Re: Creativity in Technical Writing

Subject: Re: Creativity in Technical Writing
From: John Engler <spillman!jengler -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 08:45:53 -0700

I have always been fascinated by the topic of the similarities and
differences in between creative and technical writing. I started some
research on the topic (although I never finished the article I started
to write, and I don'?t know if I ever will), and I found a fascinating
article by Maralyn Samuals written back in 1987. In essence, she says
that it?s merely a current phenomenon that technical writing and
creative writing are viewed as distinct fields, that there are more
similarities than many people realize.

Here are some quotes from her article that you all might find
interesting.

"The history of the western world exhibits repetitive patterns of
intermingling, separating, re-allying and separating again between the
humanities and the sciences" (Samuals 49).

"Critics? perceptions of the relationship between factual and fictional
discourse types and the styles appropriate to each have come full
circle: from ignoring differences, to emphasizing differences, to
rediscovering similarities" (Samuals 52).

"The difference between a technical and a literary text is not that one
is any less artificial than the other, but that the technical one must
appear so . . . [because the] implied author conveys objectivity by
creating an impartial persona" (Coney, qtd. in Samuals 54).

"Science and technology, insofar as they are human activities are
essential poetic endeavors because they shape disparate bits of
information into truths about the behaviors of matter" (Bump, qtd. in
Samuals 63).

Here'?s the article if you'?re interested in reading it.

Samuals, Maralyn Schauer. "Is Technical Communication ?Literature??
Current Writing Scholarship and Vico'?s Cycles of Knowledge." Iowa State
Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 1:1(Jan87): 48-67.

John Engler
jengler -at- spillman -dot- com
Spillman Data Systems, Inc.
Logan, UT

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