We define the term acronym as “a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word. The military and technology sectors love acronyms. For example, RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and ASAP stands for As Soon As Possible.
Acronyms have become so ingrained in our society that we cannot remember what they stand for. PCMCIA = Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. Plus, a trend has emerged where people substitute their own acronym definition. PCMCIA = People Cannot Memorize Computer Interface Acronyms. MACINTOSH = Machine Always Crashes If Not The Operating System Hangs. FORD = Found On Road Dead.
To make matters worse, acronyms can have multiple meanings or exist for no reason. BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front. This means a summary. Why can’t they say the summary?
While acronyms are important, this is a writing/book blog, and I wanted to explore acronyms in fictional writing. Let’s invent a new one. SABO = Space Arena Battle Operations. Wow, that sounds cool? Right? Umm, no.
The goal of a fiction writer is to lead the reader’s mind into the unreal. In order to be successful, writers must start with a foundation of (true/untrue) facts to build their plot. If successful, the reader will accept the unreal and enjoy the plot.
The problem with acronyms is that people only understand them with repetition. Do you remember what SABO stood for? I just invented it, and I cannot remember. Even a common acronym like ASAP is not always recognizable. Therefore, I advise avoiding inventing acronyms and sparingly using common acronyms. Readers have a tough enough time remembering everyday acronyms.
Let’s end this blog with a quote from the movie, Good Morning Vietnam. “Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on the QT? 'Cause if it leaks to the VC he could end up MIA, and then we'd all be put on KP.”
Even that quote left me confused. What does PC stand for? Person in charge? Personal Computer? Paper Copy? Politically Correct? Peace Corps? I watched a movie clip on YouTube and it stands for Press Conference. Fortunately, my four blog readers will not need a PC to understand SABO.

You’re the best -Bill
June 15, 2022
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