Writing Terms & Abbreviations

I use a lot of writing abbreviations, because they’re a lot faster than writing out whole phrases. I have abbreviations for a lot of my story titles, as well, because writing out a full title takes too long. Take, for instance, my recent short story Sea Glass & Pressed Flowers. That’s a mouthful, right? (Or fingerful?) So I shorten it to SG&PF. It’s not very pretty, but it gets the job done. But what do common writing terms and abbreviations mean? I hadn’t even heard of the majority of these shortened terms until I joined the NaNoWriMo forums, and I’m not entirely sure how I learned them, whether it was from context or whether I looked them up on Google. But let’s make things easier for you than it was for me, if you’re new to these abbreviations, with a glossary of writing terms.


NaNoWriMo – This is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is an event that takes place in November. The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in a month (1,667 words a day).

WIP – Work-in-progress

MC – Main character

OP – Over-powered. This means your character is too perfect or has too much power and is becoming a Mary Sue (described below). This is especially common with super-powered characters, if their powers are disproportionate to the cost of using them.

RP – Roleplay. Generally this is where a few authors (or even just one) throw their characters into a situation together and see how they would react.

OTP – One true pairing. This means you see two characters as a perfect pair.

WW – Word war. This is where two or more authors agree on a length of time and a time to start, then write as fast as they can to see who writes more in that time frame. Because of time zones, start times are usually proposed with the minute only. For example, 15 minutes @ :15 would mean you write for fifteen minutes at quarter past whatever hour it is in your time zone.

AU – Alternate universe. This is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an alternate universe (or timeline) featuring the same characters as a book or movie. It’s sort of like a fanfiction where you displace the characters into some other timeline or universe and see what happens.

Other Writing Terms

Mary Sue – A character who is too perfect. Sometimes changed to Gary Sue for a male character.

Ship – Like an OTP, two characters you would like to see become a couple.

Canon – This is a fact that is proven in the book or movie (sometimes series) it’s affiliated with. (As opposed to a theory developed by fans, without concrete in-universe evidence.)

If there are any terms or abbreviations I’ve left out and you’d like to know the meanings of, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. I hope this was helpful! Have a great day. :)

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