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Subject:Editing - To Ann B From:Rebecca Carr <rebecca -at- WHITE -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 15 Sep 1997 14:12:35 -0500
Because I know the high-tech environment in which you work, I recommend
1) Establish/follow a set of standards/guidelines that you can live
with based on the type of media you are dealing with (online, production
hard copy, preliminary information, etc.). If you already have a good
standard (such as a user guide standard), follow it as consistently as
you can and still get the job finished on time. An established standard
for a particular style of document reduces time and cost of a project,
especially when all the writers take the time to learn it. Obviously,
standards for strictly online documents are tailored to online presentation,
but when a document must also be printed as production data, some hard
copy standards must be maintained. A good online book will not necessarily
present well as a printed manual.
A standard eliminates constant questions about "what to do" in a given
instance and really frees you up to concentrate on the writing of the
book and its technical accuracy.
2) Follow the established guidelines consistently within the time constraints
that are required. Obviously, don't delay a book just to add hyphens or
rewrite arbitrarily based on subjective opinions. If there isn't a good
reason to rewrite (with reference material backup), then don't.
3)Edit to the standard. Rather than a "good book on editing",
concentrate on the mechanics of good writing skills and back this up
with good reference materials such as:
Chicago Manual of Style
Gregg Reference Manual
The Computer Glossay 7th Edition (Alan Freedman)
Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary
Microsoft Manual of Style (Microsoft Press)
Read Me First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry (Sun Technical
Handbook of Technical Writing (Brusaw, Alred, Oliu)
A good electronics dictionary such as McGraw-Hill Electronics Dictionary
or Illustrated Dictionary of Electronics (Gibilisco)
Stick with the basics of good writing and follow the usual guidelines for
technical writing (be concise, stay in present tense, avoid flowery
creative writing, etc) and you can't go wrong.