I’ve been writing for many years and during that time I’ve heard and learned many of the buzzwords associated with writing. Many have been around for decades, while others seem to suddenly pop up.
What is a buzzword?
Merriam-Webster defines it as “an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen.” A second definition is, “a voguish word or phrase.” (In other words, they may be in-style today and out tomorrow.)
What are some buzzwords?
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a newbe, you’ve probably either heard these or will.
Content Marketing: According to Businessdictionary.com “content” is the text matter of a document or publication. It’s both information and communication. “Content Marketing” is how you reach an intended audience. It’s having content that will bring them back or direct them to a product (your book or books). The advice to start a blog or website is a type of content marketing. What you put into the blog or website (the content) is the “glue” that makes the audience return to the site. Creating an active social media account is also a type of content marketing. Both produce results.
High Concept: The definition of High Concept is having or exploiting elements (such as fast action, glamour, or suspense) that appeal to a wide audience. It’s a term used to refer to an artistic work that can be easily pitched with a succinctly stated premise. It can be contrasted with low-concept, which is more concerned with character development and other subtleties that aren’t as easily summarized. The origin of the term is in dispute.
Branding: Your brand is you. It’s a way to help readers know you—helps them understand who you are and what you and your books stand for. It tells readers what type (or types) of books you write. This makes it easier for them to decide to purchase those books. It means your books will get read. And that’s the ultimate goal.
Why bother branding? For the same reasons big box and small box companies bother: It helps sell products. A brand helps potential readers know, like, and trust you.
Platform: Your writer’s platform is basically the group of activities you engage in that get your name and work noticed by the public. It’s marketing, not of a specific work, but of you as the author. It’s everything you do to build your brand.
The old model of the author platform was the writer’s public visibility and reputation. It was what the publisher’s publicity department used to promote and sell the book.
Nowadays it’s still about visibility, but today an author’s platform focuses on developing an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors—not the publishers—controlling the flow. Now it’s the author, not a publicist, who inspires readers to buy the book. This type of platform allows not only well-established authors, but unknown, first-time beginners to reach readers directly.
Recently I’ve been hearing the word “trope or tropes” when writers are talking about plotting. I began to understand that it referred to themes or events that are common in genre writing, but to be sure, I looked up the word.
Trope: Trope is defined as (a) a word or expression used in a figurative sense, or (b) a common or overused theme or device.
As I suspected, the word refers to often overused plot devices, but it can also be described as another variation on the same theme. TV shows, movies, comics, games, anime’, and books (romances, mysteries, fantasies, etc.) are full of tropes. Not all tropes are bad; that is, until Hollywood gets stuck on one.
Just recently I started seeing/hearing another word I wasn’t familiar with—Rubric. Since I was told to download my rubrics from the contest I entered, I thought I’d look up what the word meant.
Rubic: The word, I guess, is common in education terminology and describes “a scoring guide used to evaluate the quality of students’ constructed responses.” A scoring rubic is an attempt to communicate expectations of quality around a task. In many cases, scoring rubics are used to delineate consistent criteria for grading.
So now I know.
A couple other buzzwords a writer will hear are—
Metadata: According to the website WhatIs.com, metadata summarizes basic information about data, which can make finding and working with particular instances of data easier. For example, some of the metadata for this blog will include the buzzwords I’ve defined, my name, when this blog was created, and where the blog is located. By including that metadata, others looking for information about buzzwords might actually find this site.
GAMA: This one, it seems, is an acronym that stands for Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, the four horseman of the digital apocalypse.
What are some other buzzwords you’ve heard?