Re: Editing comments too harsh?

Subject: Re: Editing comments too harsh?
From: DURL <durl -at- BUFFNET -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 10:45:12 -0400

In general, I really like Judith Tarutz' book on Technical Editing
as a how-to; also, I've found as a copyeditor, it helps to base your
decisions on a style
guide (for our purposes, we used Chicago). People (1) find out that you're
not changing their stuff subjectively and (2) they can learn the rules,
too, if they want.
I find that the biggest single weakness among tech writers is that
too many of us don't know why some writing is better than others. We know
that it *is* but we can't explain it. I have interviewed tech writers who
can't explain to me the difference between active & passive voice, altho
you'd never guess it from the quality of their writing. We can't educate
others, or expect them to respect our skills, if we--of all
people!!--can't articulate what the tools are that we use in our craft:
tools like parallel construction, dependent and independent clauses,
transition words, and so on.
Unless we can, why *should* anybody take our word for it?

Pardon me, but I get a little nuts about thi!!

Mary A. Durlak
Erie Documentation Inc.
East Aurora, New York
"One should not aim at being possible to understand,
but at being impossible to misunderstand."

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