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  • Narratology

    Narratology

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    • Action (genre)

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    • Anthropomorphism

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    • Clichés


    • Comparative mythology

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    • Conflict (narrative)

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    • Continuity (fiction)

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    • False documents

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    • Fiction with unreliable narrators

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    • Fiction-writing mode

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    • Fictional characters by role in the narrative structure

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    • Genres

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    • Interactive narrative

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    • Lists of stories

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    • Literary archetypes

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    • Literary forgeries

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    • Literary motifs

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    • Literature

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    • Metafiction

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    • Mythological archetypes

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    • Narrative forms

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    • Narrative techniques

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    • Narrative units

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    • Non-narrative films

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    • Nonlinear narrative fiction

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    • Oral literature

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    • Parts of the narrative structure

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    • Narrative poems

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    • Rhetoric

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    • Topics

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    • Traditional narratives

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    • Tropes

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    • Worldbuilding

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    • Narratology

    • Narratology is the study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways that these affect our perception. While in principle the word may refer to any systematic study of narrative, in practice its usage is rather more restricted. It is an anglicisation of French narratologie, coined by Tzvetan Todorov (Grammaire du ... Read »


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    • Narrative

    • A narrative or story is any report of connected events, real or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, and/or still or moving images. Narrative can be organized in a number of thematic and/or formal categories: non-fiction (such as definitively including creative non-fiction, biography, journal ... Read »


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    • A-Plot

    • A-Plot is a cinema and television term referring to the plotline that drives the story. This does not necessarily mean it is the most important, but rather the one that forces most of the action. ... Read »


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    • Action fiction

    • Action fiction is the literary genre that includes spy novels, adventure stories, tales of terror and intrigue ("cloak and dagger"), and mysteries. This kind of story utilizes suspense, the tension that is built up when the reader wishes to know how the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist is going to be res ... Read »


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    • The American Monomyth

    • The American Monomyth is a 1977 book by Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence arguing for the existence and cultural importance of an 'American Monomyth', a variation on the classical monomyth as proposed by Joseph Campbell. Campbell's monomyth describes a hero's journey: a hero ventures from the normal world into a ... Read »


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    • Anagnorisis

    • Anagnorisis (/ˌænəɡˈnɒráµ»sáµ»s/; Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις) is a moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person st ... Read »


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    • Anti-romance

    • An anti-romance, sometimes referred to as a satire, is a type of story characterized by having an apathetic or self-doubting anti-hero cast as the protagonist, who fails in the object of his journey or struggle. Most anti-romances take place in urban settings, and frequently feature insanity, depression, and the meanin ... Read »


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    • Aristeia

    • An aristeia or aristia (/ærᵻˈstiː.ə/; Ancient Greek: ἀριστεία, IPA: [aristěːaː], "excellence") is a scene in the dramatic conventions of epic poetry as in the Iliad, where a hero in battle has his finest moments (aristos = "best"). An aristeia can result in the ... Read »


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    • Article (publishing)

    • An article is a written work published in a print or electronic medium. It may be for the purpose of propagating news, research results, academic analysis or debate. A news article discusses current or recent news of either general interest (i.e. daily newspapers) or of a specific topic (i.e. political or trade ne ... Read »


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    • Artistic license

    • Artistic license (also known as artistic licence, art license, historical license, dramatic license, poetic license, narrative license, licentia poetica, or simply license) is a colloquial term, sometimes an euphemism, used to denote the distortion of fact, alteration of the conventions of grammar or language, or rewor ... Read »


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    • Authorial intent

    • In literary theory and aesthetics, authorial intent refers to an author's intent as it is encoded in their work. New Criticism, as espoused by Cleanth Brooks, W. K. Wimsatt, T. S. Eliot, and others, argued that authorial intent is irrelevant to understanding a work of literature. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley argue ... Read »


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    • Authoritarian literature

    • Authoritarian literature is a term used by John Gardner to designate the body of literature written by persons living under an authoritarian governmental regime. Literary works produced in these regimes share common characteristics that make the designation useful. Authoritarian regimes revere their leaders, who histo ... Read »


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    • Backwards episode

    • Quite a number of television shows have had episodes which were narrated in reverse chronology, due possibly to narrative style, some sort of time travel mechanism, or a character (or society) who perceives time passing in the opposite direction. These are not simply episodes which allow a character to travel back in t ... Read »


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    • Balanced sentence

    • A balanced sentence is a sentence that employs parallel structures of approximately the same length and importance. ... Read »


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    • Beat (filmmaking)

    • A beat is the timing and movement of a film or play. In the context of a screenplay, it usually represents a pause in dialogue. In the context of the timing of a film, a beat refers to an event, decision, or discovery that alters the way the protagonist pursues his or her goal. Beats are specific, measured, and sp ... Read »


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    • Big Dumb Object

    • In discussion of science fiction, a Big Dumb Object (BDO) is any mysterious object (usually of extraterrestrial or unknown origin and immense power) in a story which generates an intense sense of wonder by its mere existence; to a certain extent, the term deliberately deflates this. The term was not in general use unt ... Read »


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    • Body swap

    • A body swap is a storytelling device seen in a variety of fiction, in which two people (or beings) exchange minds and end up in each other's bodies. In media such as television and film, the device is an opportunity for two actors to temporarily play each other's characters, although in some cases, dialogue is dubbed b ... Read »


