Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WRITER'S LANGUAGE- Deciphering the Code

I'm going to sub my PB MS with a WC of 450 to an OP

If you are a new writer wandering around the blogosphere of kidlit writers, some of the acronyms being spewed out may seem foreign to you.  I call it writer’s language.  

To help you get integrated into the "inner circle," I've compiled a translation guide.  Learning the terminology will help get you by so you won’t feel lost in a conversation.  The following is a list of common words used in the writing industry. 

MG:   middle grade novel (ages 8-12)
YA:    young adult (ages 12 & up)
MC:   main character
OP:    online publisher
WC:   word count
MS:    manuscript
MSS: manuscripts (plural)
PB:    picture book
WP or WIP: work in progress (thanks for the add, Erik!)
ARC: advance reader copies (looks very close to what the final version of a book will look like in final publication.  The term ARC can be used interchangeably with “galley” (an old-school publishing term)
Illo:    illustration notes
sub:   submit

How do you like my illo?  I drew it myself.  

Here are a few others you may want to know:
PiBoIdMo- Picture Book Idea Month, hosted by Tara Lazar.  During the month of November, participants write down a story idea a day for 30 days.

12x12- A challenge of writing 12 picture books in 12 months, hosted by Julie Hedlund.

NaPiBoWriWee- National picture book writing week, hosted by Paula Yoo.  A challenge in which writers write a picture book a day for seven days during the month of May.

RLGL- Red light, green light challenge by Cynthea Liu.  Challengers send in their first page of the manuscripts up to 125 words.  If you get a green light, you submit the next 125 and so on until you get a red light.  The winner is the person who ends up sending in their complete manuscript.

GUTGAA- Gearing up to get an agent challenge, hosted by Deanna Barnhart.  Writers send in their pitch to win an exclusive submission to an agent.

With this cheat sheet you, too, can sound like a "professional" writer.  Give it a try.

I'd better get going.  I want to polish my mss with 12x12.  Need to work on my MC.  Hoping to sub soon.

If you know of other words I may have missed, please share.  I'd love to add it to the list!


  1. LOVE this! I'm working on cutting the WC of my PB MS right now.

    1. Thanks, Laura. We'll be working on our MS together.

  2. Great idea for a post. Hey, I have a twitter abbreviation that I haven't figured out...RT? Any ideas? I don't tweet too often.
    Thanks, Romelle!

    1. Great post, Romelle. Sometimes it's TMI! And love your illo.

      Tina, Twitter has its own lingo. RT means "retweet," used when you repost someone else's tweet. You write: "RT @twitterfriend" and copy what they said. MT means "modified tweet." You use that if you change the tweet in anyway (to make it shorter, usually). If you get a link from someone but you aren't quoting them directly, you can give credit by saying "via @twitterfriend."

    2. I am glad Sylvia responded to you, Tina. She's very knowledgeable about these things. She is my go-to person for techie stuff and more....

  3. Nice! Could have used this when I first started out. Thanks for breaking the code for us!

    1. Me too. Someone on the 12x12 FB page asked what A PB was. Remembered thinking the same when I first started writing for children. So I decided to start this to help a fellow writer out.

  4. How about WP?
    *WP = work in progress

    This post is helpful! :)

    1. Ah yes! How could I forget that? Will add that in now!

  5. You speak my language. :) Cute illo btw.

  6. You speak my language. :) Cute illo btw.

  7. Great Romelle! What are elementary age books which aren't PBs called? I'm thinking Ivy + Bean, Clementine, Magic Fairies, etc. Are these Early Readers (ER) or is early reader where there are only 10 words per page? That's my current confusion.

    1. I need to add ER to my list. I'm not sure, so I will have to look that up, but I believe ER are books with reading levels listed on them.



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