Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?

Subject: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 22:48:00 PST

Rush <> writes:
|> I have this problem...
|>
|> My problem is that the programmer I work most closely with despises all
|> my tries at making text more accessible.
|>
|> So, does anyone have any clever techniques for dealing with this
|> argument? BTW--he really does *not* appreciate discussions about good
|> writing technique.

If I understand your situation, he is writing the draft, and you're editing
it. Thus, he's the author, and you're not.

This puts you in a very weak position if you want to cross the line between
editing and rewriting. Few authors appreciate heavy editing. Even fewer
appreciate rewriting.

My solution, which I believe saves time over the course of the project,
is to use material that comes from Engineering as source material only.
Not one complete sentence will cross from their work into mine. Instead,
I take the specifications and other material that they wrote for their
own purposes, then mine it for information.

This has the following advantages:

* Their deathless prose is never butchered, altered, or criticized.

* They are not asked to write user manuals, which saves them time
and aggravation.

* I can structure my manual the way it ought to be structured without
penalty.

* I don't have to put up with bad prose in the document unless I write
it myself.

* I have to learn the product much more thoroughly than if I were doing
an editing, makeover, or co-author job, which results in a better
manual.

There are other methods, but this one is my personal favorite.

-- Robert
--
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139
http://www.pioneer.net/~robertp

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