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Never Go Naked to Scrabble: Authorial Words Containing “WIP”

[1]Dear Jan: Though you are unpublished, and therefore unqualified to answer anything truly meaningful about writing, you seem less terrifying than other WU contributors. Could you please answer a question for me? What is a “WIP”?
Dear Canonically Confused:

I cannot refuse such a charming request, though I’m obliged to note my fellow Unboxeders aren’t exactly a ravening crowd. You could safely pose this question to any of them. (Except for that Callender person [2]. What a hot-head she turned out to be.)

Please see the definition for WIP below, along with some lesser known but related terms. When you next play full-contact Scrabble [3] and cream your opposition, feel free to credit my thoroughness.

Jan, who hails from Alberta, Canada where the men act manly and the women just snicker


WIP: stands for work-in-progress and refers to a writer’s current project; usually uttered in ironic tones since, to qualify, a piece need be neither working nor progressing. (Variously spelled W-I-P, wip, WiP.) 

unwipped: the raw, perfect essence of a story before it’s begun and corrupted. The alpha. The creative spark. The untainted premise.

wiplashed: neck pain derived from prolonged periods of writing; feeling flayed—psychologically, spiritually, financially, or physically—from the demands of writing fiction.

wipstitches: sharp ache located in the side of the abdomen derived from belly laughter upon reading one’s own words; hallmark symptom of authorly delusion and self-deception.

wipped cream: manuscript destined for review and adulation in the New York Times; a literary- award-winner; probably written by a male.

wippet: species of manuscript known for its skinny body and rapid pace; commercially viable; a genre piece.

pussy-wipped: when one writes under the supervision of a feline companion who maintains an air of heavy censure and disapproval.

horse-wipped:  writer whose breakout novel contained something  equestrian, and whose branding dictates the inclusion of a horsey chum in all future works, no matter how unjustified.

(Note: Despite clear need, and exhaustive examination of literary nomenclature, this author was unable to find any instance of the term puppy-wipped.)

wipstalling: fine art of procrastination when it comes time to put butt in chair; when one uses their commitment to writing to avoid cleaning the garage, family gatherings, etc. (Related term: wipstaller—see O’Hara, Jan.)

wippersnappers: painfully talented and assured authors who are less than a third of my age.

wipsaws: conventional wisdom about writerly craft or business; to wippersnappers, everything uttered by a smug senior writer—purported to sound like “blah blah blah” but then, I wouldn’t know, would I?

wipcord: string-like object which connects one’s computer to the wall socket. Contains “wires” and is said to permit the movement of “electrons.”

wippings: fragments cut from a manuscript which, when combined with the bones of darlings over the applied heat of creativity, occasionally produce a nourishing literary gruel ; extraneous material used by authors to whet their readership’s appetite for an actual book.

wiptail: an optional, terminal component of a manuscript which is used primarily to wrap up loose ends; otherwise known as an epilogue;  to the literati, the hallmark of an amateur and boorish writer who probably wouldn’t know a colophon if it bit them in the asterisk.

bullwip: a WIP which gains in value during the course of its writing; a manuscript greeted with wild enthusiasm by editors or agents because it bears superficial similarities to the powerhouse currently dominating the bestseller lists; a 50 Shades knock-off.

(Note: this author proposes the corresponding term bearwip: a manuscript which will be finished long after its market has cooled; anything containing vampires.)

wippoorwill: emotional malaise when confronted with the blank page; literary meh; when everyone around you is winning NaNoWriMo, the personal failing which leaves you sobbing and rocking in the corner, feeling horribly, horribly alone.

Finally, the phenomenon sought by anyone who has ever sported a key-board shaped dent in their forehead…

wipiphany:  insight about a troublesome fictional piece which creates a state of exhilaration and profound gratitude in its creator.  (Term first heard through Rebecca Burrell [4], who’s uncertain if she’s its genius-inventor or genius-appropriator.)

Unboxeders, have I overlooked any WIP-containing words? Please feel free to add to the lexicon.

About Jan O'Hara [5]

A former family physician and academic, Jan O'Hara [6] (she/her) left the world of medicine behind to follow her dreams of becoming a writer. She writes love stories that zoom from wackadoodle to heartfelt in six seconds flat: (Opposite of Frozen [7]; Cold and Hottie [8]; Desperate Times, Desperate Pleasures [9]). She also contributed to Author in Progress, a Writer's Digest Book edited by Therese Walsh.