Monday, September 28, 2009

A Writer's Primer

Sinking in words ...
Originally uploaded by so_martinha
It occurred to me the other day that some of the slang that writers use isn't always easily understandable to the uninitiated. Therefore, here are a few simple terms and phrases to help you navigate writers' websites, chat rooms, and other sites:

Beta reader (or betas) - (n) readers who give critiques and advice on a writer's work in progress. This step usually takes place when the book has been completely finished, but before it is sent off to a publisher or agent.

Dialogue tags (or speech tags) - (n) those bits of description that are conjoined to a characters dialogue. For example: "But, Henry," Kristen said with tears in her eyes, "I thought you liked yogurt."

Fan Fic - fan fiction (n) a type of fiction written by fans of pre-existing stories, especially those in a television series. For example, many people who enjoy Star Trek and The X-Files write fan fic about the series.

Genre - (n) a subcategory or type of fiction such as fantasy, historical romance, horror, etc.

ISBN - International Standard Book Number (n) a unique identification code for books that are published internationally.

MC - main character (n) the protagonist or main character in a work of fiction. For example, Ishmael is the mc in Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

POV - point of view (n) the perspective from which a book is written. First person and third person points of view are most common; however, second person pov is also possible.

Scifi - Science fiction (n) a genre of literature usually involving, although not limited to, space and/or time travel, advanced technology, interplanetary exploration, etc.

Voice - (n) the tone and style of a story, oftentimes the thumbprint of the author. Voice includes such things as word choice, sentence length, pacing, etc.

WC - word count (n) the number of words in a particular story or book.

WIP - work in progress (n) the manuscript(s) that the author is currently working on.


Jenna said...

Awesome. I throw around these writing terms all the time and I'm constantly having to explain to friends and family what the heck I'm talking about. Maybe I'll just write up one of these guides for them. :)

Simon Kewin said...

Very useful post! I was actually just compiling a similar list for a post myself but now I don't need to!

Elle Scott said...

Thanks! I'm sure I'll think of other terms, too. It's almost like a second language.

lunardancer said...

So generous and kind of you to share such helpful information. Thank you very much.

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