The Definition of a Short Story

I’m a writer. I write short stories. They generally fit into the genre of science fiction. That sounds pretty simple, right? No wiggle room or anything. Before reading any of my stuff, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. Generally, a you would expect my stories to be prose fiction running from 1500-7500 words. But what if that isn’t what you got?

A few months ago, I wrote a story that was meant to be read as a transcription of an interview. It looked like a script with dialogue and some short “stage direction”-like description in [brackets]. It was not prose. It was effectively a script. But was it a short story? I think most people would agree that it was. It wasn’t a very good story, but that’s beside the point.

The point is that you can play around a bit with form in a short story. You probably won’t have much luck trying to sell a 400-page avant garde experimental novel, but you might find a magazine willing to print a few thousand crazy-as-all-get-out words that the editor thinks passes for ‘artistic’ writing. So, yes, there is a bit of wiggle room to that side of the short story definition.

What about word count? The range I gave, 1500-7500 words, is not by any means a standard thing. At the low end, someone somewhere will make the argument for your story being ‘flash fiction’. At the high end, you start getting into the grey area of a novella. What really counts is what your publisher says. If you are trying to get a story into a magazine that defines a short story as 1000-5000 words, then that is what a short story is. You don’t get a say. But still, different magazines have different standards. So again, wiggle room.

I think the best way to define a short story is by what it DOES rather than what it IS. What do I mean by that? I’ll explain by way of a story.

Back at Christmas, my father-in-law was talking about his recent trip to Spain where he stayed with an old friend/colleague. While there, they talked a bit about the definition of an essay. The friend defined an essay as ‘an attempt’. An essay, in this definition, is an attempt to explain, express, or convince. I love this definition. It’s concise and to the point and completely perfect.

The concise, to the point, perfect definition I have come up with for a short story is AN IDEA WITH CONSEQUENCES. A short story should start with a single idea and explore it somehow. It shouldn’t delve too much into character, plot, or setting. It should just focus on a single idea and the consequences of that idea.

I had an idea a while ago: What if spontaneous genetic duplicates of humans started appearing? Put another way, what if you were walking down the street one day and you ran into your clone–someone with identical DNA who was completely unrelated to you, someone who had turned out just like you as a completely random biological event.

So that’s my idea. Now what are the consequences? What would a reality like that mean for politics, religion, science, and just basic human interaction?

I could probably develop this idea into a novel by adding compelling characters, a gripping plot, and a dynamic setting, but I’m not interested in that right now. Right now I want to write short stories. I have an idea, and I’m going to explore it. If the short story is successful (as a story, not commercially), maybe I will develop it further. But first, I need to see if it works on the small scale. I guess a short story, like an essay, is really just an attempt. Go attempt something.

Technical Writing – Definition of Copyright and Copywriting

Definition of Copyright and Copywriting

You can apply for a copyright or you can apply for some copywriting, but they’re totally different things. In the first case, you’re asking for a document that gives you the right to publish something. In the second, you’re asking for a writing job. Writers often get them confused.


A copyright is a legal document issued by the Copyright section of the United States Patent Office. It states that the person named on the document as the author owns the right to publish the written material designated in the document. That doesn’t mean that the person named actually wrote the copy, only that he or she has the legal right to publish it.

It’s not necessary to copyright anything. Legally, as soon as a person commits words to paper, they’re protected by a copyright whether a government document has been acquired or not. Practically, if you write something, and I apply for and get a copyright on it, it’s going to be tough for you to prove that you wrote it.

From the tech writer’s POV, it’s a little different. The law says that work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment, or a work specially ordered or commissioned is a “work made for hire” and the employer is considered to be the author. If you get paid to write something for someone else, you don’t have a right to it.

In its correct forms, the word is:

– copyright: the right to publish

“She owns the copyright to that book.”

– copyrighted: the condition of being covered by a copyright

“You can’t publish that because it’s copyrighted material.”

– copyrighting: the act of obtaining a copyright

“I’m copyrighting this even as I write it.”

There is no such form as copyright or copywritten correctly associated with this definition even though the Microsoft Word Spell Check accepts copywritten as a correct spelling (but doesn’t say for what), and copywritten shows up all over the Web in place of copyrighted.


Copywriting is the act of creating copy or content. Generally, the term refers to writing in the sense of creating non-technical material. It’s different from the kind of writing tech writers do. Some jobs that call for copywriting are marketing brochures, magazines, newspapers, and consumer-directed communications. If you’re a writer, you might be a copywriter.


Here’s another comparison to be careful of. If you want to write plays, you want to be a playwright. Yes, that’s right. You have to write wright when you’re writing about writing plays. We almost never use wright by itself. It’s used mostly in compound words such as wheelwright, millwright, or wainwright. We do see it a lot as a name; Frank Lloyd Wright or Wright/Patterson Airbase.

