Blame texting, Twitter, or just plain human inertia…okay, laziness, but there are so many acronyms around that it’s easy to drown in a sea of them. This blog may help you navigate your way around the ones most commonly used in writing circles.
Starting with the basics: ACRONYM – noun – word formed from the initial letters of other words eg Laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Not all acronyms are recent. When I was president of the Society of Women Writers (SWW) a member queried the meaning of SAE in contest conditions saying, “I know SA stands for South Australia but what is the E for?” We had to explain that SAE stands for Self Addressed Envelope which entrants were asked to include if they wanted their entry returned. A variation is SSAE – stamped, self-addressed envelope. SAEs can still be requested in contest conditions where entries can’t be emailed.
Other writing and romance perennials:
H/h shorthand for Hero and heroine. Variants include M/M – male/male gay fiction, F/F – female/female, M/M/M or F/F/F or variants, menage (multiple) partner stories. BDSM stories have bondage, discipline and sado-masochism elements.
HEA stands for Happy (or Happily) Ever After, the ending readers look forward to your H/h enjoying after all their trials.
POV – point of view or viewpoint, the character through whose eyes we see/experience the story. The heroine’s POV was once used exclusively but now we like to get inside the hero’s head as well. Using too many POVs leads to “head hopping” a writing sin where the reader loses track of who’s POV we’re in.
TSTL – one of my favourites, standing for Too Stupid To Live. The heroine who goes alone into the cellar of a haunted house at dead of night when the power is out is TSTL. Or a heroine who packs up and leaves after seeing the hero kissing another woman, concluding that he’s unfaithful when a simple question would reveal that she’s the H’s sister. TSTL characters turn up in “wall banger” books, so-called because the reader hurls the book at the wall in frustration.
DNF – a book the reader did not finish. See above for possible reasons.
WIP and MS or MSS – Work in Progress, also Manuscript. If the writing is going badly, the writer may call the book “drek”. Hopefully, the editor and readers won’t.
YA – books written for the Young Adult market, eg Harry Potter or the Twilight series.
F & SF – fantasy and science fiction. SF is science fiction, sci-fi being used mostly by detractors. SFR is science fiction romance.
ARC – where writers want to be, handing out Advance Reading Copies for review and comment.
TBR – writers and readers alike complain of a teetering To Be Read pile or file, in the case of downloaded ebooks.
Have you been puzzled by an acronym lately, or found one that made you LOL (laugh out loud)? Share it with us here.
TY (thank you)