Writer's Glossary - C
At the end of a story, the protagonist should undergo some kind of change. Change usually happens directly following the resolution of the plot, although it can come before. The protagonist learns a lesson, experiences a revelation, achieves a goal he thought unachievable, makes a decision, corrects a character flaw, etc. A protagonist who is the same exact person on the last page of the story as he was on the first makes for a boring character. If there are multiple protagonists, all of them should undergo some sort of change. However, note the difference between the true protagonists and strong supporting players.
A personality in a story. This can be a person (usually the case), or any other living thing—an animal, alien, creature, mythical beast, sentient plant, and so on. A character can also be a non-living thing if it is vivid enough and central enough to the story, although strictly speaking a character is usually someone or something capable of thinking.
An imperfection or weakness in a character. All characters should have flaws; perfect characters are unbelievable, unexciting, and uninteresting. Character flaws should work in tandem with the plot and conflict to help impede or make the character's trip to the end of the story difficult. When the story is over, the character usually will have conquered, been able to deal with, or worked around his flaws.
The methods by which a writer gives depth to his characters—the ways in which he brings them to life.
A phrase, usually a metaphor or other figure of speech, that has become so overused that it has lost its strength and/or appears to be a cheap cop-out on the part of the writer—as if he were unable to think up something new on his own. Here are some examples:
These might seem colorful, but they've been done to death. Avoid them in favor of your own words, even if they seem ordinary.
This doesn't mean you can't use a cliché once in a while. But cut back on them to keep your prose fresh and original, and not relying on battered metaphors and overused figures of speech
The opposition by other characters, an outside force, himself, or anything at all that works against the character and inhibit him from attaining his goal. This can be a bad guy or the police just as easily as it can be Mother Nature or his own fear of something. Conflict is usually it's the friction between the protagonist and the antagonist, who are generally working toward different goals and are in opposition to each other, which creates the conflict.
A subgenre of fantasy set in modern times, usually the here and now in our own world, with fantastic elements. A story about someone living in a modern-day city who discovers magical gnomes living his basement could be considered contemporary fantasy.
Or contributor copy, a free copy of a printed publication, usually a magazine or anthology, given to a writer or artist whose work appears in that publication. Contributor's copies are often given to supplement cash payment or, in the case of smaller publications, as the sole payment.
Introductory letter accompanying a submitted manuscript, identifying the writer, story title, and other brief but pertinent information. Most editors require cover letters; virtually all have no objection to them. Generally, a cover letter should not ramble on; it should be brief and to the point.