Re: Voice and environment (was RE: Reading and Editing

Subject: Re: Voice and environment (was RE: Reading and Editing
From: Valerie Priester <hammerl -at- buffalo -dot- edu>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 17:17:07 -0400

--On Monday, October 15, 2001, 1:14 PM -0400 KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com

> Frank Krasovic wondered:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Frank Krasovic [mailto:krasovic -at- intellinet-tech -dot- com]
>> When reading text (it doesn't matter if the text is a novel, newspaper
>> article, user's manual, what-have-ya) I "hear" a narrator
>> reading the words.
>> When I read a Tom Clancy novel, each of the characters have a
>> different
>> voice and the third-person arrogation is a more-or-less
>> monotone newscaster
>> voice. This has been going on since I stared reading, around
>> age 4ish. I
>> guess I always knew this was going on, but I just "realized" it after
>> talking to another who shares the experience.
>> Do any of ya'll have that going on?
> Yes. Exactly that. It's much clearer when the characterization
> is good, so I don't dither about what the voice might sound like.
> The voices just sound like the characters and I think no more
> of it until I realize that my wife has been trying to get my
> attention. Hers was just one of the crowd of voices... :-)

Yes, the voices are there. Pictures, too, for well-written fiction.

> Some years ago, I made a stab at learning to speed-read,
> so that I could get through technical stuff more quickly.
> I found two things:
> 1) no matter how much I practiced, it was always unnatural
> for me -- "against the grain" somehow and,
> 2) it didn't deliver the promised gain in speed of comprehension.

I tend to not absorb as much when I try to do it.
> If I needed to really know a topic, then I had to go back over
> it, slowly, often re-reading sections until they jelled. In fact,
> I've noticed that if I invest a dense section of technical or
> expository prose with somebody else's interested and enthusiastic
> voice, I help my own grasp of the material.

> Does this suggest that I should be using different voices when
> I *write* technical material? Hmm.
> I wonder if there's any correlation between those of us who
> "hear the voices" and those who don't, versus those who thrive
> in a reading environment with stereo, TV and several live
> conversations roaring around our heads, while others prefer
> quiet surroundings. (For that matter, is it possible to
> enjoy fiction without having the pictures and voices in
> your head as you read?)
I tend to tune other things out, including those in the room with me, if I
am really focused. Growing up, this always annoyed my sister to no end.

> This leads me to wonder if you folk write differently for
> audiences who are likely to be reading your guides and
> manuals in distracting environments, versus relatively quiet
> surroundings... ??

Not only have I never even considered this until now, I think you've just
ruined my sleep for a week. My audience is probably reading the
documentation while blaring a CD at top volume, with the TV on at the same
time, and maybe two or more friends in the same room. Probably by the light
of a lava lamp and the monitor. If they can't tune things out, do they have
any hope of reading it? Argh, the frustrations of writing for college

Valerie Priester
hammerl -at- buffalo -dot- edu

Announcing new options for IPCC 01, October 24-27 in Santa Fe,
New Mexico: attend the entire event or select a single day.
For details and online registration, visit

Your monthly sponsorship message here reaches more than
5000 technical writers, providing 2,500,000+ monthly impressions.
Contact Eric (ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com) for details and availability.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Voice and environment (was RE: Reading and Editing: From: KMcLauchlan

Previous by Author: RE: PDF Not Downloading for Some Users?
Next by Author: problem creating PDF files
Previous by Thread: Voice and environment (was RE: Reading and Editing
Next by Thread: RE: Voice and environment (was RE: Reading and Editing

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads