The ABCs of Writing

The alphabet is very important, and incredibly easy to remember. There’s a reason people use it a mnemonic device, after all. People write poems to it, memorize shopping lists with it, and so on and so forth.

As writers, there’s a lot of crazy jargon out there. Before getting really involved in the writing community, I had no idea what a beta reader was, or what on earth was a “NaNoWriMo.” It took a lot of learning for me to learn all of the language.

So today, I’ve come up with a list of writing terms, using the alphabet to help us remember them. As a bonus, this list can also be used to teach your future children the alphabet and about writing at the same time!

Oh, yeah, and there might be some sarcasm in here. Continue if you dare…

A is for Anti-Hero
Are they good, or are they bad? Either way, they’re probably the fan favorite for some reason. No matter how many poor decisions they make, we still end up rooting for them.

B is for Beta Reader
When you’ve reached the 84th revision of your novel, and you’ll die if you read your manuscript one more time, it’s time to call in the beta-reader. You can usually bribe them with free books, baked goods, or hot drinks.

C is for Cliché

The hero gets the girl – that’s a cliché. So are character stereotypes, predictable plots, and cheesy dialogue. Sometimes you embrace them. Usually you avoid them.

D is for Dystopia

Want to make a quick impact on the book industry? Write a dystopian! There are so many authors writing books about post-apocalyptic America and tyrannical governments, so it must be a popular genre!

E is for Editing

It’s everyone’s favorite part of the writing process! You get to rewrite your draft again… and again… and again…

F is for First Draft
It’s probably buried in your backyard somewhere, locked in a safe where you hope it will never see the light of day again. It was that bad.

G is for Genre
The “category” your story fits into. There are genres and subgenres, and then subgenres for the subgenres. For example: Fantasy > Science Fantasy > Gaslamp Fantasy.

H is for Happy Ending
When you finally reach the end of your hundred-thousand-word epic, it’s time to wrap everything up in a nice little bow. Make sure the love interests get together, the evil villain is gone for good, and everything is returned back to normal. Happily Ever After!

I is for Ideas
They always show up when you least expect it. In class, in the shower, while eating a burrito… There seems to be no shortage of them. That is, until you try to put them down on paper.

J is for Journal

A great place to keep track of your ideas so you don’t lose them (see above). Often contains a mismatch of crazy, impossible theories and thoughts.

K is for Killing Characters

You know you’re not supposed to love it, but oh, you do. You ENJOY it. And at the same time, it makes you die a little inside every time. Either way, you hope it doesn’t say anything about you as a person…

L is for Love Triangle

An absolute necessity, especially if you’re writing a young adult dystopian. You must include two male characters, both of whom are in love with the same 16-year-old girl. Conveniently enough, she’s in love with both of them too!

M is for Mentor
The old character who fills the void your orphan protagonist’s parents left behind and offers advice to them in their time of need. And also dies in the second act.

N is for NaNoWriMo

30 days of absolute madness, trying to write 50,000 words. It separates the weak from the strong, the ultimate test for any writer.

O is for OTP


Your One True Pairing. The Ship to end all Ships. It consists of your two main characters, and you think they’re the best couple to ever exist – until one of them dies a sad, tragic death, of course.

P is for Protagonist

The main character, the hero, the star of the show. Don’t forget, a flawed protagonist is a bad protagonist, so make your hero as perfect as possible! Who cares about being realistic?

Q is for Questions

Any self-respecting writer must have at least eight questions in their book blurb. Will Main Female Character be able to save her people from the Totalitarian Regime? Will she find the love of her life? Will she remain 16 forever? Does this blurb need more questions?

R is for Research


Google has seen some things. “How long would it take to drive from Seattle to San Francisco?” “What year was the toaster invented?” “How long can the body survive without oxygen?” Hopefully, if the government sees any of this, they’ll understand.

S is for Subplot

Think your story’s boring? Add a subplot, or two, or twenty. Actually, don’t add twenty, because that would probably confuse your reader to no end. Unless that’s your goal, in which case, go for it!

T is for Trilogy

Usually has three books. Sometimes has four. Either way, the sequels are usually unnecessary. But you had to keep making money somehow…

U is for Unreliable Narrator

Are they lying? Are they insane? The world may never know…

V is for Villain

The bad guy, the antagonist, the evil mastermind. Somehow, they never win in spite of their genius plans and excellent execution. It’s probably because they always waste time explaining their plot to the hero.

W is for Writer’s Block


Writers have struggled against this enemy for centuries, but it is relentless. No man (or woman) has ever truly defeated it. Sometimes you can force it away for a little while, but it always resurfaces when you least expect it.

X is for eXposition

The part where the reader learns ALL THE THINGS about the story world! The perfect place in your story to just throw every last detail right at your reader. That way, they’ll know everything from the start!

Y is for Young Adult (YA)

The great thing about this genre is that no one cares! You the most boring plot, the flattest characters, and the driest dialogue, and you’ll still reach stardom because “THE FEELS!!!”

Z is for Zombies

They fix anything and everything. Need to add some action to this romance? Zombies. Need to give your Evil Empire some henchmen? Zombies. Need a subplot? ZOMBIES.

Okay, maybe that was more humorous than I originally thought, but there you have it – the ABCs of writing!

Of course, there are plenty of other words I could have used instead: Antagonist, Brainstorming, Fanfiction, Tropes, and so on. If you were to make your own writing ABCs, what would you include? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “The ABCs of Writing

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