issue #4 - tech.writing survey

Subject: issue #4 - tech.writing survey
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 1997 14:09:01 +0100

Hello Jack,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von ssi_can -at- ISTAR -dot- CA an All am 06.08.97

ss> From: Jack Bonney <ssi_can -at- ISTAR -dot- CA>

ss> most of the e-mail received rejected the notion that the
ss> manuals
ss> maintained by an organization should all have the "same look
ss> and feel";

I am quite happy if a customer has some idea how he wants the work done. This
way I need much less preparations and the customer has less possibilities to
reject my work.

ss> several writers rejected outright the concept of
ss> standardization - rather
ss> one person was outraged that such a thought would threaten his
ss> "art".

If you are an artist, why do you work in an industry?

ss> we believe that this lack of defined publishing process
ss> contributes to an
ss> inability to delivery results of a pre-determined cost and
ss> quality.

Exactly: If you wish to do a qualified job in an industrial context you must
write your manual as anyone else develops a product: Develop it according to
standards and aims to be met.

Claiming to be an artist is a quite lame excuse for not being able to meet the
requirements above. Or not to realize before that the aims cannot be met.

Simple example: I have published quite a few articles in special-interest
magazines. I never write something and send it off. If I have a topic I want
to write about I ask the editors of magazines that might be interested in the

- Are you interested in topic ABC?
- I could imagine that your readers might especially interested
in the following details: ...
- How much do you want?

If he says he wants three pages he gets some 10...12 kB, no less and no more.
The result: I get my message through to the readers because hardly any editor
sees a need to touch my article heavily.

I even published several articles about the same topic in different magazines
at the same time. Depending on the audience these articles were sufficiently
different but for me it was much less work than writing two articles about
different subjects.

Greetings from Germany,

Alexander von Obert, Urbanstr. 2, 90480 Nuernberg, Germany
Free-lance Technical Writer (electronics, software)
Voice +49-911-403903, Fax +49-911-403904, BBS +49-911-403905 (FIDO 2:2490/1719)

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