Vocabulary. Nonmenclature. Terminology. Jargon.
Every profession and craft seems to develop its own unique collection of words. To the insider, these words are useful, even essential. They save time by allowing an entire concept to be conceyed in one simple word. They provide a sense of community with other insiders. They show editors that you understand the industry and how it works. When you know the words, it's easy to talk the talk.
To the rookies, the outsiders trying to break into the business, it's jibberish.
Therein lies the problem with any form of jargon. Because it presents language that is understandable only in the proper context, it simultaneously unifies those who are in the know, while also alienating those who are not. Because it lets writers become "us", everyone else is just "them".
To those of us trying to enter the professional writing world, it's frustrating. So often we are shown encouragement and support by those professionals who have gone before. They go out of their way to answer questions and to point out where we can improve. They're great, and the positive influence of these folks can't be underestimated nor left unthanked. There's just one small problem. They're speaking another language.
So, in an effort to help both myself and other writers, I'm putting together a glossary of writing terms. At least once per week, I'll post a word and definition.