Re: Techwriting styles, speech patterns, etc.

Subject: Re: Techwriting styles, speech patterns, etc.
From: "Margaret Cekis" <Margaret -dot- Cekis -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 10:40:49 -0400

Alan Weiss" <specwriter2003 -at- yahoo -dot- com> "seems I have to kick myself into
editing mode, and make a very deliberate effort to stay focused on getting
the details right. Others seem to have the opposite problem. They catch
incredibly minute errors, but have trouble organizing ideas and generating

This issue seems to be a key distinction between good writers and good
editors. Or even between good editors > (rearrangement and organization of
ideas) and good > copy-editors.... Very difficult to excel at both, I'd
imagine, because humans seem to look at either the big picture or the small
details when it comes to any given subject.
I have found that to do a good job from scratch on any kind of documentation
or writing project, I have to approach it on several levels, but I can only
operate on one at a time on any pass:
1. Initial analysis and scope: Figuring out what is needed, what you
already know, and how much more you have to find out.
2. First draft/outlining phase: Getting a rough idea of how you're going to
structure the document/project.
3. Writing/creation phase: Writing, filling in the blanks, putting meat on
the outline.
4. Organization/Review phase: Reviewing/revising the overall organization
to make all the loose pieces fit, or taking out what doesn't seve a purpose.
5. Editing/polishing phase: Going through several quick passes for
spell-checking, consistency verification, grammar review, stylistic
improvements, etc.
As Alan noted, some of us execl at one or more of these phases, and have to
buckle down and concentrate on the ones where we are less skilled or
interested. Personnally, I enjoy dealing with the organizational and style
issues more than the grammar, spelling, and consistency nits. But this
field has room for a wide variety of skills.

Margaret Cekis


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RE: Techwriting styles, speech patterns, etc.: From: Alan Weiss

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