A Few Definitions

I say many things that might be… ambiguous to one just joining me.  The following list should clear up any misunderstandings over terms.

The Phils.  Short for “The Philosophers”.  Read all about them on their page.  Also under this topic is The Phil Phorce, the periodical I write just for fun for the blog.  I use it to test out writing styles, techniques, and as a source of critiques.  Read those episodes here.

Twysdrns.  A mythical six-legged creature from the planet Ydrragrsidbr, constantly striving against Voo the Shrrkhlm for possession of the Great Xgt.  I invented them as a generic fantasy creature I could refer to on a moment’s notice.  Read all about them in their post.

The Behold Character.  A character whose sole purpose in life is to point out the obvious.  (Example: Legolas, from the Lord of the Rings.)

The Talking Worm.  Named by Charley R., the syndrome in which you copy the writing style of the last author you read.

Infodump.  An essay glued into the telling of a story.  Infodumps mess with pacing, with mood, even with the writer’s interest in the story.

Discovery writer or pantser.  A writer who doesn’t use an outline.  Discovery writers enjoy writing the way they read, finding out about each new plot twist as it comes up.  “Pantsing” comes from the term “writing by the seat of your pants”.

Plotter.  The opposite of pantsers, plotters outline before they begin writing.

Wise.  My first completed novel.  I wrote it for the NaNoWriMo of November 2011.  60,000 words.  When his brother disappears, the king drops everything and goes to find him, leaving his country to run amok.

Fathoming Egression.  My second completed novel.  I wrote it for Camp NaNoWriMo of August 2012.  85,000 words.  A thief, on the road to becoming a powerful ruler, is also blackmailed into helping to destroy his own world.

Arson.  My third completed novel, written for Camp NaNoWriMo in July 2013.  64,000 words.  A boy finds a village of people trapped in the forest in his backyard, but is freeing them the right thing to do?

Bob.  Bob is a normal guy who wants to bake a cake.  He is opposed by the confectioner of doom.  (Sometimes he wants to have a sandwich, but that’s only when he gets confused with Bill, mentioned below.)  He appears in this post.

Bill.  Bill is a normal guy who wants to have a sandwich.  He appears most often in posts about plot twists, illustrating that a simple goal can always be thwarted.  He has faced werewolves, broken staircases, and more.  He occasionally is seen seeking the Mayonnaise Spreader of the Apocalypse.  His first appearance, to my knowledge, was in this post.

The Superman Flaw.  The problem with a perfect character– he can do anything.  No flaws, nothing– he can handle any plot twist.  It wrecks the suspense.

Character arc.  The journey a character takes to become a better person.  He has a flaw, but at the end of his character arc, it is fixed.  Character development has to do with character arcs as well.  Some processes for character development are here: Changing Characters… AgainStruggling for Character Development.

The Hollywood Formula.  A three-act formula designed to produce the greatest emotional impact from a story.  Although I first heard it from the Writing Excuses podcast, I explained it here: The Hollywood Formula.

Dynamic character.  A term from the Hollywood Formula, the dynamic character (or relationship character) is the character primarily responsible for the main character’s development.  He or she tends to have an argument with the main character at the beginning, which they resolve at the end after the main character has overcome his or her flaw.

The Gee-Whiz Factor.  Whatever about a story or any concept that makes it different from anything else.  What makes it original, interesting.  Introduced in this post: Concepts, Fanfiction, and Tyrannical Bumblebees.

The Chewie Rule.  With no post to call its own, this concept is sort of my own invention (it probably has other names if you ask other people about it).  It’s named after Chewbacca from Star Wars, and the concept that makes him a likable character: because we like Han Solo and because he likes Chewbacca, we like Chewbacca too.  He isn’t cute, he isn’t funny– he’s an alien who’s respected by someone we respect.  This can be used on side characters, although it quickly loses impact with main characters.

(More to come– questions welcome.)


16 thoughts on “A Few Definitions

    1. The Phil Phorce is an ongoing work. You can read it if you like, but just remember that I’ve come a long way from where I began, and even the latest episodes are pretty bad.

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