The Teen Writer’s Workshop was a success! There were some great questions just after we finished that I didn’t have time to discuss while everyone was together, so I decided to post it here for everyone to see. Essentially, the questions were about different literary terms, so I’m defining some below. Also, if you weren’t able to make it to the workshop and want to contribute to our Teen Writing Contest (or if you just want some resources), this may catch you up. In addition, below each section are links to further information about each topic.
Every story needs a plot. It can be really deep and meaningful, where the character(s) try to get something and go on an amazing journey, or it can just be a series of musings all connected somehow. Basically, this is how most stories are structured, but you can innovate and expand upon it. That’s the point of creativity, right?
Point of View (POV):
Point of view is essentially the perspective from which a story is told. There are three kinds of POV:
- First Person: These stories are told from the perspective of one single person, through his or her eyes. Example: “I walked down the street one day.”
- Second Person: These stories directly address the reader or audience. This isn’t very common, but was common through 19th century literature. Example: “You might be wondering what I’m talking about.”
- Third Person: These stories use pronouns like “he,” “she,” or “it.” Moreover, the story can be told in limited or omniscient third person. Limited third person means that the story comes from the perspective of the main character and does not tell the thoughts of other characters. Third person omniscient (omniscient means “all-knowing”) can reveal any and all information, whether the main character knows it or not.
Foreshadowing is when an author hints at what might happen later on in the story. This can help build tension or anticipation, driving the story along. Try not to use a heavy hand with this, as you want your reader to keep reading, but not completely figure it out by the end.
Tone is the attitude of the author or narrator toward the story. Is your narrator comic? Serious? Foreboding? Frightening? Straightforward?
Mood, also called atmosphere, is the emotions that the literature brings up in the reader. Is it scary? Tense? Funny? Lighthearted?
Flashbacks and flashforwards are used to provide information, to create suspense or anticipation in the reader.
Diction is the use of words in a story. This sounds simple, right? However, you want to spice up your writing and not be boring or vague. Be specific and interesting. Use the right word for the right situation. Your best resource: a Thesaurus!
- Said - called, shouted, laughed, cried, chortled, asked, questioned, moaned, whispered, whined, replied
- Good/Nice — excellent, appreciated, well-behaved, polite, great, appropriate, well mannered, enjoyable
- Bad - disrespectful, naughty, inappropriate, ill-mannered, rude
- Like - enjoy, love, prize, care for, respect, approve, agree with
- Went (ie I went there) — ran, raced, walked, strolled, meandered, drove, rode
- Pretty - Beautiful, gorgeous, lovely, pulchritudinous, adorable, amazing
Poetry (which we’re also accepting for submissions to the writing contest!) is one of the most misunderstood aspects of writing and literature. Usually, you either like it or you hate it. Don’t worry about rhyming or rhythm, or deep symbolism. However, poets become famous for a reason! Shakespeare came up with very little on his own, but perfected things that came before him, like the sonnet. Therefore, take a look at some of the resources below, and do a little imitation. Moreover, do a bit of innovation build on what’s been done before–make it your own!
Take a look at the document linked below. It gives some great resources about how to make your story really shine and have good depth.
General Further Resources:
If you have any other questions or suggestions, put them in the comments section!