Re: Subject Matters (was English Majors, etc. etc.)

Subject: Re: Subject Matters (was English Majors, etc. etc.)
From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 19:33:57 -0600

From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Subject: Subject Matters (was English Majors, etc. etc.)


>Yet to truly communicate complex technical issues and ideas
>effectively you must have intimate, hands-on knowledge of how those
>ideas and issues are used in real life. For example, if you are
>writing a manual about services in Windows NT, you need hands-on,
[snip]

Andrew's remarks are right on the money.

Having worked in and out of the writing profession for a couple of decades,
I've seen it all: writers who write great pulp nonfiction and technical
people who write lousy pulp nonfiction. In many cases, the writers' stuff
makes for easy reading but solves few readers' problems. The techies'
writing is both deadly accurate and just plain deadly.

Few are able to pass into the land in which they produce documentation that
meets the readers' needs. Why? The writing profession doesn't promote or
engender the behavior that enables a writer to communicate solutions. And
what behavior would that be? Doing ... trying ... testing ... experimenting
... smelling ... tasting ... building ... You see, that would be something
other than technical writing.

Wanna be a good technical writer? Do something else for awhile. Be a
mechanic, nurse, technician, pilot, bank teller, programmer, or plumber.
After you've done that for a couple of years, then go write about it. You'll
be amazed at how your perspective changes.

Regards...Kris
---------------------------
kolberg -at- healtheon -dot- com
kris -at- olberg -dot- com


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