Fireflies & Laserbeams

The Writer’s Lexicon is Updated

Wednesday January 6, 2016 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Blogging | Leave Comments

I’m actively compiling this list to benefit writers of varying levels of immersion in the waters of authordom, to help us look less stupid or simply to help you navigate the world of writing a little more confidently. I am taking suggestions to add to this list, it's not complete by any stretch.  I am particularly interested in ‘writer-culture’ words. Or, perhaps you disagree with my definition. I’d like to hear about that as well.

Plot Devices and Literary Words

Alien Space Bats - The term was originally used as a sarcastic attack on poorly written alternate histories due to lack of plausibility to create improbably plot divergences. Also refers to the use of Deus ex Machina in the form of Ancient Aliens.

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Sprechen Sie Writer?

Saturday January 12, 2013 | By Hieronymus Hawkes | Uncategorized | Leave Comments


I've been at this writing thing for several years in earnest, but every now and then it becomes painfully obvious to me that I should've paid more attention to my college English class or read more about certain genres or pop culture references.  I’m actively compiling this list to benefit writers of varying levels of emersion in the waters of authordom, to help us look less stupid or simply to help you navigate the world of writing a little more confidently.
I am taking suggestions to add to this list, it's not complete by any stretch.  I am particularly interested in ‘writer-culture’ words. Or, perhaps you disagree with my definition. I’d like to hear about that as well.
I’ve broken it down by categories.
General Terms
Active Voice                           Writing where the subject of the sentence is carrying out action
ARC                                       Advanced Reader Copy, printed before the actual print run on a new book
Auxiliary or Helping verb         A verb that goes with another verb (have or do)
Back Matter                            Back pages of a book that have appendixes, indexes and endnotes
Bastard Title                            Optional first page of a book containing only the title and nothing else
Blank Verse                            Unrhymed poetry
Block Quote                            A quotation set off from the main text (usually indented) and NOT surrounded by quotes
Bluelines                                  Final proofs that offer a last chance to make changes
Boilerplate                               Standard text used in multiple documents with little or no change, usually referring to contract language
Bubble                                     The circle that surrounds editors comments
Chicago Style                          The preferred method used by The Chicago Manual of Style - style guide for writing
Cliché                                      An expression or idea that is so overused that the meaning is weakened, more commonly used today to mean stereotypical or predictable
Clip                                         A sample of work
Conventions                            mechanical correctness, spelling, grammar, usage, indenting, capitals, and punctuation
Dead Copy                              Final edited Manuscript that is used to proof typesetting (less commonly used with software)
Draft                                       Preliminary version of a piece that will likely require revision and editing
Editing                                    Proof reading for mechanical features of writing, spelling, punctuation, etc
Ellipses                                    …
Fair Use                                   Allowing copying of short portions of copyrighted material for educational or review purposes
Forward                                  Introductory statement in the front matter written by someone other than the author
Front Matter                            Printed material at the start of a book including title page, table of contents and dedications
Front Piece                              A page in the front matter facing the title page, usually containing an illustration and often on different card stock
Galley                                      The first printed version (proof) of a document
GLB                                        Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual
H/H                                         Hero and Heroine (A couple in a romance novel)
HEA                                        Happily ever after (used in the romance genre)
het                                           Heterosexual
HFN                                        Happy for Now (used in the romance genre)
Hook                                       The important part of a work at the beginning that captures a reader's interest
House Style                             Preferred editorial style of a publisher
Imprint                                     A branding name used by a publisher for books they release, one publisher may have several
ISBN                                       Unique number assigned to each book by a publisher, now a 13 digit number, not necessarily required by self-publication
Lead or Lede                          The first couple of lines of a story
Ligature                                   Special characters formed by combining two or more letters, such as æ  
Logline                                     A brief description of a piece, usually a teaser
MC                                          Main Character
Meme                                      Pronounced ‘meem’ - an idea, belief or system of beliefs that spreads among a culture
NaNoWriMo                           Pronounced ‘Nah No Rye Moe’, National Novel Writing Month, a 50k word challenge for the month of November
Neologism                               A new word or expression
On Acceptance                       Payment received only when the editor accepts the final manuscript
On Publication                        Payment received only when the MS is published
On Spec                                  A submission accepted without obligation to publish it
Orphan or Widow                   First line of a paragraph that appears at the bottom of a page by itself
Parenthetical                           Using these (), still acceptable but falling out of use in fiction
Passive Voice                          A sentence where the subject is being acted upon instead of doing the action
Pitch                                        A short description of a piece
POD                                        Print on Demand
POV                                        Point of view - the perspective of the story, 1st person
Preface                                    Introductory statement in the front matter written by the AUTHOR
Prewriting                               Invention, Brainstorming, Researching, Plotting, Outlining before starting on the first draft
Proof                                       A trial sheet printed to be checked and corrected; a galley is the first proof
Query                                      A sales letter showcasing writing style, usually limited in length to 1 or 2 pages
Red Shirt                                 Expendable, refers to the crewmen of the TV Series Star Trek who were often killed during a mission
Reproduction Proof                A high quality proof for final review before printing
Revising                                  Making structural or content changes to a draft
