Author) became more important with the rise of the novel in the 19th Century. Until the late 1800s, literary criticism as an academic exercise dealt solely with poetry (including epic poems like The Iliad and Paradise Lost, and poetic drama like Shakespeare). Most poems did not have a narrator distinct from the author. But novels, with their immersive fictional worlds, created a problem, especially when the narrator's views differed significantly from that of the author. -- (Source: Narrator at Wikipedia ) (e)
Template:Narreme -- See Narreme at Wikipedia
Non sequitur (humor) 
Template:Non sequitur (humor) -- See Non_sequitur_(humor) at Wikipedia
Out of character 
Template:Out of character -- See Out_of_character at Wikipedia


Pacing is the rhythm of the novel, of the chapters and scenes and paragraphs and sentences. It's also the rate at which the reader reads, the speed at which novel events occur and unfold. It's using specific word choices and sentence structure -- scene, chapter, and novel structure -- to tap the emotions of the reader so that the reader feels what the writer wants the reader to feel at any given time during the story. -- (Source: [Pacing by Vicki Hinze at fictionfactor.com Pacing by Vicki Hinze at fictionfactor.com] ) (e)
Paratext is a concept in literary interpretation. The main text of published authors (e.g. the story, non-fiction description, poems, etc.) is often surrounded by other material supplied by editors, printers, and publishers, which is known as the paratext. These added elements form a frame for the main text, and can change the reception of a text or its interpretation by the public. Paratext is most often associated with books, as they typically include a cover (with associated cover art), title, front matter (dedication, opening information, forward), back matter (endpapers, colophon) footnotes, and many other materials not crafted by the author. Other editorial decisions can also fall into the category of paratext, such as the formatting or typography. Because of their close association with the text, it seems that authors should be given the final say about paratexual materials, but often that is not the case. One recent example of controversy surrounding paratext is the case of the young adult novel Liar, which was initially published with an image of a white girl on the cover, although the narrator of the story was identified in the text as black.
The concept of paratext is closely related to the concept of hypotext, which is the earlier text that serves as a source for the current text. -- Source: Wikipedia -- See Paratext at Wikipedia


Peripeteia (Greek, Περιπέτεια) is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature. The English form of peripeteia is Peripety. Peripety is a sudden reversal dependent on intellect and logic. In modern Greek περιπέτεια means adventure. (Source: peripeteia at Wikipedia ) (e)


A (narrative) plot is a sequence of events that form a recognizable pattern and terminates in a resolution. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit)
In fiction a plot or storyline is all the events in a story, particularly towards the achievement of some particular artistic or emotional effect. In other words, it's what mostly happened in the story. Such as the mood, characters, setting, and conflicts occurring in a story. (Source: Plot (narrative) at Wikipedia )
The external motivation, the narrative melody around which the story is told. Plot is the action that dramatizes premise or makes characters come to life. Example of excellence: Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress; Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, and many others. (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)

plot coupon

The basic building blocks of the quest-type fantasy plot. The "hero" collects sufficient plot coupons (magic sword, magic book, magic cat) to send off to the writer for the ending. Note that "the writer" can be substituted for "the gods" in such a work: "The gods decreed he would pursue this quest." Right, mate. The writer decreed he would pursue this quest until sufficient pages were filled to procure an advance. (Dave Langford) (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)

plot device

A plot device is an element introduced into a story to solely to advance or resolve the plot of the story. In the hands of a skilled writer, the reader or viewer will not notice that the device is a construction of the author; it will seem to follow naturally from the setting or characters in the story. A poorly-written story, on the other hand, may have such awkward or contrived plot devices that the reader has serious trouble maintaining suspension of disbelief.
Calling an element of a work a 'plot device' is generally derogatory, implying a lack of complexity in the work. Judging something as a plot device is always subjective, and depends on the degree to which the 'item' serves other purposes or is well-integrated into the tale. For example the 'magic item' which the protagonists of a fantasy novel have to find or destroy is often a plot device; however one might hesitate to apply the term to the Ring of The Lord of the Rings, since it also serves many other purposes in the book. (Source: plot device at Wikipedia ) (e)
Plot generator 
A plot generator' is either:
1 a fictional plot device which permits the generation of plots for an extended serial without requiring a great deal of logical connection between the episodes, or
2 a literal device (such as a computer program) used by writers to generate plot ideas.
A plot generator (sense 1) is found in any set-up which will produce an ongoing series of new cases, issues, etc., as in detective or police serials (incoming criminal cases); medical drama (incoming medical cases); and so on. Even more broadly, "what if" stories can permit writers to introduce any idea they want, as in The Twilight Zone; for obvious reasons, this type of plot generator is found generally in the science fiction and fantasy genres, especially in episodic series which have a villain of the week format. -- Source Plot generator at Wikipedia
Also try: Stupid plot tricks (generator) -- See Plot_generator at Wikipedia

