RE: A Few Items, and Response to Ms. Lemay

Subject: RE: A Few Items, and Response to Ms. Lemay
From: Laura MacLemale <laura_m_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com" <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2013 07:21:46 -0500

Response to Laura Lemay, 12-5-13

I will try to address a few things here, and to keep it brief. (I'm responding to digest, so I hope I'm doing this correctly!)

First, after just re-joining the list after a few years, it's great to be back amongst Tech-wrL friends, both old and new. I look forward to learning more and to bringing (hopefully) something to the table myself.

Secondly, the caveat is that I _have_ been out of the loop for a bit, not even monitoring or "lurking" on the list, so I may not have the most up-to-date information, although I certainly have increased on experience.

Ok, finally, to Ms. Lemay: That's wonderful to have a developer who actually wants to learn TW! As has been discussed on this list through the years, many engineers and/or developers have top-notch knowledge, but do not have the most practical communication skills for knowledge transfer of same.

As an instructor as well as a recovering TW, I would recommend these works:

1) Strunk & White's ageless "Elements of Style" for sheer approachability and practicality;

2) "Technical Editing" by Judith Tarutz (if still available; I use it and have recommended it to previous colleagues, but here's a link:;

3) A style guide depending on what your company uses such as APA, MLA, Chicago, etc. or an in-house manual of style;

4) Joseph Williams' (et al, depending on the edition number) "Style: Toward Clarity and Grace," which we used in grad school back in the day but which also totally turned around my wordy writing style; (I use this one, but any edition will be good:;

5) "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser (any edition gives an overview of succinct writing style and reads like a personal lesson from a seasoned expert); and

6) Online References for sheer purposes of grammar and style, which an experienced tech professional may find helpful because he/she already possesses the technical knowledge but needs to gain an edge in the writing area: (awesome source that I use all the time personally and professionally!) and (a great source for all types of writing, not just academic, and consulted by many instructors, writers, and students throughout the world).

I am not affiliated with any of these sources other than being a satisfied reader-slash-writer. I hope this list is helpful to you.

It's good to be back to Tech-wrL. Happy Holidays, all.


Laura MacLemale (probably stuck in the 90s both resource- and music-wise, but at least I can admit it too! :) )

laura_m_writer -at- hotmail -dot- com

> >Message: 8
> >Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2013 12:27:42 -0800
> >From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
> >To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)"
> >??? <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> >Subject: best current books for teaching tech writing?
> >Message-ID: <8F2B1C06-FED9-41B9-8031-CAE9D65BE0CB -at- lauralemay -dot- com>
> >Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> >
> >
> >I had a developer co-worker timidly ask me this morning about books for learning technical writing, because he wants to do more of it.?
> >
> >Although my first reaction was "wow, books, how 1990s,"? I do want to encourage my eager developer.? I am, however, a good 25
> >years out of technical writing school, and I don't have a clue what the kids are doing these days.?
> >
> >Do any of you have recommendations for good, practical books on tech writing?? This guy doesn't necessarily need a rundown on current tools and/or structure, but is probably looking for general best practices for understanding your audience, organizing your thoughts, be correct/concise/clear, etc.?
> >
> >Thanks!
> >Laura
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >------------------------------

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