Stereotypes (WAS: what to look for in a Tech Editor)

Subject: Stereotypes (WAS: what to look for in a Tech Editor)
From: "Anita Legsdin" <anita -dot- legsdin -at- watchmark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 14:56:32 -0700

Another stereotype that I intensely dislike (especially as my creative
writing alter ego) is the one a former boss of mine held. This was back
in the days when I was a programmer, not yet a tech writer. When he
found out I wrote (fiction) in my spare time, he started coming to me
with grammar and punctuation questions, as well as visual puns (saying
gleefuly "Oh, you'll love this"--I hate visual puns). Many times his
questions were relatively simple, but at least half the time he'd ask me
esoteric questions such as placement of commas, use of serial commas,
when to use "which" or "that." I kept telling him I was a writer, not an
editor, but he never understood the difference. He also refused to
believe that style depended on style sheets, and that there were many
ways of doing something, all of which were equally correct. He
desperately wanted to believe in, and insisted there was, an absolute
right and wrong in language. (But isn't that what the battle-axe in
junior high school teaches? If that were true, then there would be no
need for the MLA style sheet, or the Chicago Manual of Style, ad

I have rarely worked anywhere where there wasn't an editor available to
clean up my language. I am thankful for that. Dick Margulis' original
list was very good. (And all too often editors are lacking in the two
most important qualities: sense of humor, and sense of humor.)

Anita Legsdin
Sr. Technical Writer
(425) 564-8135

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of
course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
-Albert Einstein

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lyn Worthen [SMTP:Lyn -dot- Worthen -at- caselle -dot- com]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 11:00 AM
> Subject: RE: what to look for in a Tech Editor
> To further assist you in shattering stereotypes, I have long been
> affiliated
> with a number of published fiction writers. It doesn't pay much
> (unless
> you're -very- lucky, hence the "don't quit your day job" advice), so
> many of
> us have also developed successful technical writing/editing careers.
> A
> couple have gone into MarComm or Web design. One is working in the
> film
> industry.


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