Wright has the same history as Smith. A smith was anyone who worked some kind of metal with a hammer; blacksmith, tinsmith, silversmith. A wright was a craftsman who made something. The name of the occupation became the name of an individual.

A person who makes plays is a playwright. True, he may write them, but he’s not a playwright. I guess you could argue that a person who writes copy is a copywright, but it’s not used that way.

Technical Writing – Definition of Demographic

Definition of Demographic

Frequently, a client will specify a target audience by talking about the customer profile. This is a way of talking about the demographics of the people in a consumer group. One purpose of a demographic is to find out what specific consumer segments exist in the overall population. Another is to have enough information about a typical member of a group to provide a kind of mental picture of an individual within the larger group. This information allows for the development of a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.

In ordinary use, a number of variables are taken into account when we talk about a group’s demographics. Commonly used variables include:

  • race
  • age
  • income
  • disabilities
  • type and number of designated products in the household
  • education level
  • housing status: own, rent, condo
  • employment status
  • geographic location
  • recreational preferences
  • buying habits

Each of these variables can be given more or less weight depending on the product or service involved. For example, a magazine publisher might consider a marketing campaign aimed at a demographic that includes single Asian men between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight employed in the aero-space industry living in Northwest US. This is potentially a large segment of the population.

On the other hand, if a company has a product that is expected to appeal only to Serbo-Croatian females between the ages of eighty-five and ninety who hold doctorates in Antarctic Economics and live with their parents, a demographic study might indicate that the potential market is too small for a major marketing initiative.

Let’s Get Picky

Every word has a specific meaning and that no two words ever mean exactly the same thing. And we still believe that’s true – except when it isn’t.

The word psychographic, technically, includes all the information in a demographic plus a lot more. A good marketing dictionary will define psychographics as a way of dividing consumers into groups based on attitudes, beliefs, values, personality, buying motives, lifestyle, and a number of other attributes.

Technically, demographics is a sub-set of psychographics that measures only age, income, and occupation. Practically, though, you’ll very seldom hear the word psychographics in a meeting because most people in marketing either don’t know or don’t care that there’s a difference. Demographics has become the industry shorthand that encompasses all of the elements of psychographics.

Wholesale Irregular Merchandise: A Definition Of This Closeout Category

Wholesale irregular merchandise is a closeout category that consists of products that were produced with a defect due to the manufacturing process. For example, a mill that produces jeans might have set the sowing machine on a slower interval speed, and now the pockets on the jeans are larger than originally designed. Or, one of the letters was not fully embroidered and the logo is not spelled correctly. Because the designer ordered the clothing to be made to certain specifications, he will not want the jeans with their current defects. This situation is very common when clothing is produced overseas, either because of the language barrier, or due to miscommunication. The factory has no choice but to either dispose of the clothing, or to sell it at below its cost to a wholesaler that deals with irregular clothes. Irregular merchandise can also be created as a consequence of the substitution of inferior materials. For example, the manufacturer in the above situation orders denim from another source because of a lower price offer. Once the jeans are washed the workers notice that the denim is allot thinner than expected, and the pants do not pass a quality inspection. In this situation, the pants will have to be unloaded into the irregular apparel market.

There are entire clothing businesses based on buying and selling what is called seconds. The potential for seconds is large because many consumers do not mind if the design is slightly askew, or if the logo is misspelled, and at the same time, the production of defective merchandise is a normal consequence of the production cycle. Also, companies such as Apple, Starbucks, and Google will order novelty items, hats, and shirts for corporate promotions, they will refuse goods if they are not in perfect condition. The screen printer who now has to take these items back will sell them to dollar and discount stores to recoup some of his production costs.

Definition of Personalized Stationery

Any office supply that has had a personal touch added is considered to be personalized stationary. This could include the following:

company letterheads,

business cards,

promotional pens

phone pads,

school stationery,


The list is endless. Additionally, personal stationery at home could include:

greeting cards,

Party invites,



other children’s craft.

If you did a search in your local phone directory or on an internet search engine you will find many companies out there that will offer this service for a set fee. There is even software packages you can buy to create your own designs for whatever paper based stationary you choose and then print them from your PC at home.

Getting children involved in craft time is also a fun way of making your own personal stationary and can be done by using stamps, both bought and self made from potatoes for example. By doing this you can make personal greeting cards for family and friends or just a little special something for your children to keep and treasure.

You can also extend this onto items such as pens, key rings, mugs, T-shirts, mouse mats and much much more. How many times have you seen pen or even a key ring pen with someone’s name on when in the gift shop picking up a card. If you searched on the internet you could find hundreds of different companies that offer you these stationery items and thy provide facilities where you can make them more personal so you can send to a friend as a cheeky gift.

