Acronym Soup

It always blew my mind when my husband would come home and say something like…

“After retiring from the USMC four years ago, I went to work for the DoD as a PM with a PMP cert and have managed elements of the MTVR, HMMWV, MRAP and MATV programs, all ranging from ACAT III up to ACAT ID according to the DoD 5000 and DAWIA standards.  We work to counter IEDs, EFPs, RKG-3s with BFTs, Armor, RWS as well as the TAK-4 suspension from OTC and have expended billions in IR&D, PMC and O&M funding over the past 9 FYDB.”

Anyone understand what I just said? I didn’t either for the longest time. I had to learn to speak acronym.

Many people use acronyms, and some of them are so imbedded in our everyday lives that we don’t even realize we are using them. Things like TV, PJs, NASA, NATO, OMG, BFF, TLC, LOL, AOL, UPS, TGIF, LASER, RPG, USMC, USA… Sorry for the examples, I live with two teenage girls and a retired Marine…Yep, enough said.

Translation without the acronyms: “After retiring from the United States Marine Corps four years ago, I went to work for the Department of Defense as a Program Manager with a Project Management Professional certification and have managed elements of the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected-All Terrain Vehicle programs, all ranging from Acquisition Category 3 up to Acquisition Category 1D according to the Department of Defense 5000 Order and Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act standards.  Countering Improvised Explosive Devices, Explosively Formed Projectiles, Ruchnaya Kumulyativnaya Granata–3s with Blue Force Trackers, Armor, Remote Weapon Stations as well as the TAK-4 suspension from Oshkosh Truck Company and have expended billions in Industry Research and Development, Procurement Marine Corps and Operating and Maintenance funding over the past 9 Fiscal Year Defense Budgets.”

This may still sound like a garbled message from beyond and be just as alien if you do not work in military circles, but we do the same thing in the writing industry.

My CP thinks the heroine in my WIP will never get her HEA, or even a HFN, because she’s TSTL.

Translation: My critique partner thinks the heroine in my work in progress will never get her happily ever after, or even a happy for now, because she’s too stupid to live.

We romance writers tend to speak our own language, and that can be particularly challenging for someone new to writing. If you don’t understand what a critique partner or an agent or an editor is trying to tell you, then it is impossible to improve your writing.

I am going to leave you with a few commonly used writing acronyms and I invite you to add any that I may have overlooked.

CP (Critique Partner)—This is someone who gives you feedback on your writing, hopefully, in a constructive way. Usually this arrangement works as an exchange where you are expected to critique the other person’s writing as well. Some writers have one critique partner while others are part of a group.

GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict)—This tells you what your main characters’ goals are, their motivation for achieving these goals, and the conflict that is preventing them from achieving these goals.

POV (Point of View)—This is who is talking in the scene. You usually want to decide who is narrating the scene based on who has the most to lose, or what you might be trying to hold back from the reader or other characters in the scene.

WIP (Work in Progress)—The story you are currently working on.

MS (Manuscript)—This is a complete story you have already written.

HEA (Happily Ever After)—This is your happy ending where your hero/heroine are in love and all of the major conflicts have been resolved.

HFN (Happy for Now)—If you are not wrapping things up with the couple getting married or making a life-long kind of commitment, you at least want to make it clear they are happy and together for the long term.

TSTL (Too Stupid To Live)—This is a character that makes so many stupid decisions that the reader wants the character to die, or at least have consequences for their actions.