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Translation Please! Speaking Writerese

Spanish dictionary pages up into the air

Image by Horia Varlan via Flickr

A friend recently confessed to writing a book and needing some help learning what he must do to get it published.

“You’ll need to write a synopsis and a query and if you want to go the traditional route, you’ll need to start researching agents,” I said.

He looked at me for a moment and replied, “Well, I know a synopsis is a summary, right? But what is a query?”

In my haste to be helpful I lapsed into Writerese.

Like any industry, writing has it’s own jargon and catchphrases. Writers just starting out can easily get lost in the language of publication. The exchange with my friend reminded me it might be a good idea to provide a breakdown of writing terminology for those in need of translation. I found these two sites to be helpful.

Over at the Fiction Forum, they have a Glossary of Writer’s Terms aimed at the writers of fiction.

For those in the nonfiction crowd, Writing World has A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Terminology.

If you’re new to the world of publishing, check them out for a handy translation. I learned a couple of new terms myself.

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