Re: OT: Funny Tech Writing

Subject: Re: OT: Funny Tech Writing
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 20:42:41 -0400

The story itself isn't familiar, but the situation certainly is. I have had many clients who have done exactly that. They reject the first thing I give them, we work through various drafts toward a version they're finally happy with, and it turns out to be so close to the original it isn't funny. The first couple of times that happened, I got pretty upset. But I realized that what was really going on was a process of educating the client on working with a writer and how the client's vision becomes reality. My training and experience let me leap to the concrete form of what they wanted, but they couldn't make that leap without going through the evolutionary stages.

I learned to build those stages, and the time they took, into my price quotes. Even in an employment setting, much of what we do is about educating our "clients" about how to turn the idea of documentation into a tangible result.

Not so off-topic after all.

vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net wrote:

Years ago I found an amusing story online about tech writing. From what I recall it involved a student that submitted a paper regarding the mechanisms/specifications of a mouse:

"A mouse has four legs, two eyes, and padded feet with claws."

The professor repeatedly returns the paper for rewriting, asking the student to expound on the description. By the tenth rewrite the once simple paper has grown into the biggest, most complex description of a mouse.

Finally, after the professor's last comments, the student submits the paper with her original description - and the professor thinks it's great.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Beth Agnew
Presenting "Podcasting & Vidcasting: The Future of TechComm"
at the STC Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2 p.m. May 10, 2006

Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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OT: Funny Tech Writing: From: vrfour

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