Re: Arranging Topics For New Manual

Subject: Re: Arranging Topics For New Manual
From: Linda Sherman <linsherm -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 12:13:45 -0500

CASSIN Gilles wrote:
> I strongly disagree with the fact that making an outline before =
> starting
> to write should be the rule. [snipped]

I like to work iteratively, that is: rough in an outline, write some of
the material, revise the outline, write more material, revise the
outline again, write more material, and so on.

In the earliest phases, I tend to see the outline not as how the
document is to be organized, but as a list of reminders to myself of
topics I want or need to write about.

When I finish the first draft, I invariably do a major
restructuring. The two most common reasons for this are:

(a) to colocate and consolidate related items that have been scattered
throughout the document, and eliminate any duplicated or redundant

(b) to reduce the number of forward references to topics that haven't
been discussed yet.

Getting back to the original question for a moment, I don't think the
writer should ever leave organization of the material to others. There's
no reason to believe that they will do any better job than you will, and
there is plenty of reason to believe that they will do much worse.
Writing IS organization of information, and leaving these decisions to
others strikes me as lack of confidence or a wish to be overly

Linda K. Sherman <linsherm -at- gte -dot- net>
Computer programming, technical writing, web development
phone: 1-727-842-6756 fax: 1-727-842-6853

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