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Glossary

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R

Record of Submission: A formalized record of where and when an author has sent article or manuscript submissions.

Rejection Slip: A letter from an editor indicating that the publisher is not interested in the author’s submitted work.

Reprints: Previously published articles made available for publication in other magazines or journals.

Revising: Making changes to improve the writing.

Rhyme: The similarity between syllable sounds at the end of two or more lines.

Rhythm: A term used to refer to the recurrence of stressed and unstressed sounds in poetry.

Rights: Ownership of all the various ways in which a creative work may be reproduced, used, or applied.

Rough Draft: The first organized version of a document or other work.

Royalties: A percentage of the cover price of a book paid to the author. Royalties are only paid after the book has earned out and are usually paid on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Run-on Sentence: Two or more sentences in a paragraph without appropriate punctuation or connecting words.

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S

SASE: Abbreviation for Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, usually sent with a query or manuscript so the editor or publisher can mail it back to the writer.

Satire: The literary art of ridiculing a folly or vice in order to expose or correct it.

Scansion: The process of measuring the stresses in a line of verse in order to determine the metrical pattern of the line.

Self-publishing: A branch of publishing in which the author publishes his own works, cutting out the middlemen and raking in all the profits himself. With the advent of computers and desktop publishing programs, this approach has become increasingly viable.

Sentence Fragment: A sentence that is missing the subject, the verb, or both.

Serial: A publication that appears periodically, such as magazines, newspapers, or newsletters.

Sestet: A stanza consisting of exactly six lines.

Setting: The total environment for the action of a fictional work.

Short Short: Fiction under 1,000 words.

Short Story: Fiction under 7,000 words.

Side Bar: Extra information or hints and tips put together aside from the main article.

Simile: Comparing two different things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. For example – The water was cold as ice.

Simultaneous Submission: To send a submission to more than one publisher/agent at one time. This is unacceptable to some, okay to others.

Slant: The bias or angle with which a writer presents the information in an article.

Slush Pile: Common term for unsolicited manuscripts received by a publisher or editor.

Solicited Manuscript: A manuscript that an agent or editor has asked to see.

Soliloquy: A dramatic convention by means of which a character, alone onstage, utters his or her thoughts aloud - used to inform the audience about a character’s motivations or thoughts. 

Sonnet: A fixed form of lyric poetry that consists of fourteen lines, usually written in iambic pentameter, with a varied rhyme scheme.

Stanza: A group of lines in a poem that form a metrical or thematic unit, set off by a space.

Stress: The emphasis, or accent, given a syllable in pronunciation.

Style: The manner of expression of a particular writer, produced by choice of words, grammatical structures, use of literary devices, and all the possible parts of language use.

Subject: The main topic in a sentence, paragraph, essay, or book.

Submission Guidelines: The guidelines given by the editor or the publisher for submitting queries or completed manuscripts to the publication.

Subplot: The secondary action of a story, complete and interesting in its own right, that reinforces or contrasts with the main plot.

Suffix: An auxiliary syllable that attaches to the end of a root word to change the meaning of a word. For example – suggest, suggestive.

Summary: A short description of the main points of a body of work.

Symbol: A word that on the surface is its literal self but which also has another meaning or even several meanings.

Synonyms: Words which have the same or almost the same meaning. For example – happy and glad.

Synopsis: Brief summary of a story, manuscript, or book, told in present tense prose which is usually two to three paragraphs in length.

Syntax: The ordering of words into meaningful verbal patterns such as phrases, clauses, and sentences.

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T

Tearsheet: Sample of an author's published work; once the actual “torn” page containing the article or story, but today a photocopy of it.

Terms: The deal made between the writer and the editor/publisher for the publication of a particular work - including types of rights purchased, payment schedule, expected date of publication, and other similar items.

Theme: The central meaning or dominant idea in a literary work. It is the unifying point around which the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbols, and other elements of a work are organized.

Tone: The author’s implicit attitude toward the reader or the people, places, and events in a work as revealed by the elements of the author’s style.

Topic Sentence: The sentence at the beginning of a paragraph, that includes the main idea of the paragraph.

Travesty:  A work that treats a serious subject frivolously, ridiculing the dignified. Often the tone is mock serious and heavy handed.

Triplet: A tercet in which all three lines rhyme.

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U

Understatement: The opposite of hyperbole, understatement (or litotes) refers to a figure of speech that says less than is intended.

Unsolicited Manuscripts: An article, story, or book that a publication did not request.

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V

Vanity Publishing: A form of publishing in which the author pays a publisher to publish his or her work.

Verse: Poetic lines composed in a measured rhythmical pattern, that are often, but not necessarily, rhymed.

Villanelle: A type of fixed form poetry consisting of nineteen lines of any length divided into six stanzas.

Voice: The style, tone, and method of writing with which an author composes a work.

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W

Widows and Orphans: In publishing, a “widow” is the last line of a paragraph, printed alone at the top of a page. An “orphan” is the first line of a paragraph, printed alone at the bottom of a page.

Withdrawal Letter: A politely worded letter to a publication or publishing house withdrawing a manuscript from consideration.

Word Count: The estimated number of words in a manuscript.

Work for Hire: A job where the writer is commissioned to write a piece, but does not receive a byline, and does not get any rights to the work.

Writer’s Block: The inability to write for some period of time. It can be the inability to come up with good ideas to start a story, or extreme dissatisfaction with all efforts to write.

Writer’s Guidelines: A set of guidelines to which a publication wants its writers to adhere.

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