You sit down to read an email from your favorite editor, open up the message, and realize it’s written in another language – or, at least, parts of it are. Acronyms and abbreviations fly off the screen, leaving you disappointed and befuddled. Have you done something wrong? What’s happening? How do you reply? The answers are simpler than you think. Here is a basic primer for the most important, and common, acronyms in the writer’s lexicon.
Discussing your work with mentors and reviewers unlocks new insights while honing your overall work. In order to get to the meat of your discussion, you have to get through the basics quickly. This means summarizing general details for your potential audience. Reviewers need to know if the draft you send them is a final mark-up or if you still plan on making major changes. Do you have questions about your main character, or their motivation? Can readers identify with your chosen point of view? The right acronyms help you express yourself clearly.
- WIP: “Work In Progress” – This acronym is for all of us who battle against endless revisions and drafts. When we send out copies of our work to editors and beta readers, we’re probably still working on a newer, updated draft. In these situations, your support team needs to understand your work is ongoing. That lets them know they may be critiquing an issue you’ve already fixed and that you still have the flexibility to make significant changes to your material.
- MC: “Main Character” – Stopping to type out “main character” every time you discuss this individual is time-consuming and repetitive. Chopping the phrase down to two letters lets you clearly identify your lead, even if they don’t have a proper name yet, and move on.
- POV: “Point Of View” – This represents one of the trickiest elements of prose writing. How do you tell the story? Do you use third person limited, where the narrator has access to a single character’s mind and impressions, or is the narrator omniscient? Maybe the MC tells the story from a first person POV. Depending on the chapter or scene, you may decide to have multiple POVs.
Where does your story fit? Picking the right genre is an important part of final edits, and it plays a huge role in getting your book published. Since many of today’s most popular genres are more often referred to by their acronyms than their proper names, it’s worth taking note.
- YA: “Young Adult” – This genre rocketed to popularity in the early 2000’s and has only grown in popularity since. Before the YA genre came on the scene, books fell into children’s literature or adult reading material. YA bridges the gap, providing slightly more adult stories for teenagers and preteens while engaging the targeted audience with similarly aged MCs and POVs.
- NA: “New Adult” – Like YA books, this genre targets an audience that did not have much designated literature. NA books cater to 18-25-year-olds in the same way YA novels address the interests of teenage audiences.
- SF: “Science Fiction/Speculative Fiction” – This acronym has two closely related meanings. While you probably already know what science fiction is, you may not understand the full scope of speculative fiction. Essentially anything with futuristic, fantastical, or supernatural elements falls under this genre. Think of it as a catch-all term for many other genres.
So, do you feel ready to brave that email? Armed with these efficient, professional terms, you can plough through more revision correspondence. These acronyms may not turn you into Hemmingway, but they can help you improve as a writer.