TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
There are a number of ''readability'' tools available
(albeit my favorite, RightWriter, seems to have
disappeared), but they should be used with caution.
I recall an STC event 100 years ago where an IBMer examined
indexing. He read to us a paragraph that passed the USAF
text -- it was Pentagon-ese and no one in the room really
understood what the author was trying to convey.
He then read to us (all this supported by overheads) a
100-plus word, single-sentence paragaph slapped together by
a hack writer ... we all were able to understand exactly
what Hemingway was describing (bull fight scene).
Testing your document is a good way to improve already good
writing, and sometimes it is a req in the contract
(typically mil-spec pubs), but don't let fog indices be the
end all. Would _I_ write a 100-plus word sentence? Is my
john glenn <sfarmh1 -at- scfn -dot- thpl -dot- lib -dot- fl -dot- us>
...do not make a statement that cannot be easily
understood on the grounds that it will be understood