Book Blogging 101 – Define It Right, Fiction Terminology

Are you ever at a loss for words as far as describing something in the book you are reviewing? I know I am. I know it is a device used in writing, but my creative writing class recall fails me. What do you call the bad guy again? What is it when the author jumps from head to head? Well here it is, just for you!

Character TerminologyCharacter Terminology

The Antagonist – The Bad Guy or Villain, it is the main character in opposition to the protagonist

The Antihero/Antiheroine – The main character that has no heroic traits, sometimes referred to as the Byronic hero. Well-known antiheroes include  Dexter Morgan (Darkly Dreaming Dexter), Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye)

Dynamic Character – A character that changes their nature throughout the story

Flat Character – What we sometimes refer to as a 2D characters, not a developed character

Minor Character – not the main character — but a minor one

The Protagonist – The main character of the story, the hero or heroine/antihero or antiheroine

Round Character – There are many sides to this character, hence round. A completely and fully developed character.

Static Character – The character does not change

Stereotype/Stock Character – A character that has expected qualities for their “group”, whether a profession, social classification or racial grouping etc. Stereotypes are often considered in poor taste.


Plot Terminology

Plot TerminologyClimax – The greatest point of conflict within the story, it is where everything reaches maximum tension and the outcome of the story is usually decided at this point

Cliffhanger – The book is done and the reader is left with a lot of unanswered questions, usually it happens in the middle of a climatic scene. Cliffhangers were at first used within books at the end of the chapters, but with the popularity of series books a lot of authors have begun implementing them at the end of the book to urge the reader to continue in the series.

Closed Ending – Everything is tied up, there is no loose ends – the book is finished and everything is known.

Coincidence – This is considered a contrived or forced device to move the plot forward, an event that happens by chance, but readers usually know that if it wouldn’t have happened the plot would never have moved forward

Complication & Conflict – The struggle. A complication is usually a newly introduced conflict. There are also internal conflict, which is an inner struggle within the character, an interpersonal conflict where the hero/heroine is conflicting with someone else. There is also external conflicts with nature and fate.

Denouement / Falling Action – This is where all those loose ends are brought together at the end of the climax. The antagonists confession, or the plot threads all intertwining

Exposition – Setting up the story, the explanation of the world or introduction of the characters

Falling Action – The Plot threads are coming together and finding resolutions

Flashback – The book goes back in time via the plot’s timeline

Foreshadowing – This is a clue given within the book that hints at the ending

In medias res / medias in res – The story begins within the middle of the action, this usually results with the character having a lot of flashbacks. The most compelling example of this is the epic poetry, the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer.

Open Ending – The reader is left with questions and have to figure out the conclusion of the book. It is not “laid out” for them

Plot – The sequence of events that occur within the book, that sequence is called the narrative order. Most narrative orders occur with the exposition (explanation), rising action (discover of conflict) climax, (the turning point), falling action (assessing the damage) and then finally the denouement (conclusion).

Rising Action – The beginning of conflict, when things start to get rolling and intensify.

Suspense – Causes worry and doubt, makes readers question the ending of the book or the “Happily Ever After” element


Point of View (POV) & Narrative Terminology

This section will not be alphabetical for hierarchy purposes.

  • First Person – The character tells the story, uses of pronoun “I”. “I am the Vampire Lestat. I’m immortal. More or less.” – The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
    • Rashamon Effect – Multiple uses of first person. You have a bunch of characters that are all viewing the same set of events. Four characters all in the same room, each one tells their version of the events that are happening.
    • Separate Multiple ViewpointsA lot of POVs without any discernible relation which will all come together in the end
    • Sequential Multiple Viewpoint – A set timeline of events where you trade chapters, each chapter taking a different character to the next point in the novel.
  • Second Person – The novel uses the pronoun “You”, the author device is that of someone speaking directly to the reader. Second Person narrative is considered the least used perspective and is much more commonly used in self-help and nonfiction books. “The day the stock market falls out of bed and breaks its back is the worst day of your life. Or so you think.” – Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins
  • Third Person – The narrator variety of telling a story, uses of pronouns, “he,” “she” and “it.”
    • Limited Omniscient – Focused on one character and their thoughts and feelings. One or Two heads.
    • Omniscient – Readers get a broad view of the story, they get to experience thoughts and feelings of all the characters within the story
    • Objective – An outsider’s perspective. Readers are not clued in to thoughts and feelings of the characters

Other Random Terms

Diction – The style and tone the author uses, word choices and emphasis of the theme of the novel

Imagery – The “look” and “feel” of the novel, the author’s portrayal and mental picture construction. Representations of taste, touch, smell and feel.

Prose – Describes all forms of expression

Setting – The location of the events that occur in the novel.

Story Arc – The way the story goes from start to finish, the timeline

Style – The way the author writes, their specific way of wording things and using dialect

Tone – The adjective that describes the overall feel of the story. Depressing, upbeat,  etc.

Trope – A figure of speech, a metaphor, usually over-used

Worldbuilding –  the author’s process of construction their fiction world

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger TipsQuestion of the Week:
I think you put way to much emphasis on pageviews and SEO and things like that. Book Blogging is a hobby and watching pageviews stresses me out. I don’t think that belongs in book blogging. It should just be about books. – Anonymous 

Hi, Anonymous. Personally that is your opinion. For some, book blogging is a hobby and should be treated as such. For other people it is not. As an  example, for me, book blogging is not a hobby. Since I lost my job, book blogging and the services I offer that coincide with my book blogging is my career. More pageviews mean more money for me, which translates to a happier husband since he doesn’t have to take the brunt of my slacker-tude. Pageviews, or more importantly higher pageviews are relative to my advertising and brand recognition. I know a few other book bloggers that have my same perspective or hope to achieve that perspective at some point in their book blogging careers. I think view points of this nature are the reason for a lot of conflicts that pop up in our little sphere. The hobbyist versus the professional. The hobbyist think the professionals are taking things way to seriously, and the professionals think that the hobbyist are adding a very “unprofessional” flavor to the classification of book bloggers. My thoughts, it is what it is. Your blog is your blog, my blog is my blog. I run mine the way I want to, if people don’t like it, they won’t follow. You run your blog the way you want it…same thing applies. I can’t tell you what to do, you can’t tell me what to do. Advice can be given, but it doesn’t have to be taken.

Book Blogger News:

  • Beautiful Disaster Emails! WTF? – Amazon sent an email to everyone who had purchased the self-published edition of Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. The email asked everyone that this edition was no longer available and they could be refunded if they purchased the new edition. This mass email resulted in Jamie McGuire writing a blog post in total confusion mode. There was nothing wrong with her book and all those refunds were going to result in her getting a big old negative in her account. She would literally have to pay for every refund. How does that happen? People buy books, then the author has to pay for all the returns? Amazon later came back stating they had made a big “oops” in sending that email. Really? How does a oops happen like that? I’m still shaking my head at the whole situation. {source}

Happy Thursday. Talk Less. Read More. Blog with Integrity.

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