Writer's Glossary - M
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A printed medium usually produced in regular issues, such as monthly,
quarterly, etc. Magazines can be printed or, as is often the case lately,
electronic. Electronic magazines, or ezines, appear in many forms, from
content available on Web sites to PDF ezines to downloadable ebooks.
Also called magical realism, this is a subgenre of fantasy wherein there are magical elements in an
otherwise realistic setting. Often interchangeable with contemporary fantasy, but where that
subgenre needs only fantastic elements, magic realism must have something
Fiction without any speculative elements, usually appealing to a
broader audience. Mainstream tends to balance characterization, backgrounds, and plot evenly.
Any written piece of fiction, non-fiction, etc., as typed or printed
and submitted to a publication for consideration.
A standardized set of rules for how a submitted written piece should
look. The idea is to make the format of your manuscript invisible so that
the editor reading your work focuses on the story (which is the important
thing). The following rules are so standardized that virtually all
publishers accept them.
- White paper, 20 pound, non-erasable, printed on one
- One inch margins all the way around, double-spaced
(blank line in between every printed line).
- Header at the top of every page identifying the title,
author, and page number (as in "A Christmas Carol / C. Dickens / Page #27").
- Type or computer-print it (don't handwrite it) in dark
black ink. If using a dot-matrix printer, only use one if you can't tell
at a quick glance that it's dot-matrix print.
- On the first page, top left-hand corner, list:
- Your Name
- Your address
- Your email address
- Your SSN (if you're a U.S. citizen submitting to U.S.
- Word count of the story
- The rights you offer (not necessary as most
publications indicate what rights they're willing to purchase)
- Done in a single, easy to read typeface, usually either
Courier or Times New Roman, in point size 12.
- For text emphasis, do not use italics.
Underline any text intended for italicization. Avoid boldface type,
but if you must use it, indicate it with *asterisks* before and after, and
note this at the beginning of your manuscript. DO NOT USE ALL-CAPITALS.
Check out StoryBoard for a more detailed
look at the process.
Any possible venue for publishing one's works.
The method by which something is published or otherwise adapted for
the world to see or read.
- printed media—generally, a book or magazine.
- electronic—a Web site, email, ebook, or other generally
- film or television—film or video.
The emotional feeling created by a written piece, usually as intended
by the writer. A writer may intend the mood to be ominous (as in an "end
of the world is coming" story), light-hearted (as in a humorous tale),
frightening (as in a horror piece), a sense of wonder ("exploring new worlds"
SF), sadness (a brooding story about death and loss of youth), and so on.
See character motivation.
The legal rights a writer offers a production company giving that
company the usually exclusive right to turn the writer's work into a motion
picture. Television rights fall under the same legal structure.
Abbreviations for manuscript and manuscripts, respectively.
Sending more than one manuscript at the same time to
one publication. Many publications disallow this. Those that do usually
require separate SASEs for each reply.
Fiction presenting a crime or other unknown which the main character
traditionally attempts to figure out—"solve the case," so to speak.
Mystery Writers of America
The MWA is a group serving writers of mysteries. There are
member areas as well as public-access areas. For more information, visit their Web site at MysteryWriters.org.
For some commentary on those who complain that memberships
to such groups is unfair, check out writers