The Writing Terms That Every Novelist Should Know

With every industry there are terms that are associated with that industry/niche. So with writing there are a few terms that come along with the writer's life. Today we'll be breaking down the terms, giving you information on them. There is also two free printables included in this post, so be sure to download those before you finish reading the post. Ready to learn the writing terms? Let's go!

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Stands for point-of-view. This is the lens of which character or which outside stance. For example a common one is first person past or third person past. But did you know there are actually more than just those two? Read more here.


Is spelt out as work-in-progress. It’s the current project of a writer. It could be writing a rough draft, revising, rewriting, editing, publishing, and so on. 


Words per minute. Kinda like miles per minute, but with typing. There are several sites to find out your WPM. Click here to go to my favorite website to finding out your WPM. Below is one of my favorite books on increasing your word goals.


This is the hero or heroine in the story. This is who the reader is rooting for (most of the time at least). Most of the time the POV in following this particular person. Sometimes there can be more than one of these in one story. 

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FREE Minor Character Worksheet, click here to download.


This is the anti-hero. They don’t specifically be a villain, they just have different motives that the protagonist and there job is to make it harder for the protagonist to get what they want. 


The 3-ACT structure is how basically every single story is structured. It starts with “Exposition” or also known as “The Beginning”, then “Confrontation” or the “Climax”, ending with “Denouncement”. All stories, regardless of genre, follow some version of this plot structure one way or another. 

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Story Board

These are some of my favorite things, and no they’re not what you use for films. This is normally on a cork board of a Pinterest board where a writer pins aesthetically pleasing images that convey the characters, settings, items, research, and plot of their story. You can also make it on a real life cork board.

Story Bible

Story bibles are what holds everything a writer needs before, during, and sometimes even after writing a story. They are not to be confused with a writer’s notebook/binder (see below). They can either be physically present in the format of a binder or notebook or composed digitally in software such as Scrivener,, or Evernote

They contain information such as the following: plot, character templates, research articles, editing checklist, marketing checklist, diary entries, etc. 

Writer’s Binder

This is for all the non-project specific writing stuff to go in. So think: submission trackers, word count trackers, blog posts on writing, list of story ideas, writing printables, etc. We will also be putting a printable set for this on sale very soon. 

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This stands for National Novel Writing Month.

Snowflake Method

This is a certain method of plotting. You can read from its original blog post here


This is any sort of speech, both with or without multiple characters, aloud and inside the POV’s head. Really nailing dialogue correctly is a great way to create a real story that provides likable characters.


This is what you see on the back of book cover’s, also known as a synopsis. They’re typically between 3-4 paragraphs, tell what the story is about but without giving away the end, and tell us a bit about the character. 


This is a writer taking someone’s original idea and adding their own personal flare or spin on it. A common one with these are fairy-tale retellings since they’re so old and also some of their origins are unknown. They can be a great way to refreshen ideas as long as they’re done properly and not shaming the original story.


This is the core of a story, what it’s truly all about. Most stories you can’t directly read the theme. So most are hidden, others are in plain sight. Some take digging and discussion to find out the theme. Some books have only one theme, while others have several. This is what the reader should take away, sometimes with or without realizing it. A book without a theme is usually bland in nature.


Is the task of finding any errors in the writing, such as grammar and misspellings. It is always wise for the writer to know basic proofreading to do themselves before sending it off anywhere. Before publishing it’s wise to get a pro to do it for you as well.


This is something that the writer does and I would consider under the “editing” branch. It’s mainly focused on revising a large chunk of your writing. Some people do complete re-writes, others change something in a chapter, or how something is worded. 

Plot Holes

These are things that don’t add up in the plot. For example, if your character had blue eyes when first introduced but then in the next chapter has brown eyes, this is considered a plot hole (a minor one). For the small ones they can be easily and quickly fixed, while larger ones will need some more time and some even need re-writes. 

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This is how fast the story moves along. It doesn’t all depend on how short chapters are either. It can be that time in the story moves fast or the action speeds things along nicely. Writers need to be careful with pacing as this can either make a reader whiz through by staying up late and move onto the next books or be too fast or so slow that they set the book aside. 


Stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s a number system to find books published. A lot of older books won’t have these as it didn’t come around till 1970. They are normally in the copyrights and next to the barcode on most books.


This is normally a chapter or selection of chapters before the “real” part of the book begins (aka the first chapter). Most of the times it’s either a different POV then the one that will take place throughout most of the story, a different time period, or a future part of the book. These too must be done carefully. 

World Building

This is creating the backstory of the story’s world. This part is heavy with the fantasy and sci-fi writers as most of the time they are creating whole new worlds that no one knows nothing about and it is an extremely important part of the researching and plotting process. Whereas for contemporary writers and such with no new worlds, it isn’t as important but details on the scenery around someone is still important (especially if it’s a different time or a foreign location than the reader is used to). We will also be selling world building templates sometime in the near future and will be included in our story bible bundle.

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Well, there's the writing terms peeps! What was a new writing term you learned? ✏️ Let us know your answer in the comment section below so we can chat about it! 💬

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This blog post is curated, created, and copyrighted to and by Rachel Scarlet © 2018. Do not copy or redistribute without author’s permission. Any without permission will be taken down.

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