RE: RE:classification -- was definition. . .

Subject: RE: RE:classification -- was definition. . .
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2008 10:35:17 -0700

"Technical writer", "marketing writer", and "business writer" are job
titles. Each job title has more or less a distinct role (and salary
schedule) in the marketplace. You could say that each title is a
different breed within the "writer" species. In contrast, "technical
writing", "marketing writing", and "business writing" are all ultimately
only variations of one breed writing. Let me explain.

First and foremost, we all write "non-fiction prose". In other words,
anything a technical writer, marketing writer, or business writer writes
can be analyzed as narration, description, process, or persuasion (in
various combinations depending on exigency).

Technical writers are writers who are also technologists. That is, we
apply our writing skills to the task of "documenting" technological
artifacts and processes. This, probably, is what differentiates the
technical writer breed from marketing writer breed. While a technical
writer is a "technologist" by definition, a marketing writer is not (by
definition). I am not sure how "business writer" fits in (and I liked
someone's idea of a Venn diagram). However, regardless of whether the
prose is created by a technical, marketing, or business writer, the
prose itself invariably comprises essentially only narration,
description, process, or persuasion. In other words, it is "non-fiction
prose".

When looking for work or asked what I do for a living, I call myself a
"technical writer" because that is what the market understands. In
England, I would be a "technical author". In Austria, it's "Technisch
Schreiber" (and they had a heck of a time accepting the "technisch" part
of the title; "Why not say just 'author'?). Regardless of what my market
related title happens to be, however, I am first and foremost "a writer
of non-fiction prose". I pride myself in having mastery in writing
narration, description, process, and persuasion. Consequently, I could
write op eds, newspaper articles, newsletters, journal articles,
marketing copy, political speeches, text books, and biography--since
these also are composed (in varying proportions) of only narrative,
description, process, and persuasion.

In short, the synthetic distinctions being used to this point in this
discussion arguably don't make much sense--except, perhaps, in terms of
Marxist literary criticism. And I don't think the Marxist approach is
the most cogent in this case. It is ultimately unproductive to try to
analyze prose according to categories derived from the marketplace
(e.g., "technical writing", "marketing writing", "business writing").

Leonard C. Porrello

PS, Among other things, technical writing is also arguably
"Shakespearean":
http://www.geoff-hart.com/resources/2001/shakespeare.htm.


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
Sent: Monday, May 05, 2008 9:23 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: RE:classification -- was definition. . .

There is also the question of whether the people trying to
put forth definitions have an agenda that is either exclusionary
or inclusionary. People who are employees at the staff level
are more likely to have exclusionary views that tend shrink the
pool of qualified (in their view) candidates with whom they must
compete for available work; people like me who are at the
staffing level are more likely to have inclusionary views that
expand the pool of candidates to draw in any who we think
are or can be developed into writers of documentation that
requires highly specific subject knowledge.

Gene Kim-Eng



----- Original Message -----
From: "David Hailey" <david -dot- hailey -at- usu -dot- edu>
> It seems to me that your system of classification will drive
> your definitions of all these professions.


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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Joe Armstrong
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Connie Giordano
RE:classification -- was definition. . .: From: David Hailey
Re: RE:classification -- was definition. . .: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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