plot immunity

Plot immunity is a phenomenon in fiction (particularly serialized fiction, such as television series and comic books) that allows for major characters – usually the protagonist and/or antagonist – to avoid the consequences of events that would remove them from the plot. The most common variation of this is the protagonist's seeming invulnerability to fatal consequences. Killing the hero would end the story without resolution. Reader's awareness of this "immunity" drains the dramatic tension, as they know that the main character won't die in the middle of the first act. The result is the hero being locked in a deathtrap while the audience yawns or laughs.
One way in which a story might work around this is by causing a form of near-fatal injury or consequential setback to the "immune" character. Another is to kill a supporting character, particularly one which the audience has likely grown fond of (for example, the sidekick or love interest, or the hero's pet dog); the sacrifice of "red shirts" do not convince the readers that the main characters are in actual danger of even emotional harm. (Source: plot immunity at Wikipedia )(Updated by: Fritz Freiheit) (e)

plot point

In television and film, a plot point is a significant event within a plot that drives the action and spins it into a new direction. It can also be an object of significant importance (see plot device, particularly a MacGuffin), around which the plot revolves. (e)
Plot twist 
A plot twist is a change ("twist") in the direction or expected outcome of the plot of a film, television series, video game, novel, comic or other fictional work. It is a common practice in narration used to keep the interest of an audience, usually surprising them with a revelation. Some "twists" are foreshadowed and can thus be predicted by many viewers/readers, whereas others are a complete shock.
When a plot twist happens near the end of a story, especially if it changes one's view of the preceding events, it is known as a twist ending.
Revealing the existence of a plot twist often spoils a movie, since the majority of the movie generally builds up to the plot twist.
A device used to undermine the expectations of the audience is the false protagonist. It involves presenting a character at the start of the film as the main character, but then disposing of this character, usually killing them. It is a red herring. -- Source Plot twist at Wikipedia -- See Plot_twist at Wikipedia
Poetic justice 
Template:Poetic justice -- See Poetic_justice at Wikipedia

point of view

Point of view (or POV) and point-of-view character. The 'hidden camera' through which the reader perceives a scene. It may be inside a focus character (we see that character's thoughts and reactions to events), it may move among characters, or it may remain outside of all characters as either an omniscient narrator or an active, present author-voice (e.g. John Fowles, Italo Calvino) commenting on the action.
Point of view is a scarce resource, since it may be only one character at any one instant. Almost by definition, the reader will perceive the point-of-view character as the most important in a scene, and will be sympathetic to the point-of-view character (see Author Surrogate). Identical action will be perceived very differently by the reader if the point-of-view character is shifted (e.g. Rashomon; or Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet and The Avignon Quincunx). Granting a character point-of-view status for a scene usually signals that the character is a focus character, and is an easy way to separate focus and peripheral characters at the beginning of a story. Among the common points of view are:
Third person omniscient: The narrator knows everything, can shift in time and place at whim, from character to character, inside people's thoughts, feelings and motives.
Third person intrusive: The narrator editorializes on the story being told (Dickens, Fielding, Dostoevsky, John Fowles).
Third person unobtrusive or Third person impersonal: Presents the story without comment (Zola, Flaubert, Dashiell Hammett).
Third person limited: The narrator is confined to a single character, sitting on his shoulder or inside his head, observing only what is available to that character (Henry James, Raymond Chandler).
Second person: An uncommon view point where the reader is focus. "You open the door and enter the room."
First person: narrator is almost always intrusive and limited: confined to a single character who may be a witness (c.f. The Great Gatsby), a minor participant (Doctor Watson), or the central character (Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe). First person narrators are frequently either reader surrogates, author surrogates, or both.
-- (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) (e)
Polyphony (literature) 
Template:Polyphony (literature) -- See Polyphony_(literature) at Wikipedia
Premise (film) 
Template:Premise (film) -- See Premise_(film) at Wikipedia
Present day 
Template:Present day -- See Present_day at Wikipedia
Psychological thriller 
Template:Psychological thriller -- See Psychological_thriller at Wikipedia
Purple prose 
Template:Purple prose -- See Purple_prose at Wikipedia


