25 Helpful Writerly and Twitter Terms

Photo credit: real00 on Flickr
When you think about it, we writers have our own language. We have abbreviations and terms that make non-writers stare like you’re speaking Tagalog. Words that can sound intimidating to new writers jumping into the writing world. Words that writers throw around in everyday conversation, completely forgetting that not everyone will understand.

I’ll admit I do it, too. And so I thought I’d put together a quick list of help writerly and Twitter terms. So without further ado, a quick introduction to the language of writers...


  • MS: Manuscript. To quote from dictionary.com, "the original text of an author's work, handwritten or now usually typed, that is submitted to a publisher." 
  • WIP: Work-In-Progress. Usually referring to an unfinished manuscript, or a non-final-draft manuscript. Technically a manuscript can be a WIP until the final, published draft. 
  • CP: Critique partner. Very special people that every writer needs
  • SASE: Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope. Only necessary in mailed queries. With the rise of e-mail queries, this isn’t as common as it used to be. 
  • ARC: Advanced Reader Copy. Copies of a soon-to-be-published novel sent to book reviewers, etc. shortly before the publication of said novel. This is not the very final draft, but it’s close. It’s also how writers get those lovely blurbs before the book is officially published. 
  • MC: Main Character. 
  • NA: New Adult. A relatively new term for book centering around protagonists aged around 18-26. See books like Losing It by Cora Carmack and this post by NA author Christina Lee who explains it much better than I can at the moment. 
  • YA: Young Adult. Term for novels centering around protagonists aged about 15-18 (with wiggle room, of course). 
  • MG: Middle Grade. Term for novels centering around middle-school and slightly younger-aged protagonists. 
  • PB: Picture Book. Children’s book with pictures...self-explanatory, I hope. 
  • TBR pile/list: To-Be-Read pile/list. Basically a list of books that you want to read; AKA the list that never ends. 
  • R&R: Revise and Resubmit. A request from a publishing professional to make suggested edits and resubmit the manuscript. Usually R&Rs are sent if the agent/editor is very interested in the novel, but believes it needs significant revisions before it’s ready to be taken on. 


  • edit letter: The letter of doom. Ok, not really. Edit letters are letters from editors that detail fixes/rewrites/adjustments that a manuscript needs before publication. Length may vary. 
  • query letter: A letter sent to agents and editors with the purpose of (hopefully) enticing said publishing professional to request the full manuscript. 
  • pitch: Not to be confused with synopsis, a pitch is a brief summary of a novel meant to intrigue and entice readers to open up the book. This should not give away the ending of the book. Think back-cover copy (the blurb usually found on the back of a book). 
  • synopsis: A horrific torture device (well, it could be). A synopsis is a summary of the entire book. It includes all of the main characters, major plot points and the ending. 
  • full: A request from a publishing professional to see a writer’s full manuscript. 
  • partial: A request from a publishing professional to see the first section of a writer’s manuscript. This can vary from a few chapters to half the book, but is often around fifty pages. 


  • RT: Re-tweet. A tweet shared word-for-word from another Twitter user. 
  • MT: Modified Tweet. A tweet shared from another Twitter user with minor adjustments (usually to make it fit in 144 characters with attribution). 
  • DM: Direct Message. A private message only viewable between the sender of the message and the recipient. 
  • @-reply: Replying to or commenting on a tweet while using the @ symbol to direct the tweet to a specific user. Tweets starting with @[username] can only be seen by the mentioned user and those who follow both the sender and the recipient. 
  • hashtag (#): A phrase or abbreviation marked with #. These are used for two purposes: to add commentary to a tweet like this:
    And to tag a tweet to a specific thread. Hashtags are often used to mark a Twitter forum of sorts—all tweets tagged with a hashtag will appear in a thread together. 
  • Twitter handle: Twitter username. All Twitter usernames start with an @ symbol. For example, mine is @Ava_Jae
  • Auto-follow back: Following a user immediately and only because they followed you first. I don’t do this for reasons

This isn’t a comprehensive list (because that would be way too long), but what terms would you add to the list? Can you think of any that you are unsure of or find confusing?


Annette T Dodd said...

Thanks for this, Ava - a great help to a Twitter newbie, lol!

Ava Jae said...

Sure thing, Annette! Happy it helps! :)

Melissa Breau said...

Definitely didn't know what MT stood for and I generally consider myself pretty onboard with this stuff.

Ava Jae said...

I had to look that one up when I saw people using it. Now it all makes sense...

Grace Robinson said...

I shall be tweeting this. :)

Ava Jae said...

Thank you, Grace! Much appreciated! :)

Jeremy Feijten said...

I was quite proud to learn that I knew nearly all of the abbreviations and terms :-) Handy list nevertheless!

Ava Jae said...

Thanks! ^_^

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