The last time I blogged, I spilled the beans about the Weird Things Writers Say (and What They Really Mean). Today, in a follow-up piece to that post, I’m going to discuss the weird words and acronyms writers toss around as if normal people knew what they meant. My last post was a writer-civilian translation book, today’s post is a dictionary.
ARC – Advance reading copy. Sometimes publishers will print a separate early copy of a novel to distribute to buyers, reviewers, publications, and so on. Many long years ago, my publisher created just this kind of ARC for My Stubborn Heart.
To confuse matters, people can use the term ARC in reference to slightly different things. In addition to a completely separate version of a book (as seen above) the term ARC can also reference an early electronic version of a book, or a bound manuscript, or even the final book sent out to a select few for free prior to release.
Daily Word Count and/or Daily Page Count – Some writers actually like to set goals for themselves! Yes, indeed. It can become a little tricky to set concrete goals, however, concerning something that’s essentially a work of art. Imagine a painter saying to himself, ‘I’ll paint 2% of this masterpiece over the next 3 days.’ It seems more ideal for him to paint when he’s inspired and allow the painting to materialize at its own pace, doesn’t it? That’s a lovely way to write books, too. But once a writer has a deadline on her calendar, the ‘work when inspired’ plan can become a recipe for the ‘I’m not inspired today so I’m going to go shopping’ plan. And then, suddenly, the book is due in a month and the writer is sunk. Thus, to keep themselves accountable, many professional writers set goals. The WRITE A BOOK goal is easier to tackle when broken into bite-sized WRITE XYZ PAGES OR WORDS BY NEXT MONDAY type of goals. So that’s what a writer’s talking about when she says she met or is working toward her daily word or page count.
Galley – When a writer has completed revisions on a novel, her manuscript then goes through a round of edits within her publishing house. Then the novel is sent back to the author in galley form. At Bethany House, we receive two rounds of galleys.
K – Thousand. As in, “I ended up deleting 1K words from my book today, when I was supposed to have added 2K. Drat.”
MS – Manuscript.
Pantster – A writer who writes her books by the ‘seat of her pants’. She begins with a wisp of an idea. For example, ‘What if a woman inherits her long lost uncle’s boot making factory?’ Then she sits down, opens up a new document to Chapter 1 and thinks, ‘Hmm. What can happen now? I know! The hero can be a boot making specialist.’ Type type type. ‘What can happen now? I know! There can be a fire in the factory.’ Type type type. The pantster will write her entire novel this way.
Plotter – A writer who plots out her novel before beginning Chapter 1. She sits down and does all her, ‘What can happen now? I know!’ thinking about the heiress and the boot making specialist ahead of time. She may also do careful research at this point and use what she finds to influence the course the story will take. She creates files about each character. She determines how things will end. And then, clutching her very clear road map, she begins writing.
Plotter/Pantster Hybrid – A writer who likes to do some character work and research ahead of time and also likes to have a general idea of how things might unfold. But the hybrid prefers to leave room for spontaneity and enjoys figuring out the details as she goes. When she starts her novel, her ‘plot’ may consist of 4 general things that she can sort of, kind of envision happening in the story. For example, ‘Something dramatic happens and the boot making specialist confesses to the heiress that he was sent by someone to set fire to her factory for some reason. Big fight about… stuff… ensues.’
POV – Point of View. Most writers write their books through the eyes and the viewpoint of one character at a time. Entire books are sometimes written from just one character’s POV. Other books include multiple POVs.
Pub Board – Publishing Board. The group of people at a publishing house, usually a collection of representatives from the editorial, sales, and marketing branches of the company, who meet to decide if they’re going to offer a publishing contract to a writer.
TBR pile – To Be Read pile of books. Writers and readers alike usually have To Be Read piles. In a strange twist of fate, authors often have a harder time than most making their way through their TBR piles. This is due to two reasons: 1) We are frequently asked to judge contests or to read other authors’ work for endorsement. So our pile is bigger than it once was. 2) We read almost nothing as our deadlines approach. Often, this is because we’ve failed to meet those daily word count goals somewhere along the line. Or because the pantsters reach the end of their books and think, ‘This isn’t working at all! Why didn’t I plot this out?’ and the plotters think, ‘What I imagined as a great ending stinks to high heaven in actuality. So… uh oh.’
WIP – Work in Progress.