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    • Catharsis

    • Catharsis (from Greek katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing") is the purification and purgation of emotions—especially pity and fear—through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effec ... Read »


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    • Central conceit

    • In drama and other art forms, the central conceit of a work of fiction is the underlying fictitious assumption which must be accepted by the audience with suspension of disbelief so the plot may be seen as plausible. An example from popular culture is the way many cartoons feature animals that can speak to each other, ... Read »


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    • Character (arts)

    • A character (sometimes known as a fictional character) is a person or other being in a narrative work of art (such as a novel, play, television series or film). The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a "fictional" versus "real" character may be made. Der ... Read »


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    • Character arc

    • A character arc is the transformation or inner journey of a character over the course of a story. If a story has a character arc, the character begins as one sort of person and gradually transforms into a different sort of person in response to changing developments in the story. Since the change is often substantive a ... Read »


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    • Characterization

    • Characterization or characterisation is the representation of persons (or other beings or creatures) in narrative and dramatic works of art. This representation may include direct methods like the attribution of qualities in description or commentary, and indirect (or "dramatic") methods inviting readers to infer quali ... Read »


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    • Childhood secret club

    • A childhood secret club is an informal organization created by children. Some common features of a childhood secret club may include: Names. Unlike cliques, these associations often have names. These younger groups don't have the social competition that adolescent cliques do, or the level of bad behaviour that st ... Read »


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    • Climax (narrative)

    • The climax (from the Greek word κλῖμαξ, meaning "staircase" and "ladder") or turning point of a narrative work is its point of highest tension and drama, or it is the time when the action starts during which the solution is given. The climax of a story is a literary element. The punch line of a ... Read »


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    • Clip show

    • A clip show is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes. Most clip shows feature the format of a frame story in which cast members recall past events from past installments of the show, depicted with a clip of the event presented as a flashback. Clip shows are also kn ... Read »


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    • Comic book death

    • In the comic book fan community, the apparent death and subsequent return of a long-running character is often called a comic book death. While death is a serious subject, a comic book death is generally not taken seriously in the real world and is rarely permanent or meaningful other than for story or thematic purpose ... Read »


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    • Conflict (narrative)

    • In works of narrative, conflict is the opposition main characters must face to achieve their goals. Traditionally, conflict is a major literary element that creates tension and interest in a story by adding doubt as to the outcome. A narrative is not limited to a single conflict. While conflicts may not always resolve ... Read »


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    • Continuity (fiction)

    • In fiction, continuity (also called time-scheme) is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time. It is relevant to several media. Continuity is particularly a concern in the production of film and television due to the difficulty of rect ... Read »


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    • Contrast (literary)

    • In literature, an author uses contrast when he or she describes the difference(s) between two or more entities. For example, in the first four lines of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, Shakespeare contrasts a mistress to the sun, coral, snow, and wire. Contrast is the antonym of simile. In poetic compositions, it is ... Read »


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    • Deathtrap (plot device)

    • A deathtrap is a literary and dramatic plot device in which a villain who has captured the hero or another sympathetic character attempts to use an elaborate and usually sadistic method of murdering him/her. It is often used as a means to create dramatic tension in the story and to have the villain reveal important in ... Read »


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    • Deictic Field and Narration

    • In linguistics, psychology, and literary theory, the concepts of deictic field and deictic shift are sometimes deployed in the study of narrative media. These terms provide a theoretical framework for helping literary analysts to conceptualize the ways in which readers redirect their attention away from their immediate ... Read »


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    • Description

    • Description is the pattern of development that presents a word picture of a thing, a person, a situation, or a series of events. It is one of four rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse), along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and e ... Read »


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    • Deus ex machina

    • Deus ex machina (Latin: [ˈdeʊs ɛks ˈmaː.kʰɪ.naː]: /ˈdeɪ.əs ɛks ˈmɑːkiːnə/ or /ˈdiːəs ɛks ˈmækáµ»nə/; plural: dei ex machina) is a Latin calque from Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês ... Read »


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    • Dialogue in writing

    • Dialogue, in fiction, is a verbal exchange between two or more characters. If there is only one character talking aloud, it is a monologue. "This breakfast is making me sick," George said. The George said is the identifier. Said is the verb most writers use because reader familiarity with said prevents it from dr ... Read »


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    • Diegesis

    • Diegesis (/ˌdaɪəˈdʒiːsɪs/; from the Greek διήγησις from διηγεῖσθαι, "to narrate") is a style of fiction storytelling that presents an interior view of a world in which: In diegesis the narrator tells the story. The narrator presents the actio ... Read »


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    • Dionysian imitatio

    • Dionysian imitatio is the influential literary method of imitation as formulated by Greek author Dionysius of Halicarnassus in the first century BCE, which conceived it as the rhetorical practice of emulating, adapting, reworking and enriching a source text by an earlier author. It is a departure from the concept of mi ... Read »


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    • Directorial beat

    • A directorial beat is a unit of script analysis representing the smallest defined action in a play script, typically an exchange of behaviours between characters in a script. It usually takes the form of action-reaction. Each scene beat by beat, with the characters progressing the action in this, the smallest element o ... Read »


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    • Documentary practice

    • Documentary practice is the process of creating documentary projects. It refers to what people do with media devices, content, form, and production strategies in order to address the creative, ethical, and conceptual problems and choices that arise as they make documentary films or other similar presentations based on ... Read »


