A Writer’s Glossary of Terms

April 9, 2008 at 9:51 am | Posted in Bria, writing | 2 Comments

Often in the comments or in the writer’s forum I’m in, newer writers as about the meaning of words or acronyms. For example, when I started writing a more experienced writer told me “show don’t tell me what’s going on.” I thought she wanted me to send her the actual pages so she could look at them. Yeah. I’ve learned a lot.

Here are some of the things that caught me up when I started writing. I’d love to hear some stories from you as well!

ARC – “Advanced Readers Copies” are an early printing of your book typically sent to reviewers and booksellers.

CP – “Critique Partner” – Read my post HERE on setting up that relationship so it will be successful

Dialogue Tag – These show the reader who’s speaking. There are two types, speaker attribution tags (Bria said) and action/beat tags (Bria rolled her eyes)

Genre Fiction – Specific type of novel (Mystery, Romance, Fantasy, etc)

MS – “Manuscript”

Partial – Typically a synopsis and three chapters (although this can vary by requester)

Plagiarism – Because apparently this needs to be addressed lately. If you didn’t write it and you use it without credit, that’s plagiarism. Period.

POV – “Point of View” dictates who is telling the story and how. Writing On The Wall did a great break down blog on this HERE

Query – A one page letter asking an editor or agent if they would be interested in your project

RUE – “Resist the Urge to Explain” – if you’re seeing this, you’re reader is telling you they g

SASE – “Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope” – When sending a query, partial, submission to an editor or agent, always include a SASE and ensure that it has enough postage for the return mailing

Series / Line – Sometimes it’s just better to point the way. Kate Elliot has a great post on classifying series HERE

Show V Tell – If you’re hearing this a lot, you’re most likely trying to tell the reader how your character feels instead of showing the reaction. The very impressive Maria V Snyder has a clear discussion of it HERE

Single Title – A book that stands alone and is not part of a series

Sub-genre – A further division of a genre. For example, if you’re reading a romance set in a historical time period, it’s a Historical Romance. Set in the early American west, it’s a Western Romance, and so on

Synopsis – A brief overview of your story that highlights key plot elements, emotional development, conflict and outcome

WIP – “Work In Progress” – Whatever project you’re working on that isn’t complete

Hope that helps some of our newer readers. I’m sure everyone has a different ‘what they wish they had known’ story, feel free to add them in the comments.

Then, Go Write,



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  1. I don’t think I had even heard of at least 50% (ok closer to 75%) of that list until I got schooled by the Divas. God, I was so lost! *shakes head and walks away kicking the rocks in her path*

  2. ARC threw me for the longest time. H/h for hero and heroine (why’s he get to be the capitalized one, huh?) GMC (Goals, Motivation and Conflic) and MMC and FMC (male main char and female main char) also took me a while to figure out. I loved that they started an acronym faq on RD for these…

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