Re: how long does "fixing" a document take

Subject: Re: how long does "fixing" a document take
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Carrie Baker <carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 10:27:28 -0700

Carrie Baker wrote:
> All in all, I am fixing the English, adding formatting, (headings,
> numbers whatever is required), and making sure the whole thing makes
> sense and works.
> This seems to be taking me a long time. How long do you think
> something like this should take??

Fixing a document _can_ be a horrible problem. I can't explain this very
well, but some document authors seem to have a knack for conveying what
they mean without writing very well. If I try to rewrite their work, it
loses the context (something like the author's voice or point of view,
something beyond grammar and syntax) that seems to carry or be integral
to their intended message/meaning/sense/. ... To make a long story
short, it can become a case of analysis paralysis--the original author
has managed to be the context of the information, and fixing the
document becomes, at a certain point, the task of creating a new
context, which might involve unexpected problems like a need to research
and add explanations, find a pace for the information you have to work
with, reorganizing and moving things around, all the while it is haunted
by original author's context...

So, I'm curious: Why do you think it is taking longer than it should? I
mean, what is it that is taking so long? I can easily imagine a tech
writer having differences with the author about how the doc should be
organized/worded, and deciding to rewrite or even start from scratch. It
is a little harder to imagine a tech writer actively working to preserve
the author's voice and 'presence' in the presentation. Is the problem
you're having anywhere along these lines? Can you sit with the author
and go over the document, to get the full sense of it?

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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how long does "fixing" a document take: From: Carrie Baker

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