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11 Plus (11+) Creative Writing Glossary

Last updated: October 6, 2023

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11 Plus (11+) Creative Writing Glossary

The following glossary of creative writing terms may be useful for your child’s 11+ creative writing exam. Definitions have been taken/adapted from the Oxford Languages Dictionary and Grammarly.


Adjective – A word used to describe a noun. e.g. generous, soft, or confident.

Adverb – A word used to describe verbs. e.g. gracefully, cheerfully, or nervously.

Alliteration – The repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to each other. e.g. Ryan ran rapidly. There are different types of alliterative such as fricatives (e.g. using an ‘f’ or ‘th’ starting sound), sibilance (e.g. using an ‘s’ starting sound), or plosives (e.g. using a ‘t’, ‘k’, ‘p’, ‘d’, ‘g’, or ‘b’ starting sound).

Allegory – A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.

Anagram – A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another e.g. you can form the word heart from the word earth.

Analogy – A comparison between two things, usually to help clarify or explain something.

Anecdote – A short, interesting story about a real event or person.

Antagonist – A character who opposes the protagonist.

Anthropomorphism – Giving human traits to non-human subjects (i.e.animals, objects or gods).

ApostropheA punctuation mark used for contractions or to show possession e.g. didn’t, couldn’t, or can’t or Kelly’s tea.

Asyndeton – Omission of conjunctions in a series of related clauses; antonym of polysyndeton. e.g. I came, I saw, I conquered.

Atmosphere – The mood or tone of a creative writing piece.



Backstory – A history or background that precedes the events of the narrative.

Braces{} Curly brackets used to group words or symbols.

Brackets() Punctuation marks used to include additional information within a sentence.



Characterisation – The creation or development of a character in a story.

Clause – A group of words that contain a subject and a verb that have a relationship. e.g. I went to school.

Climax – The most intense, exciting, or important point in a story.

Colon: A punctuation mark used to introduce a list, explanation, or example. e.g. I need to buy the following things at the market: eggs, butter, milk, and cream.

Comma, A punctuation mark used to indicate a pause or separate elements in a sentence.

Comic relief – humour used to relieve the dramatic or serious mood of a story. 

Conjunction – A conjunction is a type of connective, it is a word or two words used to connect clauses or sentences e.g. for, nor, but, or, yet, so, as, because, if, till, since, when, either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also.

Connective – A word or phrase that links clauses or sentences.

Contraction – A shortened form of a word or group of words eg. I am becomes I’m, She is becomes She’s.

Conflict – A struggle between opposing forces in a story.



Dash A punctuation mark used for emphasis or interruption.

Denouement – The final resolution or clarification of a story.

Dialogue – Conversation between two or more people in a story.

Dramatic Irony –  A literary technique in which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the reader but unknown to the character.



Ellipsis A punctuation mark indicating omitted words.

Epigraph – A quote or saying at the beginning of a story which suggests its overarching theme.

Epiphany – A moment of sudden revelation or insight.

Exclamation mark! A punctuation mark used to indicate a strong feeling or command.



Fiction – Literature created from the imagination as opposed to being an accurate recording of real events.

Flashback – A scene in a story which describes an event that happened in the past, earlier than the main story.

Foreshadowing – Hinting at future events in a story.

Full stop. A punctuation mark indicating the end of a sentence.



Hamartia – A character’s fatal flaw; a character’s trait which ultimately results in their downfall. An example of a hamartia, could be a hubris which means having excessive pride or self-confidence. 

Hyperbole – Statements which are exaggerated for emphasis.



Imagery – Descriptive language used to create a visual for a reader.

In media res – Starting a story in the middle of the action or plot.



Juxtaposition – Placing two elements closely together to create contrast. e.g. All’s fair in love and war.



Literary device – Techniques used to produce a specific effect in 




Metaphor – A figure of speech comparing two unlike things without using “like” or “as.” e.g. She’s got a heart of gold.

Mood –  A story’s emotional atmosphere.

Motif – A recurring symbol, theme, or idea in a story



Noun – A word used to identify people, places, things, or ideas.



Onomatopoeia – Words that sound like what they mean. e.g. screech, crunch, or howl

Oxymoron – A phrase which contains terms that contradict each other e.g. deafening silence.



Paradox – A statement that seems to initially contradict itself but could still be true upon further consideration. e.g. It was the beginning of the end.

Parenthesis – Additional or explanatory words or phrases enclosed in brackets or dashes. e.g. Some famous women from history include Amelia Earhart (American aviation pioneer), Rosa Parks (Civil Rights activist), and Virginia Woolf (English writer).

Pathetic fallacy – Evoking a mood (e.g. the main character’s mood) by attributing human emotions to inanimate objects or nature. e.g. It’s raining outside when a character is feeling sad. Sometimes pathetic fallacy may be paired with foreshadowing to hint at an upcoming ominous event, building tension in a story e.g. A brewing storm may suggest to the reader that trouble is on the horizon for a character. 

Personification – Giving human qualities to nonhuman subjects e.g. The trees whispered to each other.

Plot – The sequence of events in a story.

Polysyndeton – The use of multiple conjunctions in close succession e.g. I love cycling and swimming and athletics and football. The opposite of this, is asyndeton, which is intentionally omitting a conjunction. e.g. I ran, bounded, flew across the track.

Protagonist – The main character in a story. The opposite of a protagonist is an antagonist, a character who opposes the protagonist’s actions or goals. 



Question mark? A punctuation mark indicating a question.

Quotation marks“” Punctuation marks used to identify speech, a quote, or a title.



Resolution – The solution or conclusion of the story’s conflict.

Reversal – A change to an opposite direction, position, or course of action.



Satire – The use of humour, irony, or exaggeration to criticise something or someone.

Semi-colon; A punctuation mark used to separate closely related independent clauses. e.g. I saw a brightly-coloured bird; it was resting in a tree.

Setting – The time and place in which a story takes place.

Simile – A comparison using “like” or “as.” e.g. He was sly like a fox.

Suspense – A feeling of excitement or tension about what may happen. Writers may build suspense in a variety of ways in the lead up to the climax of the story. 

Symbolism – The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. e.g. typically a phoenix symbolises rebirth, a dove symbolises peace, and a heart symbolises love.

Synonym – Synonyms are words that have the same meaning. e.g. peaceful and calm.  The opposite of this is antonyms; antonyms are words that have opposite meanings e.g. peaceful and violent.



Tense – The grammatical category indicating time; past tense e.g. I was running, present tense e.g. I am running, and future tense e.g. I will be running

Theme – The main idea or underlying meaning of a literary work. e.g. family, wealth, nature.



Verb – A word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence. e.g. walk, tell, learn, climb, think, or jump.



Zoomorphism – Giving animal traits to human subjects. e.g. Harriet wolfed down her dinner.

11+ Creative Writing Course

On our 11+ Creative writing course, your child will cover a variety of creative writing terms with 11+ creative writing experts. Book now to sign up for the course which starts this October. 

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