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> ... I'm thinking that creating a style guide at this early
> stage would help ensure consistency down the road. We have a few manuals in
> progress and so far we've just been working off of a common template to ensure
> that the format is consistent. Does anyone have any tips on where to start?
You might not need a full style guide to start with. Try making a list
of "problem" words or phrases. More of an editor's style sheet. See how
far you get with it. Sometimes you may need to discuss variations
internally to come up with accepted company usage. As your style sheet
grows, you'll have something you could turn into a guide in no time.
Regarding grammar and scientific usage, in small companies it doesn't
make much sense to reinvent the wheel. We use a couple of different
ones--Sun's for general usage and GUI terminology, and Philip Rueben's
"Science and Technical Writing, A Manual of Style" for most scientific
and academic usage and abbreviations. (The Sun guide advises that "ms"
is an acceptable abbreviation for both milli- and micro-seconds - huge
red flag for us but maybe no big deal for you.) One or a couple of these
plus Chicago and your style sheet is really all you need.
Ginna Dowler - Technical Writer
Quester Tangent Corporation
gdowler -at- questercorp -dot- com