RE: Drafts -- some people not clear on the concept...

Subject: RE: Drafts -- some people not clear on the concept...
From: Jean Hollis Weber <jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 11:57:41 +1000

Bill Swallow wrote:

Technical writing (IMO) is not a stream of consciousness endeavor; there
should very little room for creative expressions as far as content is
... IMO, the definition of
draft in technical writing is pretty narrow; either the content is there
or it isn't, and it's either accurate or it isn't. And, it's either
factual or it's not technical writing.

Given all this, I'd throw a red flag if I saw a "draft" of a technical
document displaying what appears to be "preliminary expressions of
initial stream-of-consciousness creativity" regardless fo rank/position.
Either it's a finished document, or it's a solid draft, or it's an
outline, or it's not technical writing. (Hmmm, that should keep the list
server warm for quite some time. *lol*)

I do a lot of "steam of consciousness" first drafts of what will eventually be a solid draft of a technical writing effort. What should I call that first effort? Preliminary draft? Preliminary notes? I have no problem with using a different term for a very early draft -- the sort that's not ready for anyone to see unless they understand what stage I'm really at. Often it's an outline filled with preliminary notes or placeholders for "find out [whatever] and insert here". IMO, a "draft" need not be "solid" -- having developed content -- unless it's intended for review at that stage.

I think we're quibbling over terminology here, but it's an important quibble because great misunderstandings can arise from different use of the terms. If you're sneaking a peak at my "initial stream-of-consciousness" stuff, you may think I'm wasting time or don't know what I'm doing, or something else negative that isn't related to the quality of the "solid first draft" that I would produce for a review.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com
The Technical Editors' Eyrie

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