Help a newbie tech writer?

Subject: Help a newbie tech writer?
From: Raymond Chenier <rchenier -at- SYNAPSE -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1996 23:28:24 -0400


As a recent graduate of a tech writer program and a new employee at an
engineering firm, I hope to be able to get answers to some questions. You
see, as my first job, I will be the first and only writer at a company that
designs software applications and trains people.

My first tech writing task involves designing a software manual to be used
by engineers. I will also be redesigning and implementing their WWW site.

Has anyone ever done one-on-one email mentoring? I just made that up, so has
anyone ever heard of it? Is it something someone would consider doing? Or is
one better off carefully asking the right questions directly to the list?

I will be receiving mentoring of sorts through fellow STC Members in my
area. I thought getting additional help from someone on this list, or simply
from the list, would also be very beneficial. I have been studying JoANN
Hackos' "Managing Your Documentation Projects" for about three weeks and
find it extremely helpful. However, I don't have a book entitled: "So your a
new tech writer with no experience on your first project." :-)

I have interviewed engineers and have had a quick glance at the software in
question. I find myself yearning to know what types of sections would work
well in a manual of this type. The users will be engineers, some who are
using the app and some who have never used it. It seems this manual is to be
more of a background and concept type document, rather than an instruction
based manual.

I am only at the audience analysis stage so I'm probably trying to jump
ahead. This project should turn out to be a great challenge and with the
help of STC Members and this list I feel confident in my ability to produce
a quality technical document.

Thanks in advance for any advice...

Raymond Chenier, Ottawa, Ontario

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