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> What is your favorite technical writing book? Why?
1) The Tech Writing Game, by Janet Van Wicklen
I always recommend this to aspiring tech writers - it gives the most
realistic picture of what we really do that I've ever seen.
2) How to Write a Computer Manual, by Jonathan Price
You gotta love it for its Zen title alone. It's been re-published with a
co-author, with minor modifications and a more verbose title (bummer).
Price was part of Apple's doc team, and coming from the company that
basically invented "user friendly," it's no surprise that he knows how to
make technical info VERY accessible to the reader.
3) Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications
Gives a useful set of admittedly arbitrary rules for documenting GUI-based
products. You can either hold endless staff meetings to debate this kind
of stuff, or let a book like this make your choices for you so you can
shut up and write.
4) Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, by Sun
A good resource for most of the scenarios we encounter: mechanics of
writing, editing, graphics and callouts, acronyms, legal stuff, etc.
5) Successful Writing at Work, by Philip Kolin
Lots of great basics for reminding yourself that you're not writing the
Great American Novel - you're at WORK.
Being a tech writer is sort of like being James Bond, except for all the
cool gadgets, the tuxedo, and the babes. Oh, and the whole license-to-kill
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Find out what all the other tech writers, including Dan, already know!
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