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    • Dramatic structure

    • Dramatic structure (also called Freytag's pyramid) is the structure of a dramatic work such as a play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his Poetics (c. 335 BCE). This article focuses primarily on Gustav Freytag's analysis of ancient Greek and Shakespearean drama. ... Read »


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    • Dramatica (software)

    • Dramatica is the name of a theory and software suite created as part of a project by Chris Huntley and Melanie Anne Phillips. The term is used in the context of narratology and refers to a theory of narration and literary presentation. Huntley and Phillips have taught the theory at the University of California at Los A ... Read »


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    • Dramatistic pentad

    • The dramatistic pentad forms the core structure of dramatism, a method for examining motivations that the renowned literary critic Kenneth Burke developed. Dramatism recommends the use of a metalinguistic approach to stories about human action that investigates the roles and uses of five rhetorical elements common to a ... Read »


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    • Elfland catacombs

    • Elfland Catacombs is one of the earliest examples of hypertext fiction . It was published by Winterhearth company in 1981, several years before Michael Joyce's Afternoon, a story (which is generally thought to be "the first hypertext fiction"). Author Alan Lance Andersen created Elfland Catacombs as a children's fantas ... Read »


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    • Episodic storytelling

    • Episodic storytelling is when a story is narrated through episodes, as opposed to chapters, which are typically seen in novels. The term used in literature to refer to a body of work composed of episodes or similar installments is serial. Serials are also known as episodic fiction. Multiple episodes are usually groupe ... Read »


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    • Epistolary novel

    • An epistolary novel is a novel written as a series of documents. The usual form is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings and radio, blogs, and e-mails have also come into use. The word is derived from Latin from ... Read »


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    • Ethos

    • Ethos (/ˈiːθɒs/ or US /ˈiːθoʊs/) is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence emotions, behaviours, and even morals. Early ... Read »


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    • Eucatastrophe

    • Eucatastrophe is a term coined by English writer J. R. R. Tolkien which refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which ensures that the protagonist does not meet some terrible, impending, and very plausible doom. Tolkien formed the word by affixing the Greek prefix eu, meaning good, to , the word tradi ... Read »


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    • Exercises in Style

    • Exercises in Style

      Exercises in Style (French: Exercices de style), written by Raymond Queneau, is a collection of 99 retellings of the same story, each in a different style. In each, the narrator gets on the "S" bus (now no. 84), witnesses an altercation between a man (a zazou) with a long neck and funny hat and another passenger, and t ... Read »


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    • Fabula and syuzhet

    • Fabula (Russian: фабула) and syuzhet (сюжет, also romanised as sjuzhet, sujet, sjužet, siuzhet or suzet) are terms originating in Russian formalism and employed in narratology that describe narrative construction. Syuzhet is an employment of narrative and fabula is the chronological ... Read »


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    • False document

    • A false document is often promoted in conjunction with a criminal enterprise, such as fraud or a confidence game. However, a false document is also a technique employed to create verisimilitude in a work of fiction. By inventing and inserting documents that appear to be factual, an author tries to create a sense of au ... Read »


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    • False protagonist

    • In fiction, a false protagonist is a literary technique, often used to make the plot more jarring or more memorable by fooling the audience's preconceptions, that constructs a character who the audience assumes is the protagonist but is later revealed not to be. A false protagonist is presented at the start of the fic ... Read »


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    • Fiction writing

    • Fiction writing is the composition of non-factual prose texts. Fictional writing often is produced as a story meant to entertain or convey an author's point of view. The result of this may be a short story, novel, novella, screenplay, or drama, which are all types (though not the only types) of fictional writing styles ... Read »


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    • Fiction-writing mode

    • A fiction-writing mode is a manner of writing with its own set of conventions regarding how, when, and where it should be used. Fiction is a form of narrative, one of the four rhetorical modes of discourse. Fiction-writing also has distinct forms of expression, or modes, each with its own purposes and conventions. Cur ... Read »


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    • First-person narrative

    • A first-person narrative is a story from the first-person perspective: the viewpoint of a character writing or speaking directly about themselves. In films, videos, or video games, a first-person perspective may also mean that the narrative is shot or presented as if directly coming from a character's in-body point of ... Read »


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    • Flashing arrow

    • A flashing arrow is a metaphorical audiovisual cue used in films to bring some object or situation that will be referred later, or otherwise used in the advancement of plot, to the attention of the viewers. The device is not introduced into the plot or the dialogue, but is something peripheral; however made obvious (h ... Read »


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    • Focal character

    • In any narrative, the focal character is the character on whom the audience is meant to place the majority of their interest and attention. They are almost always also the protagonist of the story; however, in cases where the "focal character" and "protagonist" are separate, the focal character's emotions and ambitions ... Read »


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    • Focalization

    • Focalization is a term coined by the French narrative theorist Gerard Genette. It refers to the perspective through which a narrative is presented. For example, a narrative where all information presented reflects the subjective perception of a certain character is said to be internally focalized. An omniscient narrato ... Read »


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    • Formula fiction

    • In popular culture, formula fiction is literature in which the storylines and plots have been reused to the extent that the narratives are predictable. It is similar to genre fiction, which identifies a number of specific settings that are frequently reused. The label of formula fiction is used in literary criticism as ... Read »


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    • Frame story

    • A frame story (also known as a frame tale or frame narrative) is a literary technique that sometimes serves as a companion piece to a story within a story, whereby an introductory or main narrative is presented, at least in part, for the purpose of setting the stage either for a more emphasized second narrative or for ... Read »


