What the heck is everyone talking about?! This was definitely my first thought when I joined Moms Who Write and other writing groups as a newbie author. Almost every post for the first few months, I would come across a writing acronym I had to Google. If someone asked me a question using an acronym, I’d freeze. How the heck am I supposed to admit I have no idea what they are asking?
Thankfully, after a year of being involved in online writing groups, I’ve come to realize I’m not the only new writer who is confused. While writing acronyms have become extremely useful in my craft today, it takes some time to learn the lingo. And even when you think you got it, there are new slang words and phrases popping up in the writing community every day.
General writing acronyms
In the MWW group (MWW: Moms Who Write!) we use a slew of different acronyms to communicate with each other about our books, plots, and writing goals. These are the most popular ones you’ve probably already seen thrown around in the group that can be applied to all genres:
MC: Main Character
MMC: Male Main Character
FMC: Female Main Character
POV: Point of View
RD: Rough Draft
WIP: Work in Progress
Nano/NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month (November)
Alpha reader: First type of reader to read your manuscript. Looks for plot holes, disjointed themes, and characters, and views the story from a writer-reader standpoint.
Beta reader: Second type of reader to read your manuscript. Gives an overall impression of the book shortly before publication from a general reader’s standpoint.
ARC: Advance Reader Copy. A copy of a book is given before release in the hopes of acquiring reviews and buzz.
DNF: Did not finish. Relates to a book that you put down because you disliked/got bored/etc.
Sprint: A small segment of writing time where you get as many words in as you can.
Writing circle: A group of 4-5 people who read each other’s work and encourage each other through the process.
Pantser: A writer who dives in and writes by the seat of their pants (no outline needed Mom!)
Plotter: The writer who writes their outlines first and mostly sticks to the outline.
Planster: The writer who makes an outline only to have their characters misbehave. Also applies to writers who write simple outlines and flush them out as they go.
Genre specific writing acronyms
Sometimes, writing acronyms are specific to the genre that you write in. While you may not use all of these to describe your own work, it’s helpful to know the terms in case you find yourself a Beta or Alpha reader of a fellow writer’s piece. Plus, if you want to switch gears in the future, you’ll already know what everyone is talking about.
MG: Middle Grade
YA: Young adult
NA: New Adult
Spicy Romance: A romance book with intense sex scenes and lots of descriptions.
Sweet or Clean Romance: A romance book that generally emphasizes intimacy over physical love (little to no sex).
Slow burn: A plot where relationships and conflicts take a while to build up.
MM: Male/Male lgbt+ relationship
FF: Female/Female lgbt+ relationship
Reverse Harem: plot with one female protagonist and three male love interests
Avoiding social media violations
Writers write about killing, and crime, and sex, and all other sorts of taboo topics. Social media platforms are getting stricter by the day, and sometimes, describing the plot of your book can get you flagged. Here are a few tricks to use to avoid their wrath:
Kill or murder : Unalive, extinguished,
Disgusting or repulsive: not so tasteful, disagreeable, turning one’s stomach, not my cup of anything.
Crazy: a few fries short, a banana short of a bunch, fours cents short of a nickel, knitting with one needle, a coffee bean short of latte, a few eggs short of a dozen, bonkers.
Erotic: Spicy, steamy, extremely flirtatious, sheet ripping, hardcore cuddling.
This area is tough. Words and phrases that can get you banned on Facebook are changing constantly. And, sorry writers– Facebook will not be able to tell whether you’re talking about fictional characters or not! When in doubt, reach out to the community in a broad way to seek more detailed advice on plot points and themes in private messages.
Let us know how we did…
Have some more acronyms you use in your writing groups or genre? Comment below or on our Facebook page to spread the word!