My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Creative Writing Terms K-O


Kenning- Language play that wouldn't exist if prescriptivists ruled the world.  It is the combination of two words (the... juxtapositioning of them if you will) that leads to a whole new idea.  It was more common in middle English but you still see it done today.  "Beer goggles" would be a great example.  "Tramp stamp" would be another.  I'm working hard to get chair brain picked up, but it's slow going.

Kinesics- The reason you lost friends over that stupid e-mail.  This is the part of communication that happens with body language, facial expression, and other non-linguistic cues.  To put it bluntly, communicating without kinesics is very, very hard, and it's the reason so many conversations go wrong and so many people say "you misunderstood me" online.  It's not exactly part of creative writing, but it's in this glossary because YOU HAVE TO KNOW THAT!!!  When you have no smirk or open body language, your light hearted thought might be read as venomous, and you can't fill your fiction with semi-colons, endashs, and P's.  When a writer is left only with the words themselves, and the word choice greatly affects tone then they must be good at choosing those words carefully.  Kinesics is probably one of the main reasons that people who don't read a lot and just watch TV and movies are almost never as good at writing as their sense of story, plot, character, irony, and pacing seems like it should make them.  It's because they're thinking with kinesics in mind and don't have the word choice/linguistic skill.


Lead Time- The time between an article's submission and it's publication.  This may be a very important bit of information for seasonal or other time sensitive articles.  No one will read an article about this years officially designated cut off points for "proper" and "whorish" skirt lengths in late September, and your definitive rating system of all the pumpkin spiced foodstuffs offered in the entire tri-state area will be less awesome in March.

Limerick- A short, five-line poem usually of anapestic meter with a strict aabba rhyme scheme.    It usually follows a pentameter (but with anapests) for the A lines and bimeter with the B lines, though often it is enough simply to have the lines be shorter.  Limericks often have sexual or at least humorous subject matter.

There once was a horny young blogger
Who gave up his dream to kill Hogger
He envisioned a fan
Who'd find him quite the man
And would scream not if he wanted to snog her

Linguistics- The study of structure and variation within language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, and pragmatics.  It's two principle approaches are descriptive and prescriptive.  Descriptive linguistics focuses on how a language is used and prescriptive linguistics focuses on how language should be used.  It is extremely important for a writer to understand both approaches and why they are important.  A prescriptive grasp of linguistics (and grammar) is important given how much of the world, including many gatekeepers, will judge a writer's writing ability according to how many errors they make.  Descriptive linguistics is important, however, to not come across like a sanctimonious religious asshole.  Plus, honestly, most creatives are more interested in playing with language than being helplessly constrained by it.  They bend and break the rules for effect.  (Which should never be confused with not KNOWING the rules.) Stridently prescriptive writers tend to be better suited to editing and non-creative forms of writing.

Literary-  Technically this means nothing more than "of or related to a body of written works of a language, period, or culture," but it has come to mean so much more among the humanities trenches of academia where the really important battles are fought--battles like what books people who are really cultured and sophisticated ought to be reading.  (And those other departments waste their time on cold fusion and social injustice!)  Though literary sommeliers and the ivory tower (which we are using to symbolize a giant white man's penis, you understand) would like to think that "literary" is a term that applies to a work's quality, regardless of content, they have an unreasonable prejudice towards genre fiction, which they make no effort to hide, despite the fact that it comprises much of the canon.  They defend this prejudice staunchly, though it has no more logic than declaring all impressionism and abstract art to be "not real".  Despite the claim that theirs is a quest merely for literary quality, they are blind to the tropes and cliches of their offerings and how it forms its own genre in much the same way that mainstream culture sometimes isn't aware of itself or how people have trouble hearing their own accents.  Writers like Poe, Wells, Orwell, and more recently Marquez, Ishiguro, and Murakami actually require them to invent new sub-genres in order to keep soft-shoeing and jazz handing through their backpedal.