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    • Genre

    • Genre (/ˈʒɒ̃rə/, /ˈʒɒnrə/ or /ˈdʒɒnrə/; from French genre [ʒɑ̃ʁ(ə)], "kind" or "sort", from Latin genus (stem gener-), Greek γένος, gés) A genre is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socia ... Read »


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    • Genre studies

    • Genre studies is an academic subject which studies genre theory as a branch of general critical theory in several different fields, including the literary or artistic, linguistic, or rhetorical. Literary genre studies is a structuralist approach to the study of genre and genre theory in literary theory, film theory, a ... Read »


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    • Had I but known

    • "Had I but known" is a form of prolepsis or foreshadowing that hints at some looming disaster in which the first-person narrator laments his or her course of action which precipitates some or other unfortunate series of actions. Classically, the narrator never makes explicit the nature of the mistake until both the nar ... Read »


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    • Hamartia

    • The term hamartia derives from the Greek ἁμαρτία, from ἁμαρτάνειν hamartánein, which means "to miss the mark" or "to err". It is most often associated with Greek tragedy, although it is also used in Christian theology.Hamartia as it pertains to dramatic literatu ... Read »


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    • Happy ending

    • A happy ending is an ending of the plot of a work of fiction in which almost everything turns out for the best for the protagonists, their sidekicks, and almost everyone except the villains. In storylines where the protagonists are in physical danger, a happy ending mainly consists in their surviving and successfully ... Read »


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    • Hook (filmmaking)

    • The hook is the nucleus of both a film and its screenplay. It is what grabs the viewer's attention, preferably in the first 5–10 minutes, as a reader might expect to find a literary hook in the first chapter of a novel. During the pitch process, a screenwriter will use a hook to prove the "bankable" quality of th ... Read »


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    • Hysteron proteron

    • The hysteron proteron (from the Greek: ὕστερον πρότερον, hýsteron próteron, "latter before") is a rhetorical device. It occurs when the first key word of the idea refers to something that happens temporally later than the second key word. The goal is to call attentio ... Read »


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    • Iceberg Theory

    • The Iceberg Theory (sometimes known as the "theory of omission") is a style of writing (turned colloquialism) coined by American writer Ernest Hemingway. As a young journalist, Hemingway had to focus his newspaper reports on immediate events, with very little context or interpretation. When he became a writer of short ... Read »


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    • Idiot plot

    • In literary criticism, an idiot plot is "a plot which is kept in motion solely by virtue of the fact that everybody involved is an idiot" and where the story would otherwise be over if this were not the case. It is a narrative where its conflict comes from characters not recognizing, or not being told, key information ... Read »


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    • Imitation (art)

    • Imitation is the doctrine of artistic creativity according to which the creative process should be based on the close imitation of the masterpieces of the preceding authors. This concept was first formulated by Dionysius of Halicarnassus in the first century BCE as imitatio, and has since dominated for almost two thous ... Read »


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    • In medias res

    • A narrative work beginning in medias res (Classical Latin: [ɪn mɛdiaːs reːs], lit. "into the middle things") opens in the midst of action (cf. ab ovo, ab initio). Often, exposition is bypassed and filled in gradually, either through dialogue, flashbacks or description of past events. For example, Hamlet ... Read »


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    • Involuntary narrative

    • An involuntary narrative occurs as a personal reading of symbolic content transmitted by media-saturated environments. Exposure to postmodern nonlinear narratives, performative and mediated audiovisual arts, predisposes the individual to originate layers of symbolic meaning that overlap with socially codified environme ... Read »


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    • It was a dark and stormy night

    • "It was a dark and stormy night" is an often-mocked and parodied phrase written by English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton in the opening sentence of his 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The phrase is considered to represent "the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing", also known as purple prose. ... Read »


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    • Journal of Narrative Theory

    • The Journal of Narrative Theory is a triannual peer-reviewed academic journal covering narratology in literary fiction. The journal was established in 1971 as the Journal of Narrative Technique and obtained its current title in 1999. It is published by the Department of English at Eastern Michigan University and the ed ... Read »


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    • Kishōtenketsu


    • Legend

    • A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and demonstrating human values, and which possesses certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude. Legend, for its active and passive participants, includes no happenings that are outside th ... Read »


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    • Lexis (Aristotle)

    • In philosophical discourse, lexis (from the Greek: λέξις "word") is a complete group of words in a language, vocabulary, the total set of all words in a language, and all words that have meaning or a function in grammar. According to Plato, lexis is the manner of lpp speaking. Plato said that lexis ... Read »


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    • Literary forgery

    • Literary forgery (also known as literary mystification, literary fraud or literary hoax) is writing, such as a manuscript or a literary work, which is either deliberately misattributed to a historical or invented author, or is a purported memoir or other presumably nonfictional writing deceptively presented as true whe ... Read »


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    • List of narrative techniques

    • A narrative technique, also known, more narrowly for literary fictional narratives, as a literary technique, literary device, or fictional device, is any of several specific methods the creator of a narrative uses to convey what they want—in other words, a strategy used in the making of a narrative to relay inform ... Read »


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    • MacGuffin

    • In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot. The most common type of Mac ... Read »


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    • Marriage plot

    • Marriage plot is a term used, often in academic circles, to categorize a storyline that recurs in novels most prominently and more recently in films. Until the expansion of the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, this plot centered exclusively on the courtship rituals between a man and a woman and the o ... Read »


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    • Meta-reference

    • Meta-reference, a metafiction technique, is a situation in a work of fiction whereby characters display an awareness that they are in such a work, such as a film, television show or book, and possibly that they are being observed by an audience. Sometimes it may even just be a form of editing or film-making technique t ... Read »


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    • Metafiction

    • Metafiction is a literary device used self-consciously and systematically to draw attention to a work's status as a work of imagination, rather than reality. It poses questions about the relationship between fiction and reality, usually using irony and self-reflection. It can be compared to presentational theatre, whic ... Read »


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    • Metanoia (rhetoric)

    • Metanoia (from the Greek μετάνοια, metanoia, changing one's mind) in the context of rhetoric is a device used to retract a statement just made, and then state it in a better way. As such, metanoia is similar to correction. Metanoia is used in recalling a statement in two ways—-to weaken the ... Read »


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    • Metaphoric criticism

    • Metaphoric criticism is one school of rhetorical analysis used in English and speech communication studies. Scholars employing metaphoric criticism analyze texts by locating metaphors within texts and evaluating those metaphors in an effort to better understand ways in which authors appeal to their audiences. The ... Read »


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    • Mimesis

    • Mimesis (/maɪˈmiːsəs/; Ancient Greek: μίμησις (mÄ«mēsis), from μιμεῖσθαι (mÄ«meisthai), "to imitate," from (mimos), "imitator, actor") is a critical and philosophical term that carries a wide range of meanings, which include imitation, representat ... Read »


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    • Mode (literature)

    • In literature, a mode is an employed method or approach, identifiable within a written work. As descriptive terms, and genre are often used inaccurately instead of mode; for example, the pastoral mode is often mistakenly identified as a genre. The Writers Web site feature, A List of Important Literary Terms, defines m ... Read »


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    • Monologue

    • In theatre, a monologue (from Greek: μονόλογος, from μόνος mónos, "alone, solitary" and λόγος lógos, "speech") is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their mental thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another ... Read »


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    • Moral

    • A moral (from Latin morālis) is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or . The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim. As an example of an explicit maxim, at the end of Aesop's fable of the Tortoise and the ... Read »


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    • Motive (law)

    • A motive, in law, especially criminal law, is the cause that moves people to induce a certain action. Motive, in itself, is not an element of any given crime; however, the legal system typically allows motive to be proven in order to make plausible the accused's reasons for committing a crime, at least when those motiv ... Read »


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    • Myth of redemptive violence

    • The Myth of Redemptive Violence is an archetypal plot in literature, especially in imperial cultures. One of the oldest versions of this story is the creation myth of Babylon (the Enûma Elish) from around 1250 B.C. Walter Wink coined the term as part of an analysis of its impact on modern culture and its role in mai ... Read »


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    • Mythos (Aristotle)

    • Mythos is the term used by Aristotle in his Poetics (c. 335 BCE) for the plot of an Athenian tragedy. It is the first of the six elements of tragedy that he gives. “In Poetics 13 and 14, Aristotle turns from the discussion of the three separate parts of the plot to a consideration of the plot as a whole compo ... Read »


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    • Narration

    • Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including: A narrator is a personal character or a non-personal voice that the creator (author) of the story develops to delive ... Read »


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    • Narrative designer

    • A narrative designer is a role in contemporary video game development, the focus of which is to design the narrative elements of a game, and to champion story within the development process, which differentiates it from the role of game writer. The Narrative designer was first defined by Stephen Dinehart in the 2006 Jo ... Read »


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    • Narrative environment

    • A narrative environment is a space, whether physical or virtual, in which stories can unfold. A virtual narrative environment might be the narrative framework in which game play can proceed. A physical narrative environment might be an exhibition area within a museum, or a foyer of a retail space, or the public spaces ... Read »


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    • Narrative history

    • Narrative history is the practice of writing history in a story-based form. It is generally distinguished from a purely analytical form of history. Though history is considered a social science, the story-based nature of history allows for the inclusion of a greater or lesser degree of narration in addition to an analy ... Read »


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    • Narrative hook

    • A narrative hook (or just hook) is a literary technique in the opening of a story that "hooks" the reader's attention so that he or she will keep on reading. The "opening" may consist of several paragraphs for a short story, or several pages for a novel, but ideally it is the opening sentence. One of the most comm ... Read »


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    • Narrative network

    • A narrative network is a system which represents complex event sequences or characters’ interactions as depicted by a narrative text. Network science methodology offers an alternative way of analysing the patterns of relationships, composition and activities of events and actors studied in their own context. Netwo ... Read »


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    • Narrative paradigm

    • The narrative paradigm, is a theory proposed by the 20th-century communication scholar Walter Fisher. In the theory all meaningful communication is defined as form of storytelling or reporting of events (see narrative), and that humans are storytellers and listeners of narratives. One assumption in narrative paradigm t ... Read »


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    • Narrative structure

    • Narrative structure, a literary element, is generally described as the structural framework that underlies the order and manner in which a narrative is presented to a reader, listener, or viewer. The narrative text structures are the plot and the setting. Narrative structure is about story and plot: the content of ... Read »


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    • Narrativity

    • In film theory, narrativity refers to the processes by which a story is both presented by the filmmaker and interpreted by the viewer. The term must be distinguished from narrative, which refers to the story itself. Narrativity is a common subject of debate in film theory. Many believe that the interpretation of a fil ... Read »


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    • Narreme

    • Narreme is the basic unit of narrative structure. According to Helmut Bonheim (2000), the concept of narreme was developed three decades ago by Eugene Dorfman and expanded by Henri Wittmann, The narreme is to narratology what the morpheme is to morphology and the phoneme to phonology. The narreme, however, has yet to b ... Read »


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    • New-adult fiction

    • New adult (NA) fiction, also rendered as new-adult fiction, is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket.St. Martin's Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for "...fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an 'older ... Read »


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    • Non sequitur (literary device)

    • A non sequitur (English pronunciation: /ˌnɒnˈsɛkwáµ»tər/; Classical Latin: [noːn ˈsɛkᶣɪtʊr] "it does not follow") is a conversational and literary device, often used for comedic purposes. It is something said that, because of its apparent lack of meaning relative to what precede ... Read »


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    • List of non-narrative films

    • This is a list of non-narrative feature films. ... Read »


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    • Nonlinear narrative

    • Nonlinear narrative, disjointed narrative or disrupted narrative is a narrative technique, sometimes used in literature, film, hypertext websites and other narratives, where events are portrayed, for example out of chronological order, or in other ways where the narrative does not follow the direct causality pattern of ... Read »


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    • Opening narration

    • The opening narration of a story, whether video game, book, film or otherwise, usually gives the reader or viewer background information necessary for a full understanding of the plot. It sets the scene, creates atmosphere and introduces a character. ... Read »


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    • Pace (narrative)

    • In literature, pace, or pacing is the speed at which a story is told. The pace is determined by the length of the scenes, how fast the action moves, and how quickly the reader is provided with information. It is also sometimes determined by the genre of the story. Comedies move faster than dramas; action adventures mov ... Read »


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    • Paratext

    • Paratext is a concept in literary interpretation. The main text of published authors (e.g. the story, non-fiction description, poems, etc.) is often surrounded by other material supplied by the author(s), editors, printers, and publishers, which is known as the paratext. These added elements form a frame for the main t ... Read »


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    • Peripeteia

    • Peripeteia /ˌpɛrəpᵻˈtaɪ.ə/ (Greek: περιπέτεια) is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. The term is primarily used with reference to works of literature. The Anglicized form of peripeteia is peripety. Aristotle, in his Poetics, defines peripeteia as "a ... Read »


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    • Pitch (filmmaking)

    • A pitch is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation of an idea for a film or TV series generally made by a screenwriter or film director to a film producer or studio executive in the hope of attracting development finance to pay for the writing of a screenplay. "Pitch" is a contraction of the phrase "sales ... Read »


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    • Plot device

    • A plot device (or plot mechanism) is any technique in a narrative used to move the plot forward. A or arbitrary plot device may annoy or confuse the reader, causing a loss of the suspension of disbelief. However a well-crafted plot device, or one that emerges naturally from the setting or characters of the story, may ... Read »


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    • Plot drift

    • Plot drift is a phenomenon in storytelling in which the plot of the story deviates from its apparent initial direction. The phenomenon can affect written works, although it is often more noticeable in performed media such as television shows or movies. Plot drift is generally (though not always) seen as contrary to goo ... Read »


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    • Plot point

    • For the role-playing games concept see Plot point (role-playing games) In television and film, a plot point is a significant event within a plot that spins the action around in another direction. Noted screenwriting teacher Syd Field discusses plot points in his paradigm, popularized in his book Screenplay: The Found ... Read »


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    • Plot twist

    • A plot twist is a radical change in the expected direction or outcome of the plot of a novel, film, television series, comic, video game, or other work of narrative. It is a common practice in narration used to keep the interest of an audience, usually surprising them with a revelation. Some "twists" are foreshadowed. ... Read »


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    • Poetic justice

    • Poetic justice is a literary device in which ultimately virtue is rewarded and vice punished. In modern literature it is often accompanied by an ironic twist of fate related to the character's own action. English drama critic Thomas Rymer coined the phrase in The Tragedies of the Last Age Considere'd (1678) to des ... Read »


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    • Poetics (Aristotle)

    • Aristotle's Poetics (Greek: Περὶ ποιητικῆς, Latin: De Poetica; c. 335 BCE) is the earliest surviving work of dramatic theory and the first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. This has been the traditional view for centuries. However, recent work is now c ... Read »


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    • Narrative poetry

    • Narrative poetry is a form of poetry that tells a story, often making the voices of a narrator and characters as well; the entire story is usually written in metered verse. Narrative poems do not have to follow rhythmic patterns. The poems that make up this genre may be short or long, and the story it relates to may be ... Read »


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    • Polyphony (literature)

    • In literature, polyphony (Russian: полифония) is a feature of narrative, which includes a diversity of points of view and voices. The concept was introduced by Mikhail Bakhtin, using a metaphor based on the musical term polyphony. For Bakhtin the primary example of polyphony was Dostoevsky's ... Read »


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    • Premise (filmmaking)

    • The premise of a film or screenplay is the initial state of affairs that drives the plot. Most premises can be expressed very simply, and many films can be identified simply from a short sentence describing the premise. For example: A lonely boy is befriended by an alien; A small town is terrorized by a shark; A small ... Read »


