RE: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?

Subject: RE: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 05:47:19 -0800 (PST)

When some of us speak about our desire to create
documentation that's less "boring," it's easy to get
hung up on that word and miss the wider point. Maybe a
more accurate way to express our intention is that we
want to create documentation that's more "engaging."

Consider this example.


Note: To reduce the risk of injury, make sure you park
your car on level ground before you change the tire.


Make sure you park your car on level ground before you
change the tire. If you don't, the car may roll over
you and turn you into a pancake! (There might be
accompanied by a graphic of a man getting squashed by
his car.)

Now please, this is just a silly example, something I
wrote with less than a cup of coffee in my system.
While it would be easy to nitpick the example and
point to the need to adhere to legal requirements,
etc., the intent is to use rhetorical techniques and
principles -- and graphics, something that we tech
writers don't know enough about -- that accurately
convey information to the reader. I'll entertain any
device or technique that makes an impression on my
readers to ensure that they not only read, but also
retain the information I am paid to communicate.

Clearly, an informal, more engaging style isn't
suitable for all situations, so no straw men, please,
no examples about the Space Shuttle or nuclear
reactors. We're progressive, but we're reasonable,

Steven Brown

--- Bonnie Granat <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com> wrote:

> Also, how can technical documentation be said to be
> boring? To whom? A filet
> mignon is boring to a man who's not hungry. When you
> are looking for an
> answer to a question you have about software or your
> new digital piano,
> aren't you quite interested in finding the answer?

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RE: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?: From: Bonnie Granat

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