Literary Terms? Who Wants them? Who Needs them?

Literary Terms? Who Wants them? Who Needs them? The anti-glossary of writing terms

As you may remember last week we began Carrie’s Anti-Craft Book of Literary Terms, which is also called:

GLOSSARY OF IMPORTANT LITERARY TERMS, WHICH I WOULD (MAYBE) FIND IN A CRAFT BOOK IF I COULD BRING MYSELF TO READ ONE AGAIN, WHICH I CAN NOT, SO NO TRYING TO FORCE ME! I AM NO LONGER IN A MFA PROGRAM, SO JUST STOP IT RIGHT NOW. IT’S MY OWN LIFE DAMNIT:

Today we start with the Letter L.

(Note: the rest of the summer my posts will be much more intelligently done, I promise. Sort of? I sort of promise.) 

Literature

This must be pronounced LIT-er- AHHHHHH-ture with either a wealthy Bostonian or Philadelphian accent (Although if you can become fake British for a moment, please do it. Everything sounds better when you sound like the Queen) or else it doesn’t count as literature and you obviously aren’t writing it. 

There’s been some debate over literature writing vs. genre writing and which is better or if there’s even a difference. 

There are differences.

People who claim to write Literature always say the word with that special accent and they remember to make the word capitalized. It’s that important. And gosh, darn it, so are they.

People who write in specific genres tend to be able to afford to eat dinner, lunch, and breakfast, and occasionally even have snacks. 

(Note: This entry is not written so as to offend the literature writers. It’s just that if there is a penultimate smack-down between the two, I have to side with the genre writers because:

  1. I get hungry when I don’t eat and they can feed me. Angry Irish poets usually only have Guinness available and maybe tea.
  2. Steve Wedel writes genre officially and well, I don’t want to go up against a guy who writes good werewolf horror, you know? Plus, he makes me laugh and he co-wrote the book down there. Do not make your cowriters cranky!

I, of course, would like to wave the flag of happiness and peace and beg both sides to love each other, and say: C’mon, dudes. The two things are not mutually exclusive. Do not tell me that OCTAVIAN NOTHING is not both Literature and genre. It is! All Young Adult novels count as genre. 

M

Money/Moolah/Checks/Dough/Dollars/Quarters

This is something many writers never actually see.  Although, sometimes if you read your poems loudly enough on a street corner and put a hat out, people will throw their hot dog wrappers into that hat, which is almost like money.

Note: Licking the ketchup off used hotdog wrappers and occasionally catching a tiny piece of onion is enough to nourish a starving writer for 10 hours.

Melodrama (this entry is provided by the brilliant fabulousfrock)


Melodrama is something many writers add to spice up their conflicts.   

Beware!  Melodrama is like pepper.  If you must pick up the melodrama grinder, you only want to twist it once or twice!

Melodramatic characters tend to have tragic pasts.  They are often orphans because their parents died, and they did not die of heart disease or cancer, they died in a house fire, car wreck, or, best of all, were murdered in front of the protagonist’s eyes so the protagonist can weep over their dead bodies and slip the wedding ring from their mother’s finger and carry it as a keepsake.  (Not that I  ever wrote a scene like this.  Ahem.)

Watch out if your character description looks anything like this:

“Azadriel is a fallen angel vampire who was cursed to be an assassin by the Dark God Lazmortius.  His parents died when he was six when they were murdered by a demon ghost.  Also, he is missing an eye and wears  an cool-looking eyepatch and he has some awesome scars.  Now he wanders the earth assassinating people…but secretly yearning for the love that will end his curse!”

N

No

Become familiar with this word! You will hear it often from your agent/editor/copy editor/publicist/writing group/critique partners/readers.

Examples of the word ‘no’ used in a sentence are as follows:

No, writing about condoms is not a good idea for a picture book.

No, writing about rainbows who fall in love is not a good idea for a young adult horror novel.

No, you did not earn out your advance.

No, you may not sleep over again tonight.

