Frame Story

Frame Story – Wikipedia: A frame story 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 a set of [...]

Fantasy (The Irreal) versus Surrealism (The Hyperreal)

Fantasy (The Irreal) versus Surrealism (The Hyperreal) – Realism implies an attempt to depict reality “as it is.” In contrast, fantasy implies art that says, “Forget about reality, I’m setting up new rules and playing by them.” Fantasy is about the supernatural. Books about dragons and space aliens and vampires are all fantasy, though the [...]



Différance: Reflex and Double Articulation – The concept  of “différance” was coined by philosopher Jacques Derrida. He came to it by way of a lineage of reflexive thinkers beginning with Nietzsche, the thinker who’s so reflexive, he posits that even emptiness, death, the abyss, gazes back. (And calls the world to itself: Abyssus abyssum invocat.) [...]

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale – Intended (sometimes) for children, this type of moralizing narrative often includes talking animals and magical plants—making it essentially a subset of fable–parable. The fairy tale has a long, rich tradition, courtesy of fairy-fanatics such as the Brothers Grimm, Lafcadio Hearn, Tim Burton, and Neil Gaiman. We know the genre when we encounter [...]

Character description

Character description – Remembered, summarized, paraphrased information about a character is more likely to be tied to opinions, vague memories, stereotypes: The mind does backfilling and what’s called in cognitive science Orwellian and Stalinesque editing. We make up details. Immediate, exterior, physical information is both more compelling and somehow more trustworthy. Even when establishing a [...]


Italics – Book titles, magazine titles, play titles, newspaper titles, television show titles, website titles, and other titles of whole works are italicized. Chapters, stories, poems, articles, episodes, and other component/partial works are set off with quotation marks. Learn the rule. It’s easy. Examples: Henry V [play] Sesame Street [TV show] The New Yorker [magazine] [...]

Phonetics (Sound)

Phonetics (Sound) - There are many phonetic devices whereby sound generates affect (emotion) in the reader—perhaps via an EEK! of excitement (via onomatopoeia—the representation of non-word sounds as letters on the page)—or a moment of mild, moody, Monday-morning monotony at sea while looking longingly out upon the blank, endless, lulling, lurching, leading-nowhere, limitless water (alliteration—the use of [...]

Personification, Anthropomorphism, Apostrophe

Personification, Anthropomorphism, Apostrophe - Attributing human characteristics to non-humans. To personify an object is to make it sound human: A ship in Moby-Dick has teeth, a belly, tendons. Used often (if softly) in Romantic literature. Here are some examples of problematic personifications: Time flies - Time can’t fly; time is an abstraction. Also, the phrase tempus fugit in Latin [...]

Point of view (POV), Person, Perspective

Point of view (POV), Person, Perspective – How a text is directed at its readers, grammatically. There are six POVs: First-person singular – I shot the sheriff First-person plural – We are the champions Second-person singular – You, you got what I need Second-person plural – Y’all [pl. vernacular] don’t wanna hear me, you [pl. [...]

The Third-Person Singular Pronoun Mystery: Do You Write One, He, She, They, or He/She, or S/He?

The Third-Person Singular Pronoun Mystery: Do You Write One, He, She, They, or He/She, or S/He? – In your reading, you will run into all of these pronouns used to refer to a single person in an example. Read these and think about how they are different from one another: When a person walks down [...]