Some Basic Writer’s Lingo

Something that really bugs me (If you haven’t caught on by now, there are a lot of things that irritate me) is when people use jargon while trying to explain things. (Jargon being special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.) So to avoid doing the very thing I hate,  I’m going to go through all the writing terminology and phrases that I use.

Protagonist

The protagonist is the leading character of your story. They can be a hero, villain, or a little in between; though usually they are the hero of the story.

Antagonist

The antagonist is someone who actively opposes the protagonist. Once again, the can be good or bad, depending on whose POV you’re writing from, but they’re usually the villain.

Minitagonist

The minitagonist is a term of my own invention. (I think. I may have read it on Tumblr but I think I made it up.) They are also a character who opposes the protagonist, but they aren’t the main opposing force. They’re like Draco in Harry Potter or the orcs in Lord of the Rings.

MC

MC stands for Main Character. They’re the same as your protagonist, but this is the term I use most of time.

POV

POV stands for Point Of View. This is the narrator’s position in relation to the story being told. Your narrator can just be you protagonist, or it can sound more like someone is telling the story. I’ll get more into this in a later post.

Killing Your Darlings

This is a phrase I learned from mom who learned it from her English professor in college. It actually used quite often in the writing world, and I’m not sure how I didn’t hear it before she told me. It refers to getting rid of a part of your story that you really like but isn’t necessary or helpful to the overall story. This can be a scene, character, subplot, bit of dialogue, anything that is your ‘darling’. It’s your job to annihilate it, and sometimes it really hurts.

Plot Bunnies

Plot bunnies are when your plot rambles off along a random path that leads nowhere. Basically, if you get distracted from the main goal of your story when plotting or writing, you end up with plot bunnies. And bunnies breed fast, so get back on track as fast as you can.

Climax

This is the peak of your story,  the do-or-die moment, the choice that could possibly ruin your character’s life or fix everything. It comes near the end of your book, right before the resolution.

First Draft or Rough Draft

This is the ‘just get the words on the page’ draft of your story. The one you don’t really want to show to other people because sometimes it seems like you were high when you wrote it. You can be as sloppy as you need to be. For those of you who know art, your Rough Draft is like the very first sketch you do for a project before you go and start cleaning up edges and details.

Plot Edit

The plot edit is when you read through your plot and make sure that you have the right pacing and no plot holes. This is a VERY important step and shouldn’t ever be skipped.

First Edit

In the first edit, you’re only looking for plot holes. That’s it. NO PINHEAD EDITING. You’ll get bogged down and never finish editing. You’ll just cry. Trust me, I know from experience.

Final Edit

This is when you get into the nitty-gritty, pinhead, sweating-blood editing. Here you’re allowed to restructure sentences, fix spelling and grammar.

Theme

Your theme is the overarching concept or ideal that you communicate through your story. Common ones are friendship, family, forgiveness….I can’t think of another ‘F’, coming of age, rediscovering love or joy, etc. I’ll talk about this in much more depth later, because it’s a pretty important part of your story.

I think I’ve covered the basic stuff, but if there’s something I keep referring to in my posts that makes you go what on earth is she talking about? Please contact me and I’ll update this post with an explanation.