Your Guide to Decoding Writing Acronyms and Terminology
Writing acronyms and terminology
Your Guide to Decoding Writing Acronyms and Terminology

Have you ever been online and seen a writing post that you don’t understand? I have been there.

Despite having studied Creative Writing at university, I was slightly baffled by the writing acronyms and terminology used when joining the online world of writers. What on earth was a CP, anyway? So, if you have ever felt this way, too, here is a helpful guide to de-code that confusing language for you!

  • Active voice – Using the subject of a sentence to perform an action, “The monkey likes bananas” rather than “The bananas were liked by the monkey.”
  • Alpha reader – Someone who reads your draft as you are writing it. Alpha readers are often writers and can give you insight into fixing an issue.
  • Amplification – Adding to a sentence to build upon its meaning.
  • Analogy – “The mind is like a car engine.” – Drawing a comparison between two things that are not alike to help make a point.
  • Antagonist – The villain of your story.
  • Anti-hero: A flawed hero, such as Batman.
  • Beta reader – Someone who reads your novel once it has been through at least one draft. A beta reader aims to give you a reader’s perspective. They do not have to be a writer, as they are reading as your ‘target audience’.
  • Blurb – A short description of a book designed to engage a reader.
  • CP – Critique Partner
  • CW – Creative Writing
  • Character arc – Your character’s personal journey and how they develop.
  • Colloquialism – Slang, ordinary conversation. This can make dialogue seem more realistic.
  • Copy editing – Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and style.
  • Developmental editing – Editing for narrative, characterisation, plot, and more.
  • Dialogue tags – A verb post dialogue to show who has spoken, e.g.: ‘yelled Sally.’
  • Exposition – providing background information to help the reader understand what is happening.
  • External conflict – The issues facing a character externally, for example; A character losing their job.
  • First-person – I language. ‘I went to the shops.’
  • Foreshadowing – To write an indication of an event or moment.
  • Fourth person – One language. ‘One goes to the shops.’ (Not often used in narrative)
  • Grammatical person – First, second, third or fourth person narrative.
  • Head-hopping – moving from one character’s point of view to another within the same writing section.
  • Information dump: A lot of backstory or information given at one time. This can be jarring and might pull a reader out of a story.
  • Internal conflict – How a character is coping internally, within themselves.
  • MS: Manuscript, an unpublished piece of work.
  • NANOWRIMO – National Novel Writing Month, which takes place during November.
  • Narrative break – A break in the story to signal to the reader that there has been a passage of time.
  • OC – Original character.
  • POV – Point of view. The person from whose perspective you are telling a story.
  • Pantser –  Someone who doesn’t plot a novel but prefers to invent as they write.
  • Planster – Someone who both plans and creates on the spot when writing.
  • Plot hole – An issue with a plot that makes it seem unrealistic or creates an inconsistency.
  • Plotter – Someone who plans a story in advance.
  • Protagonist – Your main character.
  • Red herring – To give a false clue to your reader.
  • Second person – You language. ‘You went to the shops.’
  • Subplot – a storyline that moves alongside the main plot, often supporting it.
  • Synopsis – A summary of your story.
  • Third-person – He, she, they language. ‘They went to the shops.’
  • WIP – Work in progress.
  • Writing sprint – A timed session where one writes as much as possible.

Are there any writing acronyms and terminology I have missed out that you want to know about? Let me know, and I’ll add it!

Picture of Rachel Grosvenor

Rachel Grosvenor

I’m a writer, writing coach, and editor.

I know how hard it is to find the time to work on your passion project, and I know you want your novel to be the best it can be.

With a PhD, MA, and BA in Creative Writing, and as a Certified Professional Coach, I’m well poised to help you with whatever issue you are experiencing.

Let's get social

Grab your free writing resources!

Want to receive weekly writing prompts, and writing freebies created just for you? Sign up here

Newsletter Signup

Need an Editor?

If you have a specific issue that you’re struggling with in your writing life, or you want to be one of the writers who I have helped find the time to actually write – get in touch!

Recent Posts

Recent Posts