Parallelism (Structure)


Parallelism (Structure) - There are many ways that we can rearrange the typical syntax of a sentence for some literary effect, whether hifalutin, funny, moving, memorable, or weird. “Syntax” simply means “the rules of how words fit together to make language,” word order. In English, subject (noun, doer, agent) usually precedes predicate (verb, action), followed sometimes [...]

Inciting Incident

Inciting Incident – What causes the protagonist to go on a journey or seek out an answer. In most modern fiction, this occurs very close to the first sentence; there is not much “exposition” before the journey commences.

Hypotaxis versus Parataxis

Hypotaxis versus Parataxis – These are the two poles of sentence writing. Most writers are more or less hypotactic (unequal and thus complex or “elegant”) or paratactic (equal and thus simple or “direct”). Equality here refers to the parts of the sentences we write. If I write long, flowing sentences of various lengths, with various [...]

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 [...]


Trope – The “shape,” the framework for a narrative, how we’re supposed to read it. This is a letter. My friend is telling me this. This is a report on something that really happened. We use “trope” loosely now to mean everything from plot to genre, but strictly trope means this framework. Most stories have [...]

How to Read a Book

How to Read a Book – There are four huge domains to explore when reading a book, especially a novel or collection of stories, for a college humanities class. These are: Theme – Emotional insight, expressible as a single sentence or short paragraph. Specific elements in the story lead to a universal insight Structure – [...]