When I was a kid, I was generally considered to be kinda weird. Even I considered myself weird. I loved to read, loved to lose myself in stories, loved to imagine situations and conversations and dream about traveling to different places and times.
When I attended my first writers’ conference, I realized I wasn’t weird. I was simply a writer of fiction. Our brains are wired just a bit differently. So, for those of you who aren’t writers—or maybe you’re not sure yet whether or not you are—I thought I would share a brief glimpse at Writer-Speak, the language and phrases writers use whenever we get together in person or online.
- WIP: Work-in-Progress, or the current manuscript
- the bright shiny (aka, the squirrel): any other project that steals our attention from the WIP
- suckopsis: sarcastic name for writing a synopsis of the plot of our WIP
- HEA: Happy Ever After, the expected outcome in romance stories.
- CPs: our Critique Partners, who give us honest feedback and often save us from ourselves as we work on the WIP
- a partial: what is often requested by editors and agents, this generally consists of 3 chapters (approx. 50 pages) and a suckop—er, SYNOPSIS.
- BICHOK: Butt-in-Chair, Hands-on-Keyboard, generally a reminder to get the words typed to finish our WIP
- TSTL: Too Stupid To Live, a phrase that often describes a heroine in a book doing something that is, well, something the reader immediately sees will turn out badly (Note: I actually read a book once where the author did, in fact, kill off her heroine after a TSTL moment.)
- NaNo: Short for NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, which runs Nov. 1-30 and is a challenge for writers to write a complete book of at least 50,000 words in those 30 days.
- the sagging middle: the center section of the story, where we often find that the pace slows down or the plot loses excitement
- the black moment: that key moment, usually near the end, where it looks like the hero or heroine is about to lose everything but takes the risk for the greater good (and it usually turns out for the good and gives an HEA ending)
- 1K1Hr: 1,000 words in 1 hour, this is a challenge we issue to each other to get that word-count written
- plotting: time we spend consciously thinking about where the story will go next, often accompanied by staring at the ceiling, walking in circles around our living room, long showers, household chairs and endless hours of MineSweeper.
- pantsing (aka into the mist): time where we just write the story as it comes to us, allowing the characters to lead us where they will, with very little pre-planning.