Re: Tech Writing Problems

Subject: Re: Tech Writing Problems
From: Vince Putman <PUTMV -at- MAIL -dot- SYNTRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 10:26:51 CST


You must have missed the exhaustive discussion on exactly this subject. The
thread was vaguely concealed under such titles as Grammar vs Content, Who's
the Author, Assumption of Knowledge, and Reading a Draft for Content Only,
on which you posted:

>Many editors are not writers and not at all creative. I had one like that
>some years ago when I was on the staff of a large outfit. She could
>identify problems, but did not know how to fix them. So we made a deal:
>She would mark up the copy with her queries and comments, and pass it back
>to me for repairs. It worked out very well. Is that a model for anyone?

Most posts in the thread focused on the TechWriter's role and were made
between 2/9/95 to 2/13/95. I collected some of them and can email them to
you if requested. Many of the posts confirmed the need to NOT depend so
much on the developer as your info source.

I feel the bottom line is learning the subject yourself by the hands-on
method. Study the hardware or software then write about it while asking
the developers the needed questions. The writer MUST be the source of the
data if the document needs to be definitive. That's what authoring is all

Vince Putman in Houston | Most people think new ideas are just
putmv -at- mail -dot- syntron -dot- com | a criticism of the old ways!!
713-647-7223 FAX 579-7709 | Eschew Gratuitous Obfuscation

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Subject: Tech Writing Problems
Author: Herman Holtz <holtz -at- CLARK -dot- NET> at INTERNET_MAIL
Date: 2/27/95 7:39 PM

I am interested in starting a thread here of the most common and most
difficult problems tech writers encounter and must overcome--e.g., poor
or nonexistent source data, inaccessibility of those whom you would wish
to interview to gather data, lack of standards for the product you must
produce, and/or any other problems you have experienced. Even if you do
not have any remedies to offer, the problems are worth surfacing and
discussing. (I suspect that some of today's problems are different than
the ones I and my fellow scribblers encountered a few years ago.)

* * *
Herman Holtz [holtz -at- clark -dot- net]: Marketing Consultant/Proposal Specialist,
Writing & Ghost Writing Services, 35 years experience. Author of 60+
professional/business books, including best-selling How to Succeed as an
Independent Consultant (Wiley). PO Box 1731, Wheaton, MD 20915. Tel:
301-649-2499. Fax: 301-649-5745.

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