Mrs. Luna's Web Page
Literary Terms
8th Grade Social Studies
What's My Grade
Message Board
Goal Template
Writing Rubric: Goal Setting
Rubric NW

Alliteration the repetition of initial consonant sounds


analogy makes a comparison between two or more things that are similar in some ways but otherwise unalike


anecdote a brief story about an interesting, amusing, or strange event


antagonist a character or a force in conflict with a main character, or protagonist


autobiography the story of the writer’s own life, told by the writer


biography form of nonfiction in which a writer tells the life story of another person


character a person or animal that takes part in the action of a literary work.


climax  also called the turning of point, is the high point in the action of the plot


comedy  a literary work, especially a play, which is light often humorous or satirical

and ends happily


conflict a struggle between opposing forces; normally the story’s central problem


dialect the form of a language spoken by people in a particular region or group


dialogue a conversation between characters


drama a story written to be performed by actors


essay a short nonfiction work about a particular subject


exposition  introduction of the setting, characters, and basic situation


expository writing      writing that explains or informs


fable    a brief story or poem, usually with animal characters that teaches a lesson, or moral


fantasy  highly imaginative writing that contains elements not found in real life


fiction  prose writing that tells about imaginary characters and events


figurative language writing or speech that is not meant to be taken literally


flashback a scene within a story that interrupts the sequence of events to relate events that occurred in the past


folk tales told to entertain, but also to communicate the shared ideas of a culture.  The often deal with romance, magic, adventure and heroes.


foreshadowing author’s use of clues to hint at what might happen later in the story.


genre   a division or type of literature.  Is commonly divided into three major groups poetry, prose, an drama


Historical Fiction        Real events, places, or people are incorporated into a fictional or made-up story


Images/Imagery    Words or phrases that appeal to one or more of the five senses.  Writers use this term to describe how their subjects look, sound, feel, taste, and smell.


Legend: stories based on facts; overtime details in legends move further away from factual events to describe people and actions that are more fictional than real


metaphor:  a figure of speech in which something is described as though it were something else.


moral  a lesson taught by a literary work.  In fables, it is usually directly stated; in other works, it is not directly stated.


myth  fictional tales that explain the actions of gods and heroes or explain natural phenomena.


universal theme a message about life that can be understood by people of most cultures



irony involves surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions.


hyperbole an exaggeration or an overstatement. 


local customs  unique traditions or ways of life of a particular group.


narrator a speaker or a character who tells a story


nonfiction prose writing that presents and explains ideas or that tells about real people places, objects, or events.


novel   a long work of fiction


novella  a fiction work that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel


onomatopoeia  the use of words that imitate sounds such as crash, buzz, hiss.


oral tradition  the passing of songs, stories, and poems from generation to generation by word of mouth.


personification  a type of figurative language in which a nonhuman subject is given human characteristics


plot  the arrangement of events in a story.


rising action  events that increase tension


falling action  events that follow the climax


resolution  the final outcome


point of view  the perspective from which the story is told, either first person or third person


protagonist the main character in a literary work



scene   divided parts of an act


stage directions  sets of bracketed information that tell what the stage looks like and how the characters should move.


set   the construction on stage that suggests the time and place of the action


props   the movable items such as books, a suitcase, or a flashlight used by actors to make their actions look more realistic


tragedy   the form of drama in which events lead to the downfall of the main character.  This character is often a person of great


screenplays   scripts from which movies are produced


Radio plays   the written format of radio broadcasts.  They included sound effects, but not lighting or stage directions.


screenplays   scripts from which movies are produced


science fiction   combines elements of fiction and fantasy with scientific fact.


short story   a brief work of fiction longer than a novella and not as long as a novel


simile   a figure of speech that uses like or as to make a direct comparison between two unlike ideas.


theme    a central message, concern, or purpose in a literary work.  Usually expressed as a generalization, or statement, about human beings or about life.

Last updated on