Thursday, March 10, 2011

Terms, What terms???

I thought I’d have a little fun today ***gasps*** with terms every writer should be familiar with. Hey, it’s my blog. I’m entitled to some fun. There’s also some good info here if you read closely. Here’s my list of terms you'd better know before you hit the ‘send’ button releasing your MS to that agent:

Protagonist – The lead drama queen or mysterious dude in your story. The lead character.

Manuscript (Ms) – that thing you’ve toiled over for the past year or ten. No further explanation necessary.

Plot – If you don’t know this, you shouldn’t be writing. But just in case, it’s what happens in the story. It’s the story.

Character Driven Stories – Stories in which your main character takes over everything. The story develops around the main character and how they feel, or act, or look or don’t feel or don’t look.  

Dialogue – Stop the babbling people, please. What your characters say to one another. Only to advance the story. Only.

Agent - the person born with the singular objective of torturing you. Also the literary representative for your fiction/nonfiction writing.

Point of View (POV) – The characters head you’re stuck in for a year or ten. The characters prospective the story is told from.

·       First Person – yeah, only I have the spotlight

·       Second Person – who cares, nobody uses this right? Just in case, it’s told from the POV of “you” – like academic material.

·       Third Person – your head hopping in first person POV here.

o      Omniscient – the know-it-all POV. Feelings, so many feelings… Everything is seen and known by the reader.
o      Limited – Hey, you. No, not you. Her. Yes, her. From one-person’s perspective…he, she, they, are utilized.
o      Objective – oh, God, I can’t feel anything. The reader gets action and dialogue, only.

Genre – a particular style, content type and form of literature
·       Mystery – Who killed Mrs. Shoemaker with the knife in the Library? Was it Colonel Mustard? If so, why?
·       Thriller/Suspense – Can our hero stop the bomb from blowing up that school bus filled with kids that’s on the train track with a train barreling towards them…?
·       Science Fiction – I went to the future yesterday and met my agent and she told me that my book will bring about world peace and I’ll be elected the first President of the World because of it.
·       Romance – I love Billy but he loves my best friend, Sue. Sue dies in a horrible accident but now I’ve married Bob. Then Bob dies in a skiing accident and Billy and I reunite for our 20th School reunion and we fall in love and live happily ever after.
·       Horror – Blood streaked his face as he inched closer to me. I tried to scream but only a garbled incoherent sound escaped my lips…
·       Fantasy – Last night while I slept, a set of dwarves entered my house. They cleaned everything from top to bottom then they left a neat note, thanking me for the opportunity to clean my home.
·       Literary Fiction – Mrs. Shoemaker is dead. How will Mr. Shoemaker cope with life without her? What will he do?

Submission requirements – those snarky rules every agent wields over writers like an iron fists. For heavens sake adhere to them.

First Draft – the first complete copy of that garbled mess that filled your head for a year or ten.

Edit – take that first draft you slaved over for one to ten years and kill it.  Polishing the ms for publication.

Slush Pile – Where my manuscript currently is. It’s the stack of queries an agent is currently dredging…I mean reading, from eager authors.


  1. Good list. I also enjoyed your humor!

  2. LOL! Will adopt this as my official "definition of terms" document ;-)

  3. Thanks Kelly and Samantha. I joke about it here but when I first started writing seriously I didn't know all these terms. And even if you do know them it's always good to get a refresher.

  4. Dawn, great list and can you give/site examples of the POV from some texts or readings? I find 3rd person omniscient the most interesting and I love reading it. Thank you!!!

  5. Hey, Adrian. Glad you could stop by. Examples of third person omniscient POV is, Anna Karenina by Tolstoy and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

  6. Great post. Laughed out loud at the elves part. I want some of those!

  7. Thanks, Jennifer. I'm looking around my house now wishing they had come for real. LOL

  8. Lol, great list! I particularly enjoyed the definition of manuscript!

    Also, I've got an award for you on my blog today: I received the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award and I'm passing it on to you!

  9. Thanks, Brenda. I absolutely, positively love awards. LOL

  10. Good luck with your blog reformat. The terms you list are pretty spot-on.

  11. Thanks Catherine. It's going good thus far.

  12. Great sense of humor. And, a awesome name, I might add.

  13. Thanks, great minds (and like names) think alike.

  14. Love your list! "A year or ten", LOL. :)

  15. Thanks, Janel. From one to ten - actually beyond. Of course, I'm picking fun.

  16. Dawn I have just given you a "bloggy" feel free to visit my site and pick it up! Great work!

  17. Loved the humor,and managed to learn one or two things. Sometimes you know something from one angle, but it looks totally different from another. Thanks.

  18. Thanks Christina. Another perspective on something we already know is great right!


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