Re: DTP and Writing

Subject: Re: DTP and Writing
From: Karla McMaster <mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- CTI-PET -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 1996 09:39:52 EST

The one period over the past 12 years of software documentation in which I
didn't do my own design, I found incredibly frustrating--primarily because I
was forced to turn over the text before the product was done. I was having to
request text changes of the designers, who didn't appreciate the piecemeal way
in which those changes came in (in my experience, that's the nature of the
software beast).

In addition, the designers were using Quark, and didn't use (or didn't have--
I'm not sure of the product capabilities) features I had come to take for
granted, like automatic TOC generation, cross-references, and paragraph tags.
As a result, the manual required much more handwork, and closer typographical
proofreading.

I don't know where these fantastic tech writers whom Joyce Flaherty knows
reside, but I have never had the luxury of having someone else to do what I
think of as the dirty work. (I'd much rather gather and organize information,
than ensure it was appropriately displayed.) And I think the distinction
between understanding how to pour data into a FrameMaker table, and
understanding how to pour information into a database, may be blurred.

On the whole, I'd probably prefer not to be involved in the layout and
illustration (other than to say I want a picture of X here). But I do what I
have to, to get the job done...

Karla McMaster, technical writer
CTI PET Systems, Inc., Knoxville, TN
mcmaster -at- cti-pet -dot- com

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