Sunday, July 22, 2012



By Patty Kyrlach

ADVANCE—Millions of dollars in currency, negotiable bonds, and gold bars sent to you by your publisher. . .right before the anesthetic wears off and you re-enter your body

AUTHOR OMNISCIENT—A know-it-all who once wrote a book

BLANK VERSE—A poetic form which usually signals the need to change the ink cartridge in your printer

BYLINE—Credit given to you, the author, after an editor has completely rewritten your piece

CLICHES—Old expressions, which like old shoes, wear well but smell bad 

COMPUTER—A device that reduces writing to electronic impulses and writers to tears

COPYRIGHT—Legal proof that I stole this idea before you did

EDITOR—A mail clerk in charge of attaching form letters to manuscripts and returning them unread

EDITORIAL GUIDELINES—The mail clerk's suggestions on how you can make her job easier

FEATURE ARTICLE—Any article that I write 

FILLER—Any article that you write

FREE VERSE—Poetry you send to a journal that PAYS IN COPIES

FREELANCE WRITING—A fail-proof weight-loss plan that reduces the amount of income available for buying food  (Caution:  discontinue if dizziness or death occurs.   Do not operate heavy machinery while on the diet.  Pregnant or nursing mothers should consult a physician.) 

KILL FEE—A large sum of money, usually in foreign currency, paid by an editor to a professional hit-man when a writer really ticks him off

MAINSTREAM—A teensy trickle running off the river of Romance, Fantasy, Gothic, Mystery, Sci-Fi, and all the stuff people actually read 

MS.—A lady writer (MSS.—Two lady writers  MSSSSSSSS.—A lady writer being swallowed by a cobra)

NOM DE PLUME—A false name used by writers who malign living relatives with Mafia connections

PAYS IN COPIES—An ingenious editorial ploy whereby they pay you with your own product  (Warning:  don't try this in the grocery store.)

PAYS ON ACCEPTANCE—A post-Machiavellian plan of economics whereby a writer is paid during her lifetime

PAYS ON PUBLICATION—For those dear saints who do not want to lay up treasures on this earth where moths corrupt and thieves break in and steal

RIGHTS—Your rights as a writer:  First Rights—You have the right to remain silent. . .  Second Rights—You have the right to an attorney. . . Last Rites—see FREELANCE WRITING

SASE—An acronym for the Publishing Imperative: Stiff the Authors, Save the Editors

SUBSIDY PUBLISHING—The one publishing system that always results in prompt payment—since you pay. . . (Oddly enough, these people rarely accept PAYMENT IN COPIES or even PAYMENT ON PUBLICATION)

UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPT—Writing that is totally uncalled for

WORK-FOR-HIRE—An arrangement with a publisher whereby you sign away copyrights, movie rights, oil and mineral rights, and your first born child

WORKING ON SPEC—A 12-step program for writers who are compulsive gamblers   

WRITER'S BLOCK—An economically depressed district of Greenwich Village

WRITERS CONFERENCE—Unbridled revelry in the name of educational enrichment


  1. I love this! I am going to spread it around to all my writer friends, whether or not they are already on your list...just in case.

  2. Oh, how you make me laugh! Posting this on facebook today!

  3. This is too funny!! Loved the one about Pays on Publication - sometimes the magazine goes defunct before that happens. But it was nice to be wanted . . .