What Non-Writers Picture When Writers Say…

beta reader

beta reader

What it is to writers: a critique partner who reads your completed manuscript and gives you final feedback. Often “beta” for short, e.g., “I’m still waiting to hear back from my beta reader.”

What it is to non-writers: a surprisingly intelligent fish.



What it is to writers: an abbreviation for “submission,” e.g., “I sent out three new subs today.”

What it is to non-writers: a tasty sandwich.



What it is to writers: an abbreviation of “main character,” the protagonist, e.g., “I’m really putting this MC through hell, poor thing.”

What it is to non-writers: the dude with the headphones who drops mad beats.

literary canon

literary canon

What it is to writers: a collection of generally publicly agreed upon literature, e.g., “Most of what I read in school is in the literary canon.”

What it is to non-writers: the fate of books you can’t stand.



What it is to writers: an abbreviation of “work in progress,” e.g., “I’m going to murder this WIP if I can’t finish by Friday.”

What it is to non-writers: Indiana Jones’s and/or Christian Grey’s tool of choice – depending on your level of kink. 😉


There you have it! Just a little fun for this week, because I felt like doodling. =)

Writers, do you have jargon that confuses your friends and family? And non-writers, what lingo do we use that throws you for a loop?

Share this:
This entry was posted in Silly Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Richardsfive

    Cartoons! Great art  and funny too! No wonder I love this site. Hard to choose a favorite, but maybe the reading fish.

    Jargon my non-writer beloveds don’t understand? Critters. They think I’m referring to little animals, when of course I mean critiquers. 

    • =D Thanks!

      Critters is a great one! I don’t know how I would have drawn that one, though. Hehe.

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    OMG… I love this. Hilarious (and creative!)… Yep – my acronyms confuse the hell out of my non-writer friends, just the way I like it!

  • Kylerussellt

    Very funny post! Well done!

  • Missy Frye

    Hi-larious! Fun doodles too! 

  • It’s pronounced “wip” instead of “w-i-p”?

    • That’s how I say it in my head when I type it, but I always say “work in progress” if I’m talking out loud. =)

      • I haven’t said it out loud (when talking to my friends, I usually refer to it as my novel project, or something similar), but I’ll see what fits the best when I get there.

  • Cynthia Robertson

    Funny! And you can draw, too?
    Non writers have no clue! I love your literary canon – and frankly wish it were what non-writers think it is. haha! There’d plenty of fodder.

    • Someone should make an *actual* literary canon. That’d be great entertainment!

      • Benjamin Inn

        I’ve been known to leave guerrilla poetry in places. I’m sure some folks thought that it involved huge hairy primates…

        • Hehe. Do you really? Like where?

          • Benjamin Inn

            Usually restaurants, but I’ve done it in random classrooms, libraries, coffee shops, people’s houses, etc.

          • Richardsfive

            Do you sign it?

  • OMG, this is so great! I definitely find myself explaining certain terms to my non-writer friends, like sub and even agent (they think: real estate). I love the Beta reader doodle…so perfect!

    • Ha! That’s a good one too. I think all mine know what an agent is now because I talk about it too much, lol. Thanks Natalia.

  • Jennifer Jensen

    Definitely “agent” and “critter.”  But also “MS” – they think it’s Ms., as in form of address.  Thanks for a good chuckle

    • Yes! Another good one. MS can also be confused with multiple sclerosis, unfortunately. =/

  • I love these! Super cute. Here’s one that gets me confused looks:

    motivation.  People think I’m talking about reaching for the stars or something.  When really i mean why my character wants to eat that cheeseburger or fight another character.

    • Oh, that’s true! If a writer needs more motivation, they rarely mean that they need more drive. Good one!

  • Patrick Ross

    Love seeing your visual art here! As someone who used to be a serious fish owner, however, let me say that your beta appears to be a female; they’re quite drab. The males are the ones with frilly tails. Perhaps this one is in drag!

    • I can’t stop laughing at this. I actually didn’t mean for him to look female; I just don’t know how else to draw fish lips. (Hey, I never claimed to be an artist.) But I love the idea of a beta in drag, so I’m going with that!

  • Julia Munroe Martin

    This is so funny and so great — was just thinking about how none of my non-writer friends had any idea what I was talking about the first time I mentioned my “WIP.” And you expressed my sentiments exactly! P.S. I am so impressed with people who can draw well — I am severely challenged by stick figures!

    • Thank you! I probably don’t draw as well as it seems; I didn’t sit down with nothing but a marker and piece of paper to draw these. I looked at pictures of the things and then adjusted and added on to them as I wanted. Now the people who can draw straight from their minds without looking at a source image… *those* people are talented! I am a humble doodler at best. =)

  • jclementwall

    I totally missed this post. Not sure how that happened. I could steal the WIP doodle without any explanation and put it up on Valentine’s Day, thus widening our love horizon. 🙂

    Crazy about your mad doodling skills, Annie!