Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Glossary, M-Q

Week of January 22, 2012—Picture Book Writer’s Glossary
Wednesday, January 25, 2012—The Glossary, M-Q


Meaningful list (or purposeful list)—meaningful lists include details, move action along, or otherwise enhance writing can be helpful. (For instance: Twelve Clydesdale horse, two Dalmatians, and four firefighters rode Engine #49 in the parade.)

Metaphor—a comparison of two different things that does NOT use like or as (For instance: The sun is an orange basketball bouncing through the sky.) See:

Modifier—a word, phrase, or sentence that limits or qualifies the sense of another word, phrase, or sentence is called a modifier. Often modifiers are two hyphenated words used to qualify something about another word or phrase. (For instance: Jake was a first-time award winner.)

Moral/lesson ending—writers can communicate a moral or lesson learned at the end of their writing. A moral/lesson ending may be obvious and stated (for instance: I sure learned a lesson that day and from now I will think before I speak) or it may be implied and subtle. CAUTION: Avoid being preachy or didactic. See:



Onomatopoeia—the use of words that sound like the noise they make. Also known as sound effects (such as cuckoo or boom). See:


Pacing—the speed at which a story progresses. The rate of pacing can change throughout a story—from fast to slow and vice versa.

Personification—giving human characteristics to non-human, inanimate things. (For instance: The car wipers batted away tears. OR The tree streched its arms to the sky.) See:

Plot—the structure and action of the events in a work of fiction. In order for a plot to begin some sort of catalyst must occur.

Point of view (POV)—the way a story is told and who tells it. The two most common POVs used in picture books are first-person POV (when the narrator speaks as “I” and is a character in the story) and third-person POV (when the narrator seems to be standing outside the story and refers to all the characters by name and uses he, they, she, etc.).

Problem—giving the central character a problem, situation, or challenge (no matter how big or small) that he/she must successfully solve/resolve (most often by himself/herself) for the story to come to a satisfactory conclusion.


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