on technical writers

Subject: on technical writers
From: "Laura A Mac Lemale" <lmaclemale -at- paychex -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 14:27:40 -0500


Chiming in a little late on this due to ever-looming deadlines....

Re: Technical vs. "Writerly" Writers

On the idea that TWs need technical aptitude subordinate to/equal
to/superior to that of the programmer, I believe that the TW should have
a big-picture view of the project/product being written about. The
programmer is the one who has the detailed knowledge of every component
of the project/product.

Yes, we have to understand the how's and why's of the system as well as
the how's and the why's of how the users will use it. And we have to be
able to apply this understanding to the documentation. And we have to
be able to communicate with our SMEs and ask the right questions if our
understanding of the project/product is in question. If our knowledge
is not accurate, it stands to reason that the documentation will not be

Re: Tech writing vs. Creative writing

IM(NS)HO, TW should be transparent, with a focus on clarity and
brevity. No one should open a software manual and be moved to tears by
the witty and wonderful prose. <g> While I don't debate the merits of
one over the other,--I enjoy them both--I do see them as two separate
and distinct flavors of writing (and, therefore, two separate and
distinct processes).

Just adding my late 2 American cents!

(whose first writing project for fun was a short story at age 7 or 8,
entitled, "Herman the Sink".....or is that TMI??) <g>


Laura MacLemale
Technical Writer, EDV
Paychex HRS Operations
(585) 336-6515
lmaclemale -at- paychex -dot- com

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this message represent those of the
sender and not of Paychex, Inc.

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