So here we are at the start of a new exciting year with all the promise and potential that it holds. People around me are shunning chocolate, joining the gym and taking up new challenges. Someone said to me that their goal for 2015 was to learn a new language which I think is most admirable and it got me thinking…
Two years ago I embarked on the challenge of finishing my first novel and to help me achieve that I joined the RNA New Writers Scheme. The RNA has been simply brilliant at introducing me to like-minded people and I’ve made some terrific friends but most importantly I’ve learnt shed loads about writing and publishing. It occurred to me that one of the things I’ve learnt is a new language – the language of writing and publishing.
Let me explain: The new people I had surrounded myself with were using familiar words but my understanding of them was very different. For example – talking about an ‘Advance’ (Advance To Go on the Monopoly board perhaps?), ‘WIP’ (useful item wielded particularly well by Indiana Jones) ‘Jackets’ (Easy one – they are either potatoes or an item of clothing), ‘Royalty’ (jolly nice posh family that appear in magazines), ‘Beta Readers’ (people still struggling with the big words), ‘POD’ (Home for peas or trendy Eco house?) and asking me if I was a ‘Pantser’* too. I mean really, I wanted to make friends but it all seemed too soon for underwear discussions.
I had a bit of a flashback as I had the same feeling when I ventured into Project Management and suddenly Stakeholders were no longer the rudimentary weapon waving villagers from vampire films but important people to keep happy, Agile didn’t just referred to cats it was a methodology, Change Control was not the point where my husband said ‘We have to leave now whatever you’re wearing’ it’s about tracking changes. PRINCE2 is not the Queen’s second son (it’s another project methodology), RAIDs wasn’t just something the police do (it’s short for Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies), and Scope Creep wasn’t someone looking furtively around a specific charity shop it’s about your project ‘to do’ list growing.
So you see we all do it and I’m sure other industries are exactly the same and before you know it these oddly used words and TLAs (don’t get me started on TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) all become part of our language.
Two years on and I find myself trotting out the same but now familiar writing phrases but this time I am mindful of the glazed and confused expressions and happy to allay the fears of newbies that they haven’t just joined a group obsessed with whips and your underwear choice they are actually normal lovely people, they just speak a slightly different language.
*Pantser – one who does not plan their writing but instead flies by the seat of their pants!
Bella’s first novel, It Started at Sunset Cottage is due to be released in February 2015 by Harper Impulse. She was a runner-up for the New Talent Award at the 2013 Festival of Romance and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Every fortnight, Bella will be sharing her experiences and advice as a new author. She also has her own blog – www.bellaosborne.com
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.