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Telling a Story

19.1 Vocabulary and ideas to consider as you write narratives.

Vocab Words Definitions
Characteri-zation The process by which an author builds characters; can be accomplished directly or indirectly.
Dialogue A communication between two or more people. Can include any mode of communication, including speech, texting, e-mail, Facebook post, body language, etc.
Dynamic Character A character who noticeably changes within the scope of a narrative, typically as a result of the plot events and/or other characters. Contrast with static character.
Epiphany A character’s sudden realization of a personal or universal truth. See dynamic character.
Flat Character A character who is minimally detailed, only briefly sketched or named. Generally less central to the events and relationships portrayed in a narrative. Contrast with round character.
Mood The emotional dimension which a reader experiences while encountering a text. Compare with tone.
Multimedia / Multigenre A term describing a text that combines more than one media and/or more than one genre (e.g., an essay with embedded images; a portfolio with essays, poetry, and comic strips; a mixtape with song reviews).
Narration A rhetorical mode involving the construction and relation of stories. Typically integrates description as a technique.
Narrative Pacing The speed with which a story progresses through plot events. Can be influenced by reflective and descriptive writing.
Narrative Scope The boundaries of a narrative in time, space, perspective, and focus.
Narrative Sequence The order of events included in a narrative.
Plot The events included within the scope of a narrative.
Point-Of-View The perspective from which a story is told, determining both grammar (pronouns) and perspective (speaker’s awareness of events, thoughts, and circumstances).
Round Character A character who is thoroughly characterized and dimensional, detailed with attentive description of their traits and behaviors. Contrast with flat character.
Static Character A character who remains the same throughout the narrative. Contrast with dynamic character.
Tone The emotional register of the text. Compare with mood.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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