RE: What to look for in a technical editor

Subject: RE: What to look for in a technical editor
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- ca -dot- stilo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 13:06:15 -0400

Kim Roper said:

> I've found that the issue isn't one of imagination at all.
> It's also a matter of getting too close to the product, taking the
> principles for granted and inadvertantly making vast leaps of
> logic. *That*
> could happen to anyone, and generally does.

But that is precisely where imagination comes in. What a good writer has to
be able to do is to be an expert while still being able to place themselves
in the shoes of the novice -- an act of imagination.

This is the only solution to the paradox of the ignorant writer vs. the
knowledgeable writer

* The ignorant writer can't help because they don't know enough about the
subject to know what needs to be said.

* The knowledgeable writer can't help (some argue) because they no longer
know what it is like to be a novice.

The answer to this paradox is imagination, and it is the reason that
imagination is they key to all communication. The successful communicator
must hold in their head simultaneously the knowledge of the expert and the
naivety of the novice.

That imagination, not grammar or wordcraft or font fondling, is the essence
of the writer's gift and art. If you can't get close to a subject without
losing the ability to imagine the mind of the novice, you cannot do this

Mark Baker
Senior Technical Writer
Stilo Corporation
1900 City Park Drive, Suite 504 , Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1J 1A3
Phone: 613-745-4242, Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- ca -dot- stilo -dot- com

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RE: What to look for in a technical editor: From: Kim Roper

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