by Charlotte Firbank-King
When editors work they make reams of comments and, coupled with deletions and format changes, it makes a manuscript look like an unmade jigsaw puzzle that the writer is expected to wade through and make sense of. To compound this we add acronyms that confuse the heck out of even the most determined and dedicated writer.
I’ve made a list of the ones I like to use:
MS – Manuscript
This is what we call a story that has not yet been polished or published.
POV – Point of view
POV is the character whose head the writer is in at any given time, the one seeing or experiencing what is being described by the author.
HH – head-hop
This is when the writer switches POV without leading into it. An example is when X character sees a pink moon rising, then in the next sentence have Y character thinks X is nuts because it’s clearly a pink bunny in the sky.
RUE – resist the urge to explain
When the author has conveyed through actions or words that the character is angry, for example, and they tack on something like, “he said in a rage.”
ID – Information drop
Writers have a tendency to use internal dialogue or flashbacks as a way to inform the reader of why a character is the way they are or why they find themselves in a certain situation. I will write a separate blog on this subject.
RUL – Resist the urge to lecture
Writers don’t give readers the respect of assuming they have a brain and, therefore, feel the need to explain everything in detail. It comes over as a lecture and will likely render the reader bored to death. I will also write a blog on this.
ATS – avoid thumbnail sketches
When internal or external dialogue is used to give the reader details about a character, thing or situation. “I love his black hair and blue eyes and the dimple in his chin is to die for, but he’s so screwed up. His mother beat him daily with a powder puff from the day he was born in 1988 in a hole under Westminster Abbey.” It’s similar to ID. I will also do a blog on this.“graph or graf” – paragraph
This isn’t an acronym, but it’s commonly used slang that editors use for “paragraph.” It’s quicker and reduces some of the clutter in those sidebar comments.