10 Important Terms for New Writers to Know!

When I first joined the writing world, it was scary. When I embarked upon the ONLINE writing world, things just got infinitely worse. There’s a lot you have to know, the least of which being this weirdo writers’ language that all the kids seem to be speaking. And the thing is, there aren’t a lot of ways to learn what these words, phrases and acronyms mean.

If you’re feeling like you’re unsure about writing terms, turns of phrase, new-aged slang or popular hashtags, look no further—Trench Coats & Quotes has your back!

1. CP

This is an acronym, if you were wondering. You were, I’m sure. Example, “Trench Coats & Quotes is run by rag-tag writing CP duo, Diana and Candice.”

CP = Critique Partner

These are invaluable writing partners you can bond with, not only on a creative level, but on a soul level. CPs are meant, on the most basic level, to critique your writing work (and to share pics of your dream cast of characters). Not sure how to find your own CP? Diana and I found one another on Absolute Write. Browse the forum there, be active within the community, and get to know someone. Megan Grimit (@megangrimit) also runs a great CP match every so often. Check out either site to find out more.

2. Beta Reader

Beta readers are separate from CPs for a few reasons. Betas don’t *have to be* writers. It’s not mandatory that a beta read and critique your work quid pro quo. There’s no writer deity twisting your arm to give as good as you’re getting. A beta reader will read your work and often critique it based on questions you’ve asked them to consider, or based on their own feelings and opinions about the work.

My own personal betas were found via Twitter. As were some of Diana’s. Twitter’s a great place to find beta readers, so give it a go if your manuscript is ready for fresh eyes that aren’t yours, a CP’s or an agent/editor/publisher’s.

3. Sprint

No, no. Noooo, chill. There’s no actual running involved. A *writing sprint* is, essentially, what it sounds like. They typically come in small blocks of time–the most common being 30 minute increments each round. Sometimes writers sprint with other writers, and each sprint ends with each of those sprinters checking in with word counts for that round and/or a line from their produced writing. Confused yet? Don’t be. Sprints can last hours and have a tendency to be run in marathons by @FriNightWrites on twitter, especially during November’s NaNoWriMo.

4. Scrivener

Scrivener is a writing program similar to that of Microsoft Word, however, it’s catered SPECIFICALLY to a writer’s needs. No matter what kind of writer you are (novelist, screenwriter, etc). You might call it the writer’s wet dream. While it can be slightly intimidating at first, after watching the program’s tutorial, you’ll be off in Scriv-land in no time. You can download Scrivener here.

5. TBR

This is an acronym–there are a lot those in the writing world. We’re writers, so naturally we think everything can be simplified if it can be acronymed. So, TBR? To. Be. Read. It refers to books you intend to read at some point. This is a term that originated somewhere around the Goodreads community. We think it’s an important one because in order to write well, you have to read well and you have to read often.

6. LI;)

OH LOOK ANOTHER ACRONYM. Stands for Love. Interest. This is big for the romance writers—*nudge nudge, both Diana and I do the romance.

We really reallyyyy like this acronym.

7. The Big 5

These are the top 5 publishing houses. The major contenders. The Titans. The Kimye’s of the publishing world (sorry to all the Kim and Kanye haters out there).

  • Hachette
  • Penguin/Random House (THEY MERGED!)
  • Simon & Schuster
  • HarperCollins
  • Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group/Macmillan

8. Genre/Category

We’ve combined this one because the distinction is often confused. CATEGORY usually conveys very little about the book’s content. Examples of category are (brace yourself for lots of acronyms)–MG (Middle Grade), YA (Young Adult), NA (New Adult), and Adult.

GENRE will tell you more about what type of CATEGORY you’re reading. Examples of GENRE are sci-fi, fantasy, romance, memoir, biography, historical, etc. Because this is a basic post we won’t go (too deep [twss]) into sub-genres, like how you can have an NA category of romance that has a sub-genre of contemporary fiction. Yeah, sorry.

9. Query

A query or query letter is the thing that may or may not get agents and editors to request and read your manuscript. The ultimate result of a query is to get your book represented for publishing. You might also consider querying publishers. Some don’t require you to be agented before they’ll publish you. There are specific things that MUST be included in your query letter and a lot of people debate what those things are. We’ll leave that up to them. This is, after all, still a BASIC intro post.

10. BEA

Did you miss the acronym thing? Us, too. BEA is BookExpo America. It’s a writer’s conference held every year in New York and tends to draw crowds by the hundreds. It’s a great place to meet and make writing connections, learn a thing or 5, and meet up with writerly friends–*hintnudgecough* Candice will actually be at RWA (the Romance Writers of America conference) next year.

Well, there’s your top 10 superly important TERMS TO KNOW. Next time we’ll cop a nice feel on the important hashtags to know. #AmWriting, #NaNoWriMo, #AmReading, #MondayBlogs, and more! So for sure get your cute self back here for that.

xo, Cam

Ps: CALL TO ACTION! With the launch of Trench Coats & Quotes, Diana and I are looking for not only authors to interview, but also graphic designers, cover artists, photographers, agents, editors, and more!

Wanna be featured? Email us at trenchcoatsquotes@gmail.com or contact Diana (@DianaLong87) or myself (@CandiceAmanda) on twitter!

Ta-taaa until next time, from these two girls under the trenches!

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3 thoughts on “10 Important Terms for New Writers to Know!

  1. “Penguin/Random House” <– And with their powers combined, they become CAPTAIN PUBLISHER!

    That Frozen/Incredibles image depicting the difference between talking to your writer friends and talking to your non-writer friends is 100% accurate.

    You forgot to mention how TBR lists grow a million times faster than you can read.



  2. Pingback: 10 Sites for Writers | Trench Coats & Quotes

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