Here are some words that you should understand if you plan to write (I’ll add to the list and definitions as I have time):
Characters — These are usually the people around which the plot unfolds. However, as Anna Sewell proved in Black Beauty, E.B. White proved with Charlotte’s Web, and Walter Farley proved in his Black Stallion series, animals can also be characters. They have unique traits, physical and personality, that allow us to identify with them.
Climax – Simply put, it’s the satisfaction of the plot. The climax should bring a close to the main plot and any sub-plots. It should satisfy most of the readers with an appropriate conclusion to the action of the story that has built to that point.
Denouement (aka the “anti-climax”) — This is the tying up of any loose ends left after the climax. It’s like coasting down a hill after a climb to the top. A good example is the fairytale ending, “And they lived happily ever after”. But as we all know, real stories never end. Nevertheless, we need that wind down after the height of the climax and that is what the denouement is.
Dialogue Tag — a verb indicating how a segment of dialogue is given (ie–said, screamed, accused). While the only true tag to use is “said”, oftentimes, tags can be avoided altogether.
Hook — 1) The summary of the action, as in the blurb on the back of the book; or 2) the opening of a story that grabs our attention and keeps us turning pages.
Infodump — Information, whether background or description, inserted into a story together into large clumps. These often slow down the action or pull a reader out of the story.
Mary Sue/Gary Stu — A perfect character, female or male, which represents the author’s self in the story being and doing what the author wishes they could. They tend to be boring because they never commit the sin of errors nor do they have any personality flaws that make them the least bit realistic. Here’s a link to a test to check for Mary Sueness: The Original Fiction Mary-Sue Litmus Test. And another one: The Writer’s Mary Sue Test.
Pace — Just as it is how a person or animal moves, it is also how fast the action of the story moves. Every scene should move the plot towards the climax. Whether things happen quickly or slowly is up to the writer and the type of story they write. In action stories, the plot moves quickly; something is happening all the time. A writer can speed up and slow down the pace by how much information they give or the relevant action they portray in any given scene.
Plot — The action of the story. The storyline. Plot usually starts with a conflict that is resolved through the actions of the characters.
Purple Prose — Overly flowery, ornate style of writing.
Query — A summary proposal sent to someone in the publishing industry (agent or editor) seeking representation for or publication of a manuscript. (Most often in the form of a letter including a brief summary of the work.)
Red Pen — The term refers to marking a manuscript for corrections. Editors, like teachers, have traditionally used a red pen, which stands out against the black ink on white paper, to mark their suggested corrections to a manuscript. With many now being submitted electronically, the term is still used but may not fully apply. The term “red-penned” may be used to describe a critique or edit.
Setting — The location, time period, technological level, culture, etc. of the story.
Theme — The overall cohesive idea that the action of the plot conveys. Theme often guides the plot, but the plot helps define the theme by example.
WIP – Stands for Work-in-Progress. Any literary work a writer has not completed to their satisfaction.