How can you look like you know what you're doing if you don't have the words for what you are doing?

Here's what I say in my introduction, in my writing guide, Tell Me (How to Write) A Story:

“There are many novice fiction writers like you, who haven't gotten the jargon down yet… The sad fact is that there are tangible, yet basic writing principles a novice writer may not realize they need to know.”

So let’s get to a few of these terms, these bits of writing jargon. I’m linking here to many other blogs for this post. So you have more than only my explanations to learn from.

Remember, the web is the biggest source of writing info, if you go looking. And if you’re trying to be the type of new writer willing to learn.


— Carley Watters says on her blog a HOOK is 

“One or two sentences on how your book is different from other books on the shelf and in your genre.”

I think of hooks as something you can memorize to say to someone on line for coffee, when the topic of your Work in Progress comes up.

“My Book? It about, ‘…’  You know?”

—where that bit of “…”, as Beth Hill of The Editor’s Blog explains, are the words that will do the luring of a reader to your work, Hooks are the words that will

“ tug at you. Pull you in a particular direction. Compel you to follow.”

 Let’s move from Carley’s & Beth’s terms to the RWA San Diego blog for the next terms. By the way RWA means 'Romance Writers of America'. They use two new bits of jargon: 

Tag lines and Log lines

Frist, a Tagline. as R Ann Siracusa put it, is many things.

“First, taglines, tag lines, or tags are American terms, so if you are in the UK, you know them as end lines or straplines. In Italy, they are called pay offs; in Belgium, baselines; in France, signatures.”

R Ann explains:

“a tagline is a piece of marketing copy designed to go on posters to sell the film, or in a writer’s case, to sell the book.”

and, Taglines are not to be confused with Loglines, because,

“The logline, while short, is longer than the tagline and presents a basic description of your plot in about twenty-five to thirty words. It should contain all the necessary elements for telling a good story.”

 So now you’ve got links to blogs which explains Hooks, Taglines, and Loglines.

What’s next?

Ah, a Pitch

Back to Carly, who says a PITCH is 

“One to three lines that describe your book in a sales-y way. How are you going to tell what your book is about, sell your book, attract attention, and stand out? It is a focused angle introducing the heart, high stakes and conflict of the story.”

So if those are all explained, and you’re clicking or scribbling furious notes, let’s muddy things farther.

Because now you’re asking, “Hold on! Then what the heck is a Blurb?”

A Blurb can be two things. One you write for your jacket cover/back of your book. The other is when a establish author decides to write one in praise of your work for the cover of your new book.

StandOutBooks says there are

The 5 core elements of a book blurb (and why you should know them) about writing your jacket blurb.

You can start there for all the details on the book cover side of things. 

The other type of blurb, might look like this. When someone else write a blube for your book jacket:


"Runyon tells her stories with an unashamed truthfulness--what seems to be almost an unaware truthfulness. The work is edgy, but never for the sake of edginess. At the same there exists a compelling emotional accessibility. If you are willing to risk reading, this will challenge you, capture your attention, and dare you to continue till the very last." 

-Catherine Ryan Hyde, acclaimed author of Pay It Forward, Jumpstart the World, and 16 other novels.


An established author might interview you for their blog, if they’re no longer giving out personal blurbs for books.

Are you exhausted now? Weary? Befuddled?

All right. we’ll stop.


Come back next time for these new terms:

Query letter

Cover letter