Redundancy & obscurity patrol

Subject: Redundancy & obscurity patrol
From: Cathy Quinones <quinones -at- MINDSPRING -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 13:31:15 EST

I've been enjoying the thread about how much good tech writing is
worth (i.e., how to estimate what to charge, how much should one be
paid?). I particularly like the notion, mentioned by more than one
person, that good tech writers are valuable because they know what
words to throw away.

With that in mind, would anyone be interested in sharing tricks that
help keep one's writing streamlined, clean and honest? One of my
favorites is to read the dubious sentence out loud, if it sounds funny
it usually can stand to be improved. Another, as mentioned in another
message, is to question the use of quotation marks (i.e., am I using
quotes because this IS a quote or because I'm uneasy with the
term/phrase I've chosen; if I'm being wishy-washy, stop it now and
find the appropriate term or remove the quotes). Exclamation points
are not needed often in technical and business writing, use sparingly
(I remember reading someone's interpretation: using an exclamation
point is like tapping your reader over the head with a baseball bat to
get their attention, too many hits can leave your audience stunned, in
the bad sense of the word). Any other tricks? Any FAQs or web pages
I should be checking out rather than bugging everyone here?

p.s.
Use of this message as an example is strictly forbidden :)

Cathy Quinones
quinones -at- mindspring -dot- com
http://www.mindspring.com/~mintz/coverpg.html
(that's my web page with pet bird care info)


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