A quest is a journey towards a goal used in mythology and literature as a plot. Quests can be found in the folklore of every nation.[7] In literature, the objects of quests require great exertion on the part of the hero, and the overcoming of many obstacles, typically including much travel. -- (Source: quest at Wikipedia ) (e)
Template:Racconto -- See Racconto at Wikipedia
Real time (media) 
Template:Real time (media) -- See Real_time_(media) at Wikipedia
Representation (arts) 
Template:Representation (arts) -- See Representation_(arts) at Wikipedia
Reverse chronology 
Template:Reverse chronology -- See Reverse_chronology at Wikipedia
Rhetorical modes 
Template:Rhetorical modes -- See Rhetorical_modes at Wikipedia
Template:Rhetoric -- See Rhetoric at Wikipedia
Rising action 
Template:Rising action -- See Rising_action at Wikipedia


Template:Role (e)
Role (performing arts) 
Template:Role (performing arts) -- See Role_(performing_arts) at Wikipedia
Round character 
One narrow definition of a round character is one who is capable of change and evolution throughout a story. A broader definition of a round character, is a character who has depth, isn't a stereotype or a cliche; has identifiable desires and goals; has sufficient detail of behavior, intent, and backstory to be believable to the reader. Contrast with flat character. --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) -- See Round_character at Wikipedia
Rule of three (writing) 
Template:Rule of three (writing) -- See Rule_of_three_(writing) at Wikipedia


A scene is the basic dramatic sub-unit -- an interaction involving one or more focus characters. Scenes are usually ended by the announcement that time has passed ('a week later'), by a termination of the dialogue ('she left then'), a shift in point-of-view character, or an external event ('the room exploded'). A scene which straddles a chapter break is a guaranteed tension-maintainer. (e)
Scene (fiction) 
Template:Scene (fiction) -- See Scene_(fiction) at Wikipedia

science fiction trope

Science fiction tropes are tropes commonly found in science fiction. Sometimes called used furniture. (e)

sf trope

Template:Sf trope (e)
Template:Screenplay -- See Screenplay at Wikipedia
Template:Scriptment -- See Scriptment at Wikipedia

second person

A small number of novels have been written in the second person, frequently paired with the present tense. A relatively prominent example is Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, where the central character is clearly modeled on himself, and he seems to have decided that second-person point of view would create even more intimacy than first-person, creating the feeling that the reader is blind, in a sense, and the plot is leading him or her along. Another example is Damage by A.M. Jenkins, in which the second-person is used to show how distant the depressed main character has become from himself.
The second person format has been used in at least a few popular novels, most notably Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, and Tom Robbins' Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas as well as many short stories. When done well, the readers imagine themselves within the action, which can be used to place them in different situations, for example in Iain Banks' novel Complicity, where the chapters that deal with the actions of a murderer are in the second person. It is almost universally agreed that second-person narration is hard to manage, especially in a serious work. Other examples of second-person narrative are the Choose Your Own Adventure children's books, in which the reader actually makes decisions and jumps around the book accordingly; most interactive fiction; and different chapters from many novels written by Chuck Palahniuk, like his novel Diary.
An even rarer, but stylish version of second person narration takes the form of a series of imperative statements with the implied subject "you", as in this example from Lorrie Moore's "How to Become a Writer":
"Decide that you like college life. In your dorm you meet many nice people. Some are smarter than you. And some, you notice, are dumber than you. You will continue, unfortunately, to view the world in exactly these terms for the rest of your life."
-- Source: Wikipedia (e)
Second-person narrative 
Template:Second-person narrative -- See Second-person_narrative at Wikipedia
Secret history 
Template:Secret history -- See Secret_history at Wikipedia
Template:Self-insertion -- See Self-insertion at Wikipedia