Craft fairs are also a good place to pick up some tools, tips and ideas for your own stationary making adventures. You can buy personal stamps, with lettering, phrases or patterns and there is a multitude of stickers to add for that extra special finish to your greeting cards, whether for valentines day or birthdays or Christmas.

Even playing around with your email and word settings can enable you to have a different font type or background and the colour choices are only limited to your own imagination.

The Definition of Offline Marketing and How You Can Use It to Enhance Your Online Presence

Offline Marketing in a Nutshell

The definition of offline marketing isn’t difficult to grasp, since it’s the very same marketing strategy that was traditionally used before online marketing came into widespread use. Before online marketing monopolized the marketing landscape, becoming the primary means most businesses use to promote their products and services, traditional marketing methods were far more prominent and were, in fact, in exclusive use for gaining the attention of the buying public.

Any complete definition of offline marketing would have to include the concept of print-based media. Publications such as magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and brochures, and other types of print media, including letters, postcards, and business cards, have all been widely used to market products. Additionally, the traditional definition of offline marketing typically includes radio, TV, and recordable media such as audio and videotape. In-person encounters, including one-on-one meetings and group presentations such as lectures, seminars, and workshops, also round out the common definition of offline marketing.

Marketing Has Changed

Most of the conventional marketing campaigns we’ve been discussing, which fit the classic definition of offline marketing, carried a hefty price tag – and still do. However, today, they no longer hold the monopoly they once did. They now compete with – or even complement – new media methods. At one time, such offline campaigns were considered one of the inevitable expenses of doing business. But, with the advent of the Internet and today’s extensive line of high-powered digital devices, marketing has changed significantly.

While the overall definition of offline marketing has remained the same and its importance has certainly not diminished, its influence has shifted and its function has changed, opening the way for a whole new era of direct marketing strategies.

Today’s Marketing Requires More

Recently, the old-school definition of offline marketing as a stand-alone strategy – in comparison to the brighter promise of online marketing – has left the offline version the clear runner-up in the marketing race. And while traditional marketing methods haven’t been totally replaced by online methods, they now serve a subordinate role. Whereas, at one time they were the whole story, today they serve to complement, supplement, and/or reinforce online methods by leading prospects to a business’s website or social media fan page.

In short, online methods are the obvious winners in terms of convenience, cost, and reach, yet they clearly benefit when a well thought-out traditional marketing plan is run simultaneously. Because some online marketing methods, such as e-mail and social media, are completely free, they are some of the most cost-effective marketing methods you’ll find! And you can learn to use these and other Internet marketing media effectively.

New Media Marketing Can Be Learned


There are many ways to ensure that your online presence is reflected in your offline marketing efforts. Many marketers are learning these processes and implementing them into their own businesses to ensure maximum profits. However, it can be quire confusing in the beginning if you don’t know what you are doing. Which is why I created a free report to get you started in the right foot.

Why wait? You owe it to yourself to stop stumbling through the maze of modern marketing methodology, inconsistently implementing one slow and ineffective trial-and-error tactic after another, when you could begin earning profits quickly, easily, and painlessly. So, do yourself a favor: Read my free report. You have nothing to lose – and everything to gain.

Learn Technical Writing – Definition of Letter and Memo

It has come to our attention that some people think of a memo as just a short letter. Not so! Specifics to follow.

That’s a memo. Maybe shorter than most, but it’s a memo and not a letter.

Letters and memos (or, memorandums) are similar in many ways, but they serve two different purposes. It’s important to know the distinctions in order to produce the type of document you’re asked to write.

First we’ll look at some shared characteristics. Both letters and memos:

– use similar format styles

– are sent as hardcopy by either an external or internal delivery system

– can be typed or printed from a computer file

– address one specific subject

– provide information to or try to bring about a desired reaction from the recipients

There are two very important characteristics that distinguish a memo from a letter. The first is that letters are specific and memos are general. That means that letters normally go to specific recipients. They’re written mano e mano. Memos are not usually considered to be private communication. They’re normally addressed to multiple recipients. There may be dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people who get the same memo. That means that the odds are much greater that a memo will be read by someone it isn’t addressed to than for a letter. Memos get put up on bulletin boards and left on tables. There’s nothing private about a memo.

The second is that letters can be as long as the writer wants them to be while memos are written in a very condensed manner with a lot of information in very little space. Nothing unnecessary is included. There’s no Dear Sir orYours truly in a memo. Just the facts.

A memo can have a number of purposes. It can:

– distribute news and information to multiple recipients

– convey thoughts or opinions for immediate reaction

– call people to action or to a meeting

The single, most important difference between a letter and a memo is that a memo is short and to the point.

Note: Technically, the plural of memorandum is memoranda, but you probably shouldn’t use it unless you’re writing in a very high-level, academic situation.

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