Re: Novelist wannabes

Subject: Re: Novelist wannabes
From: Melonie Holliman <mrh -at- ABMDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:16:00 -0600

Howdy, Yall:

Since I am one of those "novelist wannabes", I feel I must respond.
Generalizations can be very dangerous. My boss, a programmer, is
much more into words (especially the $5.00 kind) than I will ever
be. He is constantly trying to make my writing sound more "academic".
This is not a good idea considering I write for computer-illiterate
individuals who probably do not have a highschool education. And I
am less "married" to my writing than any other person here. (This is
especially frustrating when review time comes around. They are just
sure I will end up crying if they tell me something is wrong with
my docs. I have to beg them to be critical.)

I have found that when I generalize I close my mind to possibilities.
Past experiences do help me see potential problems. However, if I
judge a situation today based solely on experiences in the past, I
usually judge incorrectly. Ruling someone out because of a bad past
experience with someone who shared a characteristic just does not sit
well with me.

I know that I am a good technical writer and a good novelist. I have
yet to see either style hurt the other; rather my technical writing
has enhanced my researching and analytical skills while my creative
writing has taught me to look through another person's eyes (my
users) and to look at new possibilities (especially useful in creating
an interactive tutorial). I just cannot imagine my creative writing
hurting my technical writing in any way.

My 2 cents!!

Melonie Holliman
The Tech Writer
ABM Data Systems, Inc.
Austin, TX



> Hiring managers tend to hire based on past experience, both good and bad.
> I've found that the techwriters I've had contact with who "really" wanted to
> be novelists are far too vested in their words to be good techwriters. I
> therefore avoid hiring techwriters, all other things being equal, who want to
> be novelists. I tend to avoid hiring English majors for the same reason. I'm
> not saying I'm right, and I'm not saying that perhaps I haven't passed up
> some terrific techwriters, but this is what has worked for me.
>

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