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    • Present day

    • The term "present-day" (as an adjective) or "present day" (as a noun) is used to describe the approximate period of time that surrounds the present. Depending on the context, this period may be as narrow as referring to the immediate moment, or as broad as referring to the current year or decade. In general the term is ... Read »


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    • Gerald Prince

    • Gerald J. Prince (born November 7, 1942 in Alexandria, Egypt) is an American academic and literary theoretician. He is Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is also affiliated with department of Linguistics and the Program in Comparative Literature, and with the Annenberg School for ... Read »


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    • Psychological thriller

    • Psychological thriller is a thriller story which emphasizes the unstable psychological states of its characters. In terms of classification, the category is a subgenre of the broader ranging thriller category, with similarities to Gothic and detective fiction in the sense of sometimes having a "dissolving sense of real ... Read »


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    • Public rhetoric

    • Public rhetoric refers to discourse both within a group of people and between groups, often centering on the process by which individual or group discourse seeks membership in the larger public discourse. Public rhetoric can also involve rhetoric being used within the general populace to foster social change and encour ... Read »


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    • Purple prose

    • In literary criticism, purple prose is prose text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself. Purple prose is characterized by the extensive use of adjectives, adverbs, and metaphors. When it is limited to certain passages, they may be termed purple patches or ... Read »


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    • Quest

    • A quest serves as a plot device in mythology and fiction: a difficult journey towards a goal, often symbolic or allegorical. Tales of quests figure prominently in the folklore of every nation and ethnic culture. In literature, the object of a quest requires great exertion on the part of the hero, who must overcome many ... Read »


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    • Real time (media)

    • Real time within the media is a method where events are portrayed at the same rate at which the characters experience them. For example, if a movie told in real time is two hours long, then the plot of that movie covers two hours of fictional time. If a daily real-time comic strip runs for six years, then the character ... Read »


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    • Representation (arts)

    • Representation is the use of signs that stand in for and take the place of something else. It is through representation that people organize the world and reality through the act of naming its elements. Signs are arranged in order to form semantic constructions and express relations. For many philosophers, both ancien ... Read »


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    • Reverse chronology

    • Reverse chronology is a method of story-telling whereby the plot is revealed in reverse order. In a story employing this technique, the first scene shown is actually the conclusion to the plot. Once that scene ends, the penultimate scene is shown, and so on, so that the final scene the viewer sees is the first chronol ... Read »


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    • Revisionism (fictional)

    • In analysis of works of fiction, revisionism denotes the retelling of a conventional or established narrative with significant variations which deliberately "revise" the view shown in the original work. For example, the film Dances with Wolves may be regarded as a revisionist western because it portrays Native American ... Read »


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    • Rhetoric

    • Rhetoric is the art of discourse, wherein a writer or speaker strives to inform, persuade or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, w ... Read »


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    • Rhetorical modes

    • Rhetorical modes (also known as modes of discourse) describe the variety, conventions, and purposes of the major kinds of language-based communication, particularly writing and speaking. Four of the most common rhetorical modes and their purpose are narration, description, exposition, and argumentation. The purpos ... Read »


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    • Rule of three (writing)

    • The rule of three, law of three, or power of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information. This is because havin ... Read »


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    • Scene (drama)

    • In drama, a scene is a unit of action, often a subdivision of an act. A "French scene" is a scene in which the beginning and end are marked by a change in the presence of characters onstage, rather than by the lights going up or down or the set being changed. From the French scène à faire, an obligatory sce ... Read »


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    • Second-person narrative

    • Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including: A narrator is a personal character or a non-personal voice that the creator (author) of the story develops to delive ... Read »


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    • Secret history

    • A secret history (or shadow history) is a revisionist interpretation of either fictional or real history which is claimed to have been deliberately suppressed, forgotten, or ignored by established scholars. "Secret history" is also used to describe an alternative interpretation of documented facts which portrays a dras ... Read »


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    • Secret world

    • Secret worlds are a common theme in speculative fiction, particularly fantasy. They consist of a fictional universe coexisting with the real world, of which most real world inhabitants are unaware of. Examples include Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia, the Wizarding World in Harry Potter, the Fairy World in The Fairly ... Read »


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    • Self-insertion

    • Self-insertion is a literary device in which a fictional character who is the real author of a work of fiction appears as an idealized character within that fiction, either overtly or in disguise. The device should not be confused with a first-person narrator, or an author surrogate, or a character somewhat based on t ... Read »


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    • Setting (narrative)

    • The setting is both the time and geographic location within a narrative or within a work of fiction. A literary element, the setting helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context (especially society) beyond the immediate surroundings o ... Read »


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    • Shared universe

    • A shared universe or shared world is a set of creative works where more than one writer (or other artist) independently contributes a work that can stand alone but fits into the joint development of the storyline, characters, or world of the overall project. It is common in genres like science fiction. It differs from ... Read »


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    • Shooting script

    • A shooting script is the version of a screenplay used during the production of a motion picture. Shooting scripts are distinct from spec scripts in that they make use of scene numbers (along with certain other formatting conventions described below), and they follow a well defined set of procedures specifying how scrip ... Read »


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    • Show, don't tell


    • Spec script

    • A spec script, also known as a speculative screenplay, is a non-commissioned unsolicited screenplay. It is usually written by a screenwriter who hopes to have the script optioned and eventually purchased by a producer, production company, or studio. Spec scripts which have gone on to win Academy Awards include: Thelma ... Read »


