The Great CC Glossary

Welcome to the Great CC Glossary!
This project is a work in progress. Please help us make the glossary better by chiming in on the Glossary thread.

Here are a few things you need to know about this glossary.

Entries are put in 4 categories:

1. Writing terms

2. Crit slang

3. Publishing business

4. Helpful links

This is to help authors see what are accepted writing methods and what are criticisms. It also helps to clarify what readers want versus what an editor wants.

You can type a word into the white search box just below, and it will automatically find that word in the glossary. Or, you can scroll through the list in alphabetical order.

If you're looking for a term that doesn't seem to show up, stop by the glossary discussion thread. If we don't have the word listed, you can request that we add it.

We strive to make all definitions as clear and understandable as possible. While we can give you a good idea of what a term means, we can't always go into great detail. Many of the more complicated subjects have helpful links for further research.

The helpful links section also has assistance on learning the different genres. Since literary genres are fluid and constantly evolving, it's very difficult for a glossary to define them.

Lastly, it's important to note that these terms are not unique to CC. They are common slang throughout the publishing world.

Happy writing!

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  • Crit slang
  • Crit slang

     Head hopping
    Bouncing from one character to another in a way that changes the reader's perspective.

    Going literary under a ridiculous backdrop; choosing inappropriate times to be excessively artistic. Also a technical term for a grammatically correct sentence with no vowels.

     Fridge logic
    The act of hiding a hole or contradiction so cleverly that readers don't catch on until they think about it later. Coined by Alfred Hitchcock to describe someone getting a midnight snack from the fridge and suddenly realizing a story had a flaw. See also: plot hole.

     Bodice ripper
    Derogatory term for a romance that's all about sex, usually historical and featuring stereotypical gender roles.

     Character soup
    A reader's sense of being overwhelmed when the beginning of a story introduces too many people to remember.

     Novel by committee
    Revisions that make a story worse when the author tries to please everyone.

    A sentence or paragraph which confuses the reader with a "showed" hint, clue, or description they can't grasp.

    Persistent use of needless commas to the the point that they distract the reader.

    Point of view character (the person through whose eyes the reader sees).

    Point of view.

     Gary Stu
    A male character perceived as a stereotype, usually that of a "perfect guy."

     Cardboard character
    One perceived as being so poorly developed (or so painfully cliché) that readers don't take them seriously. See also: Mary Sue and Gary Stu.

     POV Intrusion
    A narrator with limited access to the other characters' feelings suddenly seems to know what a character is thinking. Similar to head hopping.

     Purple prose
    A passage of writing that is overtly or excessively artistic, usually as an attempt to increase the emotional impact of a scene.

     Garden path sentence
    A statement that, while grammatically correct, confuses the reader and forces them to do a double-take. Example: The girl turned toward the window screamed.

    Wording a sentence in a way that emphasizes a character's observation of external action. Example: John points a gun at Susie. The filtered version would say Susie sees John point a gun at her.

    One who critiques.

    Turkey City Lexicon. The definitive dictionary for the science fiction/fantasy genre.

    An author makes something obvious or "tells" the reader what conclusions they should reach. It's considered best practice for the characters to "show" us clues or body language that let us deduce things on our own.

     Author intrusion
    Inserting knowledge or opinions into a story where the reader can tell it's not coming from the characters.

     As you know, Bob (AYKB)
    An author makes characters have a phony conversation just for readers to get an explanation. See also: infodump.

    Resist the urge to explain (usually means don't add a tell to a show).

     Was Verbing
    Repetitive use of verbs in the past/present continuous tense for no other reason than force of habit.

     Said bookism
    The act of describing dialogue with excessive variations of said (yelled, whispered, muttered, exclaimed, etc).

     Run-on sentence
    Two or more separate, independent statements put together as if one united thought. Not to be confused with long-winded sentences that are still grammatically correct.

     Tense shifting
    Suddenly going from the past to the present with no explanation (John walked down the street and then looks at the sky) or vice versa.

    Main character.

     Jelly bean moment
    Specific to the science fiction genre; a detail in a story that is inconsistent or unexplained. If done well enough for readers not to notice, can become fridge logic.

    Female main character.

    Male main character.

     Mary Sue
    A female character perceived as being the stereotype of a perfect woman. See also: Gary Stu.

    Stopping the action to give readers an explanation instead of weaving it into the story.

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