Template:Serial (e)
Template:Serial -- See Serial at Wikipedia


The general locale, historical time, and social circumstances in which the action of a fictional or dramatic work occurs; the setting of an episode or scene within a work is the particular physical location in which it takes place. For example, the general setting of Joyce's "The Dead," is a quay named Usher's Island, west of central Dublin in the early 1900s, and the initial setting is the second floor apartment of the Misses Morkan. Setting can be a central or peripheral factor in the meaning of a work. The setting is usually established through description--but sometimes narration or dialogue also reveals the location and time. (Source: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_S.html )
In fiction, the setting of a story is the time, location and circumstances in which it takes place. Broadly speaking, the setting provides the main backdrop for the story. Sometimes setting is referred to as milieu, to include a context (such as society) beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. In some cases, setting becomes a character itself and can set the tone of a story. -- (Source: Setting (literature) at Wikipedia ) (e)
Shared universe 
Template:Shared universe -- See Shared_universe at Wikipedia
Shooting script 
Template:Shooting script -- See Shooting_script at Wikipedia
Shoulder angel 
Template:Shoulder angel -- See Shoulder_angel at Wikipedia

show, not tell

A cardinal principle of effective writing. The reader should be allowed to react naturally to the evidence presented in the story, not instructed in how to react by the writer. Specific incidents and carefully observed details will render authorial lectures unnecessary. For instance, instead of telling the reader "She had a bad childhood, an unhappy childhood," a specific incident -- involving, say, a locked closet and two jars of honey -- should be shown.
Rigid adherence to show-don't-tell can become absurd. Minor matters are sometimes best gotten out of the way in a swift, straightforward fashion. (Source: Turkey City Lexicon ) (e)
Side story 
Template:Side story -- See Side_story at Wikipedia
Template:Sjuzhet -- See Sjuzhet at Wikipedia
Spec script 
Template:Spec script -- See Spec_script at Wikipedia
Step outline 
Template:Step outline -- See Step_outline at Wikipedia

stock character

A stock character is a fictional character that relies heavily on cultural types or stereotypes for its personality, manner of speech, and other characteristics. Stock characters are instantly recognizable to members of a given culture. Because of this, a frequent device of both comedy and parody is to wildly exaggerate the expected mannerisms of stock characters. (Source: Category:Stock characters at Wikipedia ) (e)
Story arc 
Template:Story arc -- See Story_arc at Wikipedia
STYLE: The author's words and the characteristic way that writer uses language to achieve certain effects. An important part of interpreting and understanding fiction is being attentive to the way the author uses words. What effects, for instance, do word choice and sentence structure have on a story and its meaning? How does the author use imagery, figurative devices, repetition, or allusion? In what ways does the style seem appropriate or discordant with the work's subject and theme? Some common styles might be labeled ornate, plain, emotive, scientific, or whatnot. Most writers have their own particular styles, thus we speak of the "Hemingway style" or "Dickensian style." Click here for more information. (Source: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_S.html#style_anchor )
Style is using words to create an aura, an effect that permeates the story. Extreme style becomes baroque, obtrusive stylization, but when handled deftly, the words become part of the fabric of the world. Examples: Cordwainer Smith, Norstrilia; Zelazny, Lord of Light or Jack of Shadows; and Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun. Example of style run amok, disguising melodrama: late Hemingway. -- See Style at Wikipedia
Template:Subplot -- See Subplot at Wikipedia
Supporting character 
Template:Supporting character -- See Supporting_character at Wikipedia
Suspension of disbelief 
Suspension of disbelief or "willing suspension of disbelief" was a formula devised by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge to justify the use of fantastic or non-realistic elements in literature. Coleridge suggested that if a writer could infuse a "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend his judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative.
The phrase "suspension of disbelief" came to be used more loosely in the later 20th century, often used to imply that the onus was on the reader, rather than the writer, to achieve it. It might be used to refer to the willingness of the audience to overlook the limitations of a medium, so that these do not interfere with the acceptance of those premises. According to the theory, suspension of disbelief is a quid pro quo: the audience tacitly agrees to provisionally suspend their judgment in exchange for the promise of entertainment. These fictional premises may also lend to the engagement of the mind and perhaps proposition of thoughts, ideas, art and perhaps theories. -- See Suspension_of_disbelief at Wikipedia
Sympathetic character 
Template:Sympathetic character -- See Sympathetic_character at Wikipedia
Syntagmatic structure 
Template:Syntagmatic structure -- See Syntagmatic_structure at Wikipedia

