Here’s a quick reference to some of the buzzwords used in the literary world.

Characterization – The method a writer uses to communicate information about characters to readers

Climax – The moment when the action comes to its highest point of dramatic conflict

Complication – Any obstacle that increases the tension of the story

Conflict – The central source of tension and drama in the story

Dialogue – The actual words that characters speak

Dramatic irony – A technique that increases suspense by letting readers know more about the dramatic situation that the characters know

Exposition – Background material about the characters, setting, and dramatic situation with which the author introduces the essentials of the story to the reader

Falling Action – The part of the story, following the climax and leading to the resolution, in which there is a sharp decline in dramatic tension

Foreshadowing – A writing technique that gives readers clues about events that will happen later in the story

Imagery – The use of selected details to describe one thing in terms of another

Irony – A particular tone created when the speaker intends a meaning that is opposite to the words hi or she says

Character development – The ways in which a novelist shows how a character changes as a result of experiencing a sequence of events over an extensive period of time

Crisis – a small peak of dramatic tension that functions within a chapter in the way that the more dramatic climax functions in the novel plot as a whole

Flashback – a dramatic scene that is presented out of chronological plot sequence

Foil – a character that serves as a contrast to another

Genre – Any of a number of traditional forms of the novel that are categorized by a particular treatment of characters, setting, plot, or style

In media res – a latin term meaning “in the midst of things” that describes a plot that starts at a moment of high action in the middle of the story and provides the reader with necessary background information later on

Multiple points of view – a narrative technique in ;which the novel’s storyline is told by more than one character in the plot

Parallel plotting – The technique of presenting more than one storyline to the reader at the same time

Plot – the arrangement of story events that defines a novel’s structure

Serial plotting – the technique that creates suspense by telling the plot in a series of unresolved chapters with cliffhanger endings

Stream of consciousness – a narrative point of view that presents the actual thoughts going on inside the character’s mind

Subplot – a secondary storyline involving secondary characters that parallels or contrasts with the main plot involving the central characters

Narrator – the speaker who tells the story

Point of view – the perspective from which a story is told

Protagonist – the central character of the story

Resolution – the conclusion of the story

Rising action – the part of the story, including exposition, in which the tension rises

Setting – the environment in which the story takes place

Structure – the framework that determines how a story is put together, it’s skeleton

Style – the characteristic ways that an individual author uses language

Suspense – techniques used by the author to keep readers interested in the story

Symbol – an image, object, character, or action that stands for an idea beyond its literal meaning

Theme – the story’s main ideas, the message that the author intends to communicate by telling the story

Tone – the clues in a story that suggest the writer’s own attitude toward the elements of his or her story