Re: Technical -v- Technical Writing Expertise

Subject: Re: Technical -v- Technical Writing Expertise
From: Janet Foltz <0505EN09 -at- UHDBIT -dot- BITNET>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1993 08:17:03 -0600

Alun writes:
>Yes, but you can tell a good novel from a bad novel. You may even be better
>qualified to do so than the people who wrote them.

Oh, Alun, I wish I could say that was accurate. What all of my reading has
done for me is give me a pretty good idea what I do and don't like in writing.
That, unfortunately, does not necessarily translate into what the general
population, or even the critics, would call good or bad.

For instance, I can quickly call to mind two novels that everyone else on the
street loved. _Lonesome Dove_ and _The Firm_. Almost without exception people
thought they were wonderful books and could not understand why I considered
them to be trash, boring and/or unbelievable. I also have particular things
that I dislike enough to guarantee that I will not read the book. Romances
are high on the list. Fabio on the cover is the kiss of death. Also right up
there are books written in the first person.

I do want my reference books to have excellent indexes. In fact, I make
selections based on the quality of the indexing. I don't want the writer of my
software manual to assume that I am familiar with pervious versions of the
product. I would rather skip over the parts I know than to have to hunt
frantically for the bits I need.

So what does all this prove? Nothing, except that I am an educated consumer.
Educated in that I know what I like and don't like and base my purchases
accordingly. Does this make me an expert? Not even close.


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