Re: Trends in Tech Comm

Subject: Re: Trends in Tech Comm
From: Jim Shaeffer <jlshaeffer -at- aol -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 12:46:03 -0500 (EST)


How to Write With Style
by
Kurt Vonnegut


Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.




found at http://peterstekel.com/PDF-HTML/Kurt%20Vonnegut%20advice%20to%20writers.htm


Jim Shaeffer



-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene) <sjanoff -at- celgene -dot- com>
To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>; Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
Sent: Thu, Feb 2, 2012 1:26 am
Subject: RE: Trends in Tech Comm


I agree with what you say, and at the same time I feel that there is an added
dimension that is, over time, being drained out of documentation, which is the
writer's personality. In an era where consistency is a major goal, that may be
fine.

And yet, for me, it's a special occasion when I read something that's not only
usable but also compelling. This gets into the "user experience" of
documentation. It's more than just, "I got the information I needed." It's
more like, "Wow, that was really well done!" Maybe it's just one writer
appreciating the work of another.

But I hate to see the "writer" taken out of the technical writer, is all I'm
saying.

A while back there was a thread on good tech writing of old, and I remember the
book by John Muir was mentioned, on "Keeping Your Volkswagen Alive." I never
read it, merely perused it, but I know what a classic it was. You can't write
that kind of work anymore, at least not as a tech writer -- and maybe you never
could, unless you went to the after market.

But I feel that a writer's personality can still be maintained even with the
automated writing tools of today. It's the difference between good
documentation and great documentation. "Good" is good enough, but I really like
"great." I especially like reading it, even if I can't write it.

Maybe I'm just lamenting the loss of individualism that comes with
standardization. Or, it could depend on how you come into tech writing: as a
writer, a journalist, a scientist, a researcher, etc. On that basis, the loss
of the writer's individualism is a very personal thing.

Steve




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Follow-Ups:

References:
Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
RE: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Tony Chung
RE: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)

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