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    • Story arc

    • A story arc is an extended or continuing storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television, comic books, comic strips, boardgames, video games, and films with each episode following a narrative arc. On a television program, for example, the story would unfold over many episodes. In television, the use of the ... Read »


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    • Story generator

    • A story generator or plot generator is a tool that generates basic narratives or plot ideas. The generator could be in the form of a computer program, a chart with multiple columns, a book composed of panels that flip independently of one another, or a set of several adjacent reels that spin independently of one anothe ... Read »


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    • Stream of unconsciousness (narrative mode)

    • In literary criticism, stream of unconsciousness is a narrative mode that portrays an individual's point of view by transcribing the author's unconscious dialogue or somniloquy during sleep, in connection to his or her actions within a dream. Stream of unconsciousness is characterized by disjointed leaps in ideation a ... Read »


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    • Subplot

    • In fiction, a subplot is a secondary strand of the plot that is a supporting side story for any story or the main plot. Subplots may connect to main plots, in either time and place or in thematic significance. Subplots often involve supporting characters, those besides the protagonist or antagonist. Subplots are disti ... Read »


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    • Suspension of disbelief

    • The term suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief has been defined as a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment. The term was coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who ... Read »


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    • Syntagma (linguistics)

    • In linguistics, a syntagma is an elementary constituent segment within a text. Such a segment can be a phoneme, a word, a grammatical phrase, a sentence, or an event within a larger narrative structure, depending on the level of analysis. Syntagmatic analysis involves the study of relationships (rules of combination) a ... Read »


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    • Third-person limited narrative

    • Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including: A narrator is a personal character or a non-personal voice that the creator (author) of the story develops to delive ... Read »


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    • Third-person omniscient narrative

    • Narration is the use of a written or spoken commentary to convey a story to an audience. Narration encompasses a set of techniques through which the creator of the story presents their story, including: A narrator is a personal character or a non-personal voice that the creator (author) of the story develops to delive ... Read »


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    • The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations

    • The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a descriptive list which was created by Georges Polti to categorize every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. To do this Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, plus classical and contemporaneous French works. He also analyzed a handful of non-French author ... Read »


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    • Marcel Thiry

    • Born (1897-03-13)13 March 1897
      Charleroi, Belgium Died 5 September 1977
    • Marcel Thiry

      Marcel Thiry (13 March 1897 – 5 September 1977) was a French-speaking [Belgian poet. During World War I, he and his brother Oscar served in the Belgian Expeditionary Corps in Russia. He was awarded the Prix Valery Larbaud in 1976 for Toi qui pâlis au nom de Vancouver, a book of poems reminiscent of Blaise Cend ... Read »


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    • Three-act structure

    • The three-act structure is a model used in screenwriting that divides a fictional narrative into three parts (acts), often called the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution. The first act is usually used for exposition, to establish the main characters, their relationships and the world they live in. Later in ... Read »


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    • Traditional story

    • Traditional stories, or stories about traditions, differ from both fiction and nonfiction in that the importance of transmitting the story's worldview is generally understood to transcend an immediate need to establish its categorization as imaginary or factual. In the academic circles of literature, religion, history, ... Read »


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    • Traitté de l'origine des romans


    • Transportation theory (psychology)

    • Narrative transportation theory proposes that when people lose themselves in a story, their attitudes and intentions change to reflect that story. The mental state of narrative transportation can explain the persuasive effect of stories on people, who may experience narrative transportation when certain contextual and ... Read »


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    • TV Tropes

    • TV Tropes

      TV Tropes is a that collects and expands descriptions and examples on various conventions and devices (tropes) found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has shifted focus from only television and film tropes to cover those in other types of media such as literature, comics, video games, ad ... Read »


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    • Type scene

    • A type scene is a literary convention employed by a narrator across a set of scenes, or related to scenes (place, action) already familiar to the audience. The similarities with, and differences from, the established type are used to illuminate developments in plot and character. As Robert Louis Fowler wrote, "The tech ... Read »


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    • Verisimilitude (fiction)

    • Verisimilitude /ˌvɛrɪsɪˈmɪlɪtjuːd/ is the "lifelikeness" or believability of a work of fiction. The word comes from Latin: verum meaning truth and similis meaning similar. Language philosopher Steve Neale distinguishes between two types: cultural verisimilitude, meaning plausibility of the ficti ... Read »


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    • Wheel of fire

    • In a literary context, the Wheel of Fire may refer to the chain of tortuous or dire consequences that result from a single action. The Wheel of Fire originates in Greek Mythology as the punishment for Ixion, who was bound to a wheel of fire for lusting after Zeus's wife, Hera. The Wheel of Fire is part of the Aristot ... Read »


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    • List of works set in a single day

    • This is a list of works of fiction set within a single period of 24 hours. A "Day in the life" is a recurring device used in various media forms, such as books films, plays and television series, showing the events that happen to the character over a day. Some celebrated examples in literature are James Joyce's Ulysse ... Read »


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    • Worldbuilding

    • Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. The term "world-building" was first used in the Edinburgh Review in December 1820 and appeared in A.S. Eddington's Space Time and Gravitation: An Outline of the General Relativity Theory (1920) to desc ... Read »


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    • Writing style

    • In literature, writing style is the manner of expressing thought in language characteristic of an individual, period, school, or nation. Beyond the essential elements of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, writing style is the choice of words, sentence structure, and paragraph structure, used to convey the meaning effe ... Read »


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  • What Else?

    • Narratology

Extras