RE: The Problem with STC

Subject: RE: The Problem with STC
From: "Michael West" <mike -dot- west -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 11:47:09 +1100

Herman Holtz wrote:

>I confiscated the draft and sent the writer
>back to research the subject a bit more,
>and then try to write again from scratch.
>Amazing improvements in the manuscripts almost
>always resulted.
> The symptoms are easy to spot. The writer is
>clear and detailed in the areas of the subject
>where he or she knows what is what, but the text
>gets rather vague and general in other areas.

Precisely. What this shows is that the
ability to thoroughly research, analyze,
organize and present are important skills.
A prior technical expertise isn't always
necessary, and may in fact be a handicap
when writing for non-expert users. (This
is why programmer-written user guides are
seldom easy to follow.)

It also helps to have what Hemingway called
a built-in bullshit detector. Lacking that,
having a sharp-eyed editor like Mr Holtz is
a great advantage.

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia

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