No, I am serious, there is no narrative arch in your book. 

O

Objective Case

According to THE TONGUE UNTIED, “Using the objective case indicates that the pronoun is acting as an object. The object pronouns are: me, you, him, her, them, us, whom and it.”

  • A pronoun is direct object
    • My agent likes me wayyyyyyyyy too much. Wink.
      • Me is the object. Of course, I am. 
    • If you aren’t too busy clipping your toe nails, would you mind telling her to stop stalking me.
      • HER is the direct object.
  • As an indirect object
    • My agent handed me the review from Kirkus.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • When I opened it up, my agent gave me a hug because I was about to collapse from fear.
      • ME is the indirect object.
    • I wondered whom I could complain to since the reviewers are anonymous.
      •  WHOM is the indirect object.
  • As an object of a preposition
    • For her, no other choice seems reasonable. She must send out a blog post complaining about Kirkus
      • HER is the object 
  • As an object of a verbal 
    • Reprimanding Kirkus and her does little good.
      • HER equals object 
    • I want to murder them.
      • Them is the object.
    • Murdering them over a review, the author tried to get more publicity for her book.
      • THEM is the object.

Opening Sentence

Almost all craft books will tell you that the opening sentence MUST catch the reader’s attention. It must be beyond brilliant. The opening sentence must have hands as strong as the Incredible Hulk so that it can grab the reader by the throat and the reader can not get free, not ever, not even if she/he wanted to, because that opening sentence’s grip is so strong. 

Opening sentence! Opening sentence! Loosen up. The reader needs to breathe. Vessels are popping the reader’s eyes, you’re holding on so tightly.

Whew.

Okay. Reader? Reader? Can you breathe?

Good.

Example of a good opening sentence:

Yikes!

(I know you think this is cheating, but come on. It’s hard to lose a reader’s attention with just one word.)

Example of a bad opening sentence: 

While ornithology may be the study of birds and some people may enjoy studying things with feathers those same people have been know to extol the charms of beaks that are of the yellowish-tint as opposed to the orange-tint of others, which has come to be a major issue in the field causing ornithologists to occasionally have full-throttle pillow fights, the likes of which only rival the throw-downs between writers of the literary vs genre factions.

P

Page Count

What some authors get obsessed about. Others get obsessed about word counts.

Author 1: I only wrote 10 pages today. I am such a slacker.

Author 2: Dude. I only wrote 24,000 words.

Author 1: Oh my God. Why am I so slow?

Author 2: Dude. You think you’re slow. I should’ve at least written 28,000 words today, but I started looking at Facebook.

Author 1: (bangs head on computer keyboard) I can’t believe I suck so bad.

Author 2: Dude ….

Author 1: (screaming)

Author 2: (points at blank screen) Dude, I think you erased your file when you hit your head on the computer.

Author 1: (passes out)

Punctuation

I refuse to talk about this because if I do the comma splices will hear. They hear everything. And then they will come, to get me, I can feel it, oh no, they, are already here.

Periodic Tables

The sexiest of all the table. Seriously. Look at them.

WRITING NEWS

IN THE WOODS – READ AN EXCERPT, ORDER NOW!

My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!

Gasp! 

It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed! 

You can order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?

In the Woods
In the Woods


ART NEWS

You can buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site. 

Carrie Jones Art for Sale

PATREON OF AWESOME

You can get exclusive content, early podcasts, videos, art and listen (or read) never-to-be-officially published writings of Carrie on her Patreon. Levels go from $1 to $100 (That one includes writing coaching and editing for you wealthy peeps). 

Check it out here. 

WHAT IS PATREON? 

A lot of you might be new to Patreon and not get how it works. That’s totally cool. New things can be scary, but there’s a cool primer HERE that explains how it works. The short of it is this: You give Patreon your paypal or credit card # and they charge you whatever you level you choose at the end of each month. That money supports me sharing my writing and art and podcasts and weirdness with you. 

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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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