Friday, September 29, 2017

Commonly Used Acronyms In the Creative Writing World

Every profession has some type of lingo. Creative writers? We like to use acronyms.

A lot.

Possibly because we're so burnt out on words that we like to take short cuts wherever we can.

It can get a little bit disorienting because a lot of our acronyms mean different things to non-writers. So if you're new to the writing world (or maybe you've been here a while and still don't know what on earth HEA means), then here's a quick guide.
Commonly Used Acronyms In the Creative Writing World
WIP: Work-in-progress. Yep. That's what writers call their current writing project.
  • Used in a sentence: "Yeah, my WIP is a total disaster and I hate it and want to light it on fire, but I can't because I also really love it." 
MC: Main Character. Not the person connected to parties and rap. That's the muggle MC. The writer MC is our beloved main character. 
  • Used in a sentence: "The MC is actually pretty cool, but I can't decide on her age. name, or eye-color so I just keep changing it as I write and now she's some type of weird shape-shifting, alias-using Dunedain." 
MS: Manuscript. No, not a terrible disease (though sometime it feels like this). Also, if you think this MS is the same as a WIP, you'd be wrong. An MS is usually a completed or decently clean draft. Or the term used on twitter when WIP is one character too long. 
  • Used in a sentence: "I'm going to send my MS off to my editor, then anxiously eat chocolate in a corner while I wait to hear back." 
CP: Critique Partner. This is the fellow writer who has decided to hand over their book to you while you hand over yours to them. You each critique the other's story. 
  • Used in a sentence: "My CP is really, really cool, but if she says something mean about my favorite character I may go off the rails." 
R&R: Revise and Resubmit. For when an agent really, really likes your story, but feels it needs some cleaning up. He/she will ask that you fix it, then send it on over again. 
  • Used in a sentence: "So-and-so requested an R&R, which means my story is actually worth something, which means I'm not a failure of a writer, which means I deserve more coffee right now."
ARC: Advanced Reader's Copy. Writers hope that they can find book reviewers who want an ARC of their story. They're usually sent out to special fans or influential reviewers (or both) as a way of hyping their release.
  • Used in a sentence: "I'm sending my ARCs out as soon as I stop hugging this glorious box full of copies of my beloved story." 
POV: Point of View. Whose eyes are you telling your story from? That's the POV. 
How to do self-promotion, everybody. Take notes. 

HEA: Happily Ever After. This can be used to refer to the style of the story or the actual ending, but it usually refers to both. 
  • Used in a sentence: "My story is no HEA, so if you're wanting something like that then you'll need to go watch the Disney channel." 
LI/RI: Love Interest/Romantic Interest. As far as I'm aware, these acronyms are interchangeable. I'm also pretty sure these terms are self explanatory.
  • Used in a sentence: "I can't come up with any clever examples for using LI in a sentence because I don't write even vaguely romantic stories, so this is going to have to do." 
There are many others, but these are the ones that I often find myself coming into contact with. And these aren't even listing the acronyms used by indie authors, publishing/published authors, and book reviewers. Yep. There's a whole different set for each of them.

Did I miss any main ones? Let me know! And don't forget to leave some comments with your favorite acronyms.

Have writing or reading questions? Use the hashtag #ChatWithHannah in the comment section below or on social media to have them answered on my Youtube channel!

Related articles:
10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Writer Until It's Too Late
The 5-Star Rating System: What Book Reviewers Mean VS How Indie Authors Take It
14 Signs That You Are Turning Into a Writer

Enjoy this post? Take a look around. If you like what you see, please don't forget to subscribe by email for a new post every week!


  1. I'm going to be honest, I've never come across R&R and HEA until now. Perhaps because I've never had an agent? Who knows. Great list, Hannah! I should point my non-writer friends to this list when they get confused.

  2. This reminds me of a post I made on my own blog earlier this month (, but you covered several I'd never heard of before. *makes mental notes of them* Cool post!

  3. I've never heard of some of these! Shortcuts are wonderful. I must add these to my vocabulary. Great post, Hannah!

  4. I hope the MC and the LI of my WIP are my CP's OTP.

    Am I a writer now? ;v;

  5. Made me literally LOL several times. Especially with regards to self promotion and LI/RI. Speaking of that last one, I learned something new! Hadn't seen those two before. The first time I saw HEA and I was VERY confused...awkward day. :P

  6. Love this! Definitely cleared up a few terms I had previously had no idea about. :)

  7. I didn't know about a lot of these! Thanks for this post!

  8. As you say, these acronyms can mean something else in specialized writing settings. In the fan fiction world, R&R means Read & Review (as in begging people to read their story and say what they think of it). I'm not sure how well it works, though, in achieving its purpose...

  9. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.


  10. Thanks, Hannah! I ran across this on Twitter, and I plan to retweet.


Google Analytics Alternative