For those of you who are aspiring writers, this might also give you a better idea of how to interact with this wonderful weird world. I'm not going to define what I consider basic English class terms (plot and metaphor and basic genres), but if you have a question about a particular term at any point, just let me know!
Novel: A longer fictional story, in book form. Usually 45,000 to 100,000 words, but this varies by genre.
Novella: A short fictional piece/book that hits somewhere from 25 pages to novel length.
Pantser: A writer who doesn't plan before writing, just jumps into it, writing "by the seat of their pants." Otherwise known as "me."
Plotter: A writer who plots and plans most of their novel before writing it.
Genre (and Category) Jargon
Middle Grade (MG): The category for a novel written for preteens, ages 10-14ish.
New Adult (NA): Somewhat controversial new specification, for college age adults.
Steampunk: A very strange new form of sci-fi that goes back in history and alters it in a sci-fi way, known as steampunk due to its tendency to play with steam engine technology. Also a style of jewelry, clothing, and art.
Young Adult (YA): The category for a novel written for teens, ages 14-19ish.
Beta Readers: Even more trusted people who read a writer's story after she/he is finished writing, to give critique and response.
Critique: Commentary on a draft of a novel that is neither blandly
complimentary or viciously cruel in its best form, but rather, constructive. This will help the writer to improve their novel and edit, so long as the writer is not being a sissy.
Critique Partners: Extremely trusted people, other authors usually of similar style/genre type, with whom you swap stories in order to give critique.
Draft: Different versions of a novel, progressing in number the more the novel is edited. You want a good few of these before you do anything in the way of publishing.
Editing: The process by which a writer revises, proofreads and alters a novel so that it's actually relatively good. Must be done to the brink of perfection, but will never ever get there. Not optional. Sometimes known as "the e-word."
Formatting: Using the right word style, punctuation, spacing, margins, etc, in order to make the publisher/editor/agent happy. Guidelines are elsewhere online.
Spelling and Grammar: Also not optional.
BrotP: An OtP where you ship them non-romantically, i.e. you love their friendship.
Canon: Something officially accepted as being part of a fictional world/story/characterization. Approved by the author. Non-canon is the opposite; head canon is sort of in between, where it's not officially stated but is accepted by most of a fandom.
Fandom: A group of readers almost more insane than the writer themselves. They like to hang out, dress like random characters, and obsess over minute details in a particular fictional world/set of characters/story. Sometimes known by authors as "minions."
Fanfiction: A fictional piece written about a fictional world/story/characters by someone not the other, making it non-canon but often rather amusing. Either that or extremely inappropriate. Sometimes both.
Internet: A place where fandoms hang out.
OtP: "One True Pair", two fictional characters that you ship.
Shipping: The very popular phenomenon of being a fan of a particular fictional relationship. When you "ship" two characters, you want them to end up together romantically. Some people ship within canon, others ship completely random couples for unexplained reasons. The ones who do that are usually on Tumblr.
Tumblr: A place for the most fanatical and unstable of the fandom.
Agent: A professional, hopefully very reputable and experienced, who represents an author's work. The agent sends manuscripts and queries to publishers, giving the author a better chance of being looked at, and helps negotiate contracts.
Contract: The magical legal piece of paper that means you are now in an official business transaction with either an agent or a publisher. Usually very complicated and jargony and needs to be looked over carefully before being signed.
Editor: A person who edits writing for profit. When referred to in this context, the editor is usually a high member of a publishing team. If you are accepted by an editor, it means you are on track for publication.
Full Manuscript Request: When an editor or agent requests the entire manuscript. Also known as "full request," "FM", or "FMR."
Manuscript: The full, formatted text of a novel.
Partial Manuscript Request: When an editor or agent requests a specific portion of a manuscript. Also known as "partial request", "PM", or "PMR".
Proposal: Like a query but for non-fiction. I don't know much about this because I write fiction.
Publicist: A professional who works on promoting books and getting them sold. Nowadays, the author is likely to do most the publicity themselves.
Publisher: A business that makes money by publishing and selling books.
Tagline: A one sentence summary of a novel. Very annoying to figure out.
Query: A one page, formatted business letter requesting that an agent or editor consider a book for representation/publication. Guidelines elsewhere online.
Scam: A "publisher" or "agent" that's really just pulling one over on you. There are lots of different kinds of scams, but most involve you paying said publisher or agent, and that's a no-no. This can ruin your repute as an author and is really just awful to go through. Be wary.
Self-publishing: When an author uses a self-publishing company, usually paying themselves for the publishing process, to get their work published.
Synopsis: A document of varied length, either 1-2 pages or 8-12 pages, which summarizes the entire plot of a novel.
Reader: A very cool person who allows writers to bank in on their craziness. Valuable and desired.
Writer: Someone who is insane, and likes to express it in words. Also known as "author", although author is a little more formal.
Writing Conference: Where a bunch of writers get together with agents and publishers to attempt to get their crazy out in public, and also to improve upon it somewhat. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.
Writing Group: A group of insane people who like to write, and like to work with each other on being insane and writing.
What other terms do you think should be in this dictionary?
Images via wnyc.org, shockerdaily.com, greenleafbookgroup.com, Writer's Digest, and Tumblr.