Word Play: Examples of a Play on Words

wordplay definition

It goes without saying that writers are drawn to language, but because we love words so much, the English language is filled with word play. By interrogating the complexities of language—homophones, homographs, words with multiple meanings, sentence structures, etc.—writers can explore new possibilities in their work through a play on words. It’s easiest to employ…

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How to Come Up With Story Ideas

How to Come Up With Story Ideas

How do writers develop good story ideas? Sometimes, coming up with a story idea is the hardest part about writing fiction. Figuring out what to write about can be frustrating, as the desire to create meets the uncertainty surrounding where to begin. Writers are often taught how to write their stories, but not how to…

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Inciting Incident Definition: The “Why” of Fiction

inciting incident definition

“The inciting incident is how you get [your characters] to do something…. It’s the doorway through which they can’t return, you know. The story takes care of the rest.” —Donald Miller The inciting incident in a story plays a central role in that story’s structure. It provides the “push” that gets the story rolling—it sets…

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Symbolism in Literature: What Symbolism Is, and How to Use It In Your Writing

symbolism in writing

Symbolism describes the use of concrete images to convey abstract ideas. Because this literary device is widely open to interpretation, and because many readers form different relationships to concrete objects, this is one of the more slippery elements of literature to both understand and convey to an audience. Nonetheless, understanding symbolism, and knowing what is…

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Revising and Editing for Creative Writers

the difference between revising and editing

Want to learn more about revising and editing? Check out our self-paced class The Successful Novel, which gives you the tools to write, revise, and publish the novel waiting to be written inside you.  Although the terms revising and editing are often used interchangeably, stylish writers know the difference between revising and editing. When it’s time…

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What is Theme? A Look at 20 Common Themes in Literature

common themes in literature

When someone asks you “What is this book about?”, there are a few ways you can answer. There’s “plot,” which refers to the literal events in the book, and there’s “character,” which refers to the people in the book and the struggles they overcome. Finally, there are themes in literature that correspond with the work’s…

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Flat Character vs. Round Character: Definitions and Examples

flat vs rounded character

Every fictional person that populates books, movies, and plays falls into one of two categories: flat characters and round characters. Flat and round characters each fill important roles in works of fiction, and while this isn’t the only way to categorize fictional characters, it’s a useful distinction to help guide your own character writing. What…

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Repetition Definition: Types of Repetition in Poetry and Prose

Repetition Definition: Types of Repetition in Poetry and Prose

What is repetition? At its simplest, repetition is a word or phrase used multiple times in a text, for the purpose of emphasizing an emotion or idea. It might seem counterintuitive to repeat, repeat, repeat, but when wielded correctly, the repetition of words and phrases has powerful effects in literature. You’re most likely to find…

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Irony Definition: Different Types of Irony in Literature

irony definition

What is irony? Well, it’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s a free ride, when you’ve already paid. ’90s radio is helpful here. Okay; but what is irony? It can often be easier to point to specific ironies than to find a definition of irony itself that hits home. Irony involves contradiction of our…

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What is the Plot of a Story?

what is the plot of a story

The plot of a story defines the sequence of events that propels the reader from beginning to end. Storytellers have experimented with the plot of a story since the dawn of literature. No matter what genre you write, understanding the possibilities of plot structure, as well as the different types of plot, will help bring…

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