Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writerly Lingo

Like any other field of interest or vocation, writing has its own unique lingo. Acronyms and abbreviations abound. Newbies are often confused, but using abbreviations can speed communication between writers.

Here are some commonly used writerly abbreviations and words:

ARC: Advanced Reading/Review Copy; books handed out for promotional purposes before a book is released for general sale
BEA: BookExpo America; a North American event that showcases what's new in book publishing
BIC: Butt-In-Chair. Sitting down and actually writing, staying until progress is made
CP: critique partner (also can be called a beta reader or critter)
dialogue tag: labels of dialogue like "he said" and "she asked"
full request: request from an agent/editor asking to see a complete finished ms
go on sub: when a writer's agent submits a manuscript to editors/publishers
MC: main character
MG: middle grade fiction; books for readers 8-12, with pre-teen protagonists
ms or mss: manuscript, manuscripts. Also written as MS or MSS.
muse: provides inspiration to writers; can be a person or object--real or imaginary--but it can be a more abstract thing such as music.
NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. Where writers attempt a first draft of an entire novel in 1 month, writing freely w/o editing. This really helps writers if they have a hard time finishing a novel.
New Adult: novels with a protagonist who is post-high school, ages 18-25
partial request: request from an agent/editor asking to see sample chapters of a ms
PB: picture book; for readers ages 5-8
POV: Point of View; whoever is telling the story, filtered through their eyes
RWA: Romance Writers of America, for writers of romantic fiction (YA or adult)
SASE/SAE: self-addressed stamped envelope/self-addressed envelope. Sent with a ms submission to a publisher or editor in order to get the ms sent back.
SCBWI: the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators; a helpful organization for writers used for networking, attending conferences, and other support. PBs up to YA.
Shiny New Idea (SNI/sni): a distracting and compelling idea for a new story idea, often while you're trying to work on another one
slush pile: unsolicited manuscripts at a publishing house or agency
sf&f: science fiction and fantasy
TAT: Turn-Around Time after submission, waiting for acceptance or rejection
The Call: when an agent calls a writer to offer representation (squee!)
WIP: work in progress; a current project a writer is focusing on
writer's block: where a writer sits to write and is unable to
YA: young adult fiction; books for readers 12-18, with teen protagonists


YOUR TURN
How many of these terms did you already know?
Can you add any other abbreviations or writerly lingo to this list?
Have any of the above tripped you up before, when you didn't know what they meant?

33 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting these! I remember having a hard time with acronyms at first, and I sometimes felt too embarrassed to ask for help. TAT and SNI were new to me :)

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  2. TAT: Turn-Around Time after submission, waiting for acceptance or rejection

    Shiny New Idea (SNI/sni): a distracting and compelling idea for a new story idea, often while you're trying to work on another one

    I did not know these! When I first started reading writer blogs, I was so confused but learned most of them! Very cool post. :)

    My hubby texted me once and asked where I was. I replied, "Outside reading, but I need to be BIC."

    He asked me what color black or blue. Not pens! Butt In Chair! LOL

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  3. I hate to admit how many of these have made me stumble over time. I think the biggest one I didn't know was BIC. But, then again, my butt's hardly even NOT in a chair, so it's not a useful acronym for me :D

    Great list, Carol. Thanks for compiling it!

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  4. I don't know at what point I figured these out, but now they're a part of my daily talk. Yesterday I was telling my husband about a friend who was out on sub and he listened for about three minutes before he said "I have no idea what you just said, but good luck." haha!
    erica

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  5. Good post, Carol. I didn't know BIC or SNI. You're right, my shining new ideas always come when I'm working to complete something else. So strange.

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  6. I only knew 13 of them. I guess it's time to brush up on my acronyms!

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  7. This is funny. I've found myself using some of these around non-writer husband. He looks at me as if I've speaking in tongues. I will admit at having to google about six of them. There's also a SFWA and some others. I'm on a first name basis with my writer's block nemesis. I'm going to ask you this because I've been curious for years. SASE..when you write this in a letter you're supposed to say I have included an SASE for your convenience...blah, blah. Why an SASE? Why not a SASE if it doesn't start with vowel? Any ideas? It makes me cringe.

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  8. I'll answer this in case others are curious: It's usually "an SASE" rather than "a SASE" because the sound of the letter is "ess" and that starts with a vowel. Just like you'd write or say an M-30. But I doubt any editor would nail ya for writing "a." ;o)

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  9. Thank you so much. I guess that's the whole problem. I've been reading it as a self-addressed stamped envelope. I'm a grammar freak. What can I say?

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  10. I didn't know PB, or TAT or BEA. Can't wait for 'the call.' Better get busy submitting then ...

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  11. Ah, that was useful. I knew most of them, but the ones I didn't I'll definitely have to keep in mind!

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  12. This is a great list! Thank you, Carol! :)

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  13. The only term I wasn't familiar with was Writer's block... there is such a thing as being unable to write? Amazing ;)

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  14. There were quite a few of those I didn't know, so thanks for the glossary! :D I can't say I've thought of any to add, but I'll certainly let you know if I do. :3

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  15. I heard ARC a lot the past few days, and I sat there scratching my head. Carol to the rescue! Now I know. ;)

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  16. Great list! It really is another language of sorts. I'm familiar with most of them now, but last year I didn't know what to make of them. I've heard the term panster a lot lately. Those who write by the seat of their pants rather than plot it out.

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  17. How useful! Thanks for this list.

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  18. Wow, somehow I knew most of them. TAT threw me, but otherwise, they were familiar. All the time on Twitter and chats must be paying off. ; )

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  19. Great list! Thanks! And have an awesome weekend :)

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  20. Wow! You know, I don't think I've ever seen these listed before! What a great resource for new writers. I'm gonna tweet!

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  21. What a great post. I remember when I first started out not knowing what the heck MG stood for and that's what I was writing.

    I've never heard SNI or TAT. :)

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  22. I learn something new every day. Didn't ever think about 'Turn Around Time'.

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  23. What's fun is then you get onto twitter and it opens up ANOTHER set of stuff #wip #yalitchat #askagent...

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  24. Ha!! I've never seen the BIC one! Hilarious! And totally true... ;) Great list! I've never thought about TAT either...

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  25. hey I must be a writer becuz I knew almost all of them! We do have our own little lingo, don't we? :) TAT and BIC are new for me too!

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  26. Ha! This is great! I didn't know about the shiny new idea or TAT. You're the best, Carol.

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  27. I knew all of them except TAT and BIC. Great list. I can tell you're a seasoned writer. ;)

    Have a great weekend.

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  28. TAT and SNI are new to me too. Great list for the newbie writer.

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  29. I think I knew all of these, but a year ago, I certainly didn't! Great list!

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  30. TAT was new to me, but when I think back, most of them were new just a year ago! Funny how quickly we learn.

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  31. Great list here! I'm happy with myself for how many I know, but definitely glad to learn the rest of them. Thanks for sharing :)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  32. PB is also known for the 2-4 age group
    BB - Board Books - the thick cardboard page books for toddlers

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  33. Of all of these, WIP is my least favorite. Not a big fan of these to begin with but WIP takes the cake.

    Great post.

    Happy Writing :-)

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