Re: Background

Subject: Re: Background
From: Erik Harris <ewh -at- PLAZA -dot- DS -dot- ADP -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 10:14:47 -0800

James Inman posted:
>Here's a general question for technical writers and educators:

>What do you find is the best combination between technical knowledge and
>composition experience? In other words, should an aspiring technical
>writer/educator strive to be more versed on computer science fundamentals or
>advanced grammar? Where do you believe that one's priorities should be

I think analytical skill is the critical factor that determines a good tech
writer. That is, analytical skill that can be translated into clear
compositions on technical topics. We TWers do a lot of analysis--of
systems, information and *types* of information, communications strategy,
perceived audiences, and technical issues--then we boil all the analysis
down, create a publications concept, and write it in an organized fashion
(we hope).

Technical knowledge and computer literacy are helpful, given that most of
us write with computers and many of us write about computer topics or at
least about systems that *run* on computers.

I agree with other posts that "advanced grammar" is more or less redundant
as a term, but more or less mandatory as a job prerequisite. Grammar is the
friend of the technical writer, because it compels him or her to *stick to
the rules* even when writing about subjects that often require the use of
jargon (useful jargon, that is) and the explication of abstract concepts.

Quod erat demonstrandum
Erik Harris
ewh -at- plaza -dot- ds -dot- adp -dot- com (weekdays)
TrinityPlc -at- aol -dot- com (home)

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