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. To do this Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, plus classical and contemporaneous French works. He also analyzed a handful of non-French authors. In his introduction, Polti claims to be continuing the work of Carlo Gozzi, who also identified 36 situations.
This list was published in a book of the same name, which contains extended explanations and examples. The original French-language book was written in the 19th century. An English translation was published in 1917 and continues to be reprinted to this day.
The list is popularized as an aid for writers, but it is also used by dramatists, storytellers and many others. Other similar lists have since been made, some more attuned to modern sensibilities, but Polti's guide remains one of the most popular and enduring. (Source: The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations at Wikipedia ) (e)
The Wheel of Fire 
Template:The Wheel of Fire -- See The_Wheel_of_Fire at Wikipedia
In contemporary literary studies, a theme is the central topic, subject, or concept the author is trying to point out, not to be confused with whatever message, moral, or commentary it may send or be interpreted as sending regarding said concept (i.e., its inferred "thesis"). While the term "theme" was for a period used to reference "message" or "moral," literary critics now rarely employ it in this fashion, namely due to the confusion it causes regarding the common denotation of theme: "[t]he subject of discourse, discussion, conversation, meditation, or composition; a topic." One historic problem with the previous usage was that readers would frequently conflate "subject" and "theme" as similar concepts, a confusion that the new terminology helps prevent in both scholarship and the classroom. Thus, according to recent scholarship and pedagogy, identifying a story's theme—for example, "death"—does not inherently involve identifying the story's thesis or claims about "death's" definitions, properties, values, or significance. Like morals or messages, themes often explore historically common or cross-culturally recognizable ideas and are almost always implied rather than stated explicitly. Along with plot, character, setting, and style, theme is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.
In literature, a theme is a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work. This message is usually about life, society or human nature. Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Themes are usually implied rather than explicitly stated. Deep thematic content is not required in literature; however, some readers would say that all stories inherently project some kind of outlook on life that can be taken as a theme, regardless of whether or not this is the intent of the author. Analysis of changes in dynamic characters can provide insight into a particular theme.
Theme is the underlying element which governs the writer's selection of dramatic events to show onstage. Can be a belief (e.g. Catch-22, war is insane, only lunatics fight in wars), a proposition to be proved, a moral dilemma, or an attribute of human character.
The theme of Left Hand of Darkness is sexuality; Dragon in the Sea, neurosis; and Lord of the Rings, the evil of power. Implanting the theme in every aspect of the story -- setting, characters, plot, texture -- often strengthens its power. In Left Hand, beings who are sexually indifferent live on a planet named Winter. Cold affects every aspect of the story just as neuter androgyny affects the personality of every character. Just as the point-of-view character -- a normal human who serves as the reader surrogate -- becomes physically cold, he becomes sexually neutral. (Original source: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/being-a-glossary-of-terms-useful-in-critiquing-science-fiction/ ) -- (Source: Theme at Wikipedia ) -- See Theme at Wikipedia
Third-person interpretation 
Template:Third-person interpretation -- See Third-person_interpretation at Wikipedia
Third-person limited omniscient 
Template:Third-person limited omniscient -- See Third-person_limited_omniscient at Wikipedia

