Re: Would you like a fries with that style guide, redux

Subject: Re: Would you like a fries with that style guide, redux
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 11:01:04 -0500

I've found this discussion interesting. Only one place I've ever worked has ever
had a style guide. Good thing I carry one around in my head, she noted in a dry
voice. I've helped create style guides and templates as part of a team; I might
note I found the experience frustrating, I didn't agree with many of the
conventions the rest of the team wanted, but, hey, they worked there
permanently, I was just a hired pen.

When working in a team environment having formalized conventions is necessary -
or at least desirable -to produce consistent results. If you have multiple
people each doing their own thing, especially if they are part of the same
project, that's a sure recipe for chaos.

Lone writers, and I usually am, have MUCH more leeway. Yes, I do have certain
conventions I follow. Yes, I do plan my work. Like Alan said, though, I don't
usually write it down (the last time I did was for an HTML help system, and I
wrote out six pages that boiled down to, "don't try this, just call me, it'll be
cheaper and less frustrating for you if you do").

Any writer who can't produce results - GOOD results - without HAVING to follow
written style guides ...well, I have serious doubts as to that person's

Jo Byrd

Alan -dot- Miller -at- prometric -dot- com wrote:

> Andrew:
> I agree. It's not just the Plan, it's also Execution. Where I must
> respectfully disagree, however, is that good planning does not hide, but
> almost always shines a bright spotlight on the lazy, incompetent, incontinent,
> etc. members of the team. These guys, after all, are the ones not meeting the
> Plan.
> Planning is just another tool in a good writer's kit. I never start a job
> without a Plan--though I rarely write it down (I've had clients that wanted a
> written plan, and I always obliged--hey, they're paying for it), too busy
> getting the job done and paying the bills. Which brings up the issue of
> Priorities--lemme see, should I make a Wonderful Plan (not billable) or write
> the damn manual (billable)? Hmmm. Tough choice.


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