word processing or DTP

Subject: word processing or DTP
From: Rebecca Carr <rebecca -at- WHITE -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 12:54:01 -0500

WOW! Seldom have I agreed more with anyone or anything to the degree that
I agree with Christa Hutchings!

It is VERY frustrating to be the "owner" of a project, but to only be
allowed to "write", not format, not edit, etc. IMO a good writer does
all of these WHILE he/she writes. My company has formatters, graphic
artists, and editors. Formatters can really help when projects pile up
and you have rough source from engineers that must be formatted. The
formatter can do this while you are at work on other projects; this is
efficient. But, when you are ready to write, it's most efficient to format
and edit as you go. Writers are expected to know the software (Interleaf
and FrameMaker) and to know the writing standards and formatting

At my company, it is not acceptable to give a really rough draft to
the editor and expect him/her to do all the work. The writer must
have the document in decent shape before turning it in to the editor,
writing to the standards, etc.

Graphic artists are responsible for the illustrations and I'm fine with
that; it's not my expertise and I'd rather write. Our illustrations are
extremely detailed, so in our case, we definitely need their expertise.
But, I often correct illustrations without going back to the graphic
artists who are usually up to their ears in new work anyway. This too
is efficient (IMO).

The idea that a writer just writes the document and then
gives control of it to a formatter for however long it might take, etc.
seems really nonprogressive to me...and reminds me of the old days
when multitasking was nonexistent and everyone was boxed into their own
little job and were prohibited from going beyond that.
Actually I find it difficult to separate writing from formatting
because to write, you must organize material and when you organize
material, you are formatting it (at least I am).

Sometimes a writer is just a source gatherer, but this is not noticed
in an environment that allows such compartmentalizing. This source
gatherer slaps all kinds of information in a document then throws it
over the fence to the formatters and editors to "write" because
the source gatherer is either too lazy to do the work, doesn't know
how to do the work, or just thinks he/she is "above" doing it.
If you think I know someone like that, you're right.

I realize this is probably one of those debates that could go on and on
because there are definitely two schools of thought on it, even in my
company. Though not true for everyone here, I am very happy that in my
own case, I am in charge of my own documents and only use formatters
when it makes sense as far as time/work management is concerned.
I don't think I could be happy working in an environment where I only
could do one thing.


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