Royalty                                   The Percentage of book sales paid to the author by the publisher
Run-on Sentence                     A sentence containing two or more independent clauses improperly joined or simply too long
Serial Comma                          Comma preceding 'and' or 'or' in a list of items
Show Don't Tell                      Writing in a manner that allows the reader to experience the story through the description of actions, thought, senses and feelings rather than through exposition or summary
Stet                                          Proofreading mark indicating that the editing marks should be ignored and the text displayed as the original (let it stand)
Synopsis                                  A longer description of a piece, usually including all the secrets and how the story ends
Tautology                                Needless repeating of a word or idea, such as 'final result'
Trim or Boil                             To reduce the length of a story
Vanity Press or Publisher        Where the author pays to have their work published and covers all out of pocket expenses themselves
Voice                                       The personality of the writer coming through the words
WIP                                         Work in progress, usually the current project being written
YA                                          Young Adult genre
Editing terms or abbreviations
ASGCM                                  American Suburban Gated-Community McCastles - Castle or palace settings where royals don't actually act like royals and answer the door themselves, dress themselves, etc
awk                                         Awkward sentence or phrase
cap                                           Capitalization
DTG                                        Delete the grimace
FBP                                         Floating Body Parts, using description in a way that gives action to the character/person, not his/her independent body parts, like 'Her eyes roamed the room'
frag                                          Sentence Fragment
gr                                             Grammar error
ital                                           Italicize
lc                                             lower case
MS                                          Manuscript
mss                                          manuscript formatting
nc or ?                                     Not clear or confusing
p                                              Punctuation
P E                                          Printer's Error
R O                                         Run-on sentence
ref                                            Pronoun antecedent is unclear
RUE                                        Resist the urge to explain
SDT                                        Show, Don't tell sp                                            Spelling Error
ss                                             Sentence structure error
t                                               Incorrect Verb tense
Tr                                             Transposition error
TSTL                                       Character acting Too Stupid To Live
UC                                          Upper Case
wc                                           Word Choice
Grammar Terms (Just a little refresher)
Alliteration                              A series of words all beginning with the same letter or sound
Anagram                                 A word or phrase formed by transposing the letters of another word or phrase
Antecedent                             A word or phrase that is referred to by a pronoun
Clause                                     A complete phrase containing a noun and verb that is part of a compound sentence
Complex Sentence                  A sentence containing an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses
Compound Sentence               A sentence containing two or more clauses separated by 'and', 'but' or 'or'
Gerund                                    A form of verb acting as a noun and ending in 'ing', like 'acting' (present participle)
Homograph                             Words spelled the same but pronounced differently and having different meaning
Homonym                               Word spelled and pronounced the same way but with different meaning
Hyperbole                               Extravagant and deliberate exaggeration
Idiom                                      A phrase peculiar to one geographic area or group of people
Imperative                               A word used as a command; Go
Independent Clause                 A group of words containing a subject, verb, and if necessary, an object, that can stand alone as a sentence
Indirect Object                        The object preceding the direct object that tells to whom or for whom the verb is acting, such as 'me' in 'He sold me'
Interrogative Pronoun              A pronoun used to ask a question, What, Which, Where, Whom, Whose, etc
Intransitive Verb                      A verb that doesn't need a direct object, such as 'she fainted'
Metaphor                                A phrase comparing two unalike things WITHOUT using 'like' or 'as'
Onomatopoeia                         Use of Words whose pronunciation sounds like their meaning, like Buzz or Hiss
Oxymoron                               Phrase consisting of words with contradictory meaning, military intelligence
Palindrome                              A phrase or word that reads the same forward or backward
Participle                                 A verb form ending in 'ing' or 'ed' that can be used as an adjective
Personification                         Giving human traits to non-human objects
Predicate                                 Part of a sentence, excluding the subject, that tells about the subject
Restrictive Clause                    A subordinate clause essential to the meaning of the sentence and which does not require a coma preceding it
Simile                                      Comparing two similar things using 'like' or 'as'
Split Infinitive                          A verb form where an adverb or phrase comes between the 'to' and the verb
Subordinating Conjunction      A conjunction such as 'although, because, since, while' that precedes a subordinate clause
Transitive Verb                       A verb that requires a direct object, 'he threw the ball'
Page Set-up or Style words
Curly Quotes                           Special Quotation marks slanted toward the quote (smart quotes)
Deck                                        The sentence or two under the title of a book
Folio                                        The page number on a page; blind folio has no page number but counts in the page count
Kerning                                   Adjusting the space between characters
Leading                                   Adjusting space between lines of text
N                                            Short for number
Nut Graf                                 The paragraph right after the hook which explains an article
Plate                                        A full page illustration, often on higher grade paper or different color
Running Head                         A title that is repeated at the top of every page
Sink                                         Distance from the top of a printed page to the first element on that page
Slug Line                                 ALL CAPS - location and time of day
I look forward to hearing from you with more suggestions.
Clear Ether!

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