Re: Editors

Subject: Re: Editors
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- MARVIN -dot- ENG -dot- SUN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 10:57:23 -0800

Stacey writes:
> Janice wrote:
>> Generally, however, I've found that the
>> problems with the documents I see tend to err more on the side of
>> structural problems and clarity of expression rather than technical
>> areas.
> I'm finding this to be very true. I often find fragments or just
> sentences that are unclear. My frustration is in not knowing the
> subject well enough to offer suggestions.

Even if you don't know the subject well enough, perhaps you can
indicate *why* things seem unclear. For example, "This doesn't seem
to follow logically from the previous subject" or "Is the subject
of this sentence the user or the machine?"

> It seems that, like my
> students, some writers are reluctant to try to improve a document
> that's already written because that's over. By the time I get it,
> read it and approach them with comments, they're already onto another
> one. I can understand their reluctance, it just is then more
> difficult for me to do my job. That's why I'd, ideally, like to be
> included earlier.

You're right that it's important to be included in the process
early enough for your suggestions to be incorporated. One of
the hardest things I had to learn when I went from academic
publishing to the computer industry was that ultimately the
book is not the product. You certainly need to try to work
yourself into the process earlier, educating writers and
management why this is necessary, but unfortunately, getting
technical fixes and information into the documentation will
always win the writer's time and the manager's support over
incorporating edits.

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with this
janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com | message is the return address.

"Politics is show business for ugly people"
-- James Carville


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