third person

Third person limited became the most popular narrative perspective during the twentieth century. Third person limited is sometimes called the "over the shoulder" perspective; it shows the story as though the narrator could only describe events that could be perceived by a viewpoint character. It can be used very objectively, showing what is actually happening without the filter of the protagonist's personality, thus allowing the author to reveal information that the protagonist doesn't know or realize. However, some authors use an even narrower and more subjective perspective, as though the viewpoint character were narrating the story; this is dramatically very similar to the first person, allowing in-depth revelation of the protagonist's personality, but uses third-person grammar. Some writers will shift perspective from one viewpoint character to another.
In third person limited the narrator is outside of the story and tells the story from only one character's view. The character's thoughts are revealed through the narrator. The reader learns the events of the narrative through the perceptions of the chosen character. Third person limited uses pronouns such as he, she, they, their, herself, himself, themselves, etc.
Historically, the "third person omniscient" perspective was more common. This is the tale told from the point of view of the storyteller who knows all the facts. An example of this would be "little did he know" when told by that third person, such as a narrator. The primary advantage is that it injected the narrator's own perspective and reputation into the story, creating a greater sense of objectivity for the story. The disadvantage of this mode is that it creates more distance between the reader and the story. A variation is where the narrator is a character in the story; a small amount of the story might be told in first person.
Some make the distinction between "third person omniscient" and "universal omniscient"; the difference being that in universal omniscient, the narrator reveals information that the characters do not have. This is also called "Little Did He Know" writing as in "Little did he know he'd be dead by morning." Currently this style is out of favor.
There is also a "third person objective" perspective which tells a story without detailing any characters' thoughts and instead gives an objective point of view. This point of view can be described as "a fly on the wall" and is preferred in newspaper articles.
-- (Wikipedia: Third person narrative mode ) (e)
Third-person narrative 
Template:Third-person narrative -- See Third-person_narrative at Wikipedia
Traitté de l'origine des romans 
Template:Traitté de l'origine des romans -- See Traitté_de_l'origine_des_romans at Wikipedia
Twist ending 
A twist ending or surprise ending is an unexpected conclusion or climax to a work of fiction, and which often contains irony or causes the audience to reevaluate the narrative or characters. A twist ending is the conclusive form of plot twists. -- (Source: Twist ending at Wikipedia ) -- See Twist_ending at Wikipedia
Unageing or ageless typically describes a character that does not age, such as the the Simpsons or the Hardy Boys. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unageing. -- See Unageing at Wikipedia
Unreliable narrator 
A narrator who is eventually revealed to have been concealing the truth, or even mis-stating it (unintentionally or deliberately). A development of twentieth-century literature (first made famous in Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd), the unreliable narrator is often used to force the reader to reinterpret events previously experienced. (CSFW: Steve Popkes) -- See Unreliable_narrator at Wikipedia


Verisimilitude is how close something is to reality. Similar to mimesis (which is more of an idealized form of reality). --(Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)
Verisimilitude (literature) 
Template:Verisimilitude (literature) -- See Verisimilitude_(literature) at Wikipedia


A villain is an "evil" character in a story, whether an historical narrative or, especially, a work of fiction. The villain usually is the bad guy, the character who fights against the hero. A female villain is sometimes called a villainess. Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines villain as "a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel; or a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot." (see Random House Unabridged Dictionary Web Result) (Source: Villain at Wikipedia ) (e)
World building 
Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. The resulting world may be called a constructed world or a conworld.[8] The term "worldbuilding" was popularized at science fiction writers' workshops in the 1970s. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers.[9] Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work. Constructed worlds can be created for personal amusement and mental exercise, or for specific creative endeavors such as novels, video games, or role-playing games. -- (Source: Wikipedia:Worldbuilding ) -- See World_building at Wikipedia
Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. The resulting world may be called a constructed world or a conworld.[10] The term "worldbuilding" was popularized at science fiction writers' workshops in the 1970s. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers.[11] Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work. Constructed worlds can be created for personal amusement and mental exercise, or for specific creative endeavors such as novels, video games, or role-playing games. -- (Source: Wikipedia:Worldbuilding ) -- See Worldbuilding at Wikipedia
Writer's voice 
Template:Writer's voice -- See Writer's_voice at Wikipedia
Writing style 
Template:Writing style -- See Writing_style at Wikipedia

Narratology links

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