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

* 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

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

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Re: Blowing Your Big Presentation to Upper Management
Next by Author: Re: Version Control Software
Previous by Thread: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need? -Reply
Next by Thread: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads