Re: What Are Writing Skills?

Subject: Re: What Are Writing Skills?
From: "Fred Ridder" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 16:08:01 -0500

Nobody other than you has ever said that the application
of structure or rhetoric in technical writing (or perhaps I
should play the same rhetorical trick that you do and limit
my discussion to *good* technical writing so that I can
dismiss a priori everything that does not fit with my theory
as bad technical writing) is both fundamental and vague.
What everybody has been saying, but what you steadfastly
refuse to recognize, is that it is fundamental and *complex*.
It is a process rather than a procedure (a distinction that
seems to be completely lost on you...). It is an approach
and a way of thinking rather than a simplistic algorithm or
a cookbook recipe.

To continue with the cooking metaphor, learning good
technical writing skills it is like learning how to sautee and
how to make a pan reduction sauce as opposed to learning
only the specific steps of how to make veal piccata or wiener
schnitzel. A true understanding the skills means that you
know how to use them with chicken or veal or fish so that
you can prepare hundreds of different dishes in a variety of
different cuisines (different deliverables adapted to different
audiences with different needs). The MacDonalds approach
of rigorously analyzing and slavishly repeating the prescribed
steps to produce a Quarter Pounder doesn't meet everybody's
dining needs. Some people want to have a hamburger
"their way", and lots of people want something better than
a fast-food hamburger in the first place.

My opinions only; I don't speak for Intel.
Fred Ridder
Parsippany, NJ

From: Tony Markos <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Subject: Re: What Are Writing Skills?

As an engineer, I like the specific and the concrete.
To me hearing that structured writing, on one one
hand, is the "meat" of TWing, and other the other hand
that no body has been able to write about it yet with
any specificity is very confusing. How can something
be both fundamental and vague?

Kind of reminds of me of Systems Analysis: The number
one high-demand career field - that does not exist.

I feel kind of like the robot in the (I am aging
myself here) old "Lost In Space" TV program, who would
react to logical inconsistencies by declaring: "That
does not compute! That does not compute!"

(P.S.: As of late I have been told that the real
"meat" of TWing is retoric. But I have not started my
research on the specific, concrete steps and/or
techniques that TWs follow in being retorical yet.)

Tony Markos

It is only by dying (i.e., following the flow of data)
that we are born again (i.e., come to understand the
underlying logic of a software system). - AJ Markos

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Re: What Are Writing Skills?: From: Tony Markos

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