Re: Engineers, writers, Queen Victoria and the vapors

Subject: Re: Engineers, writers, Queen Victoria and the vapors
From: Robert Phillips <robnp -at- OZEMAIL -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 20:45:49 GMT

Writan Consulting (writan -at- iinet -dot- net -dot- au) wrote:
: I have documented all sorts of stuff - accounting packages, electronic
: warfare, an adoption information system (post adoption), stores and
: manufacturing systems, a milk vendor's delivery system, and I'm
: currently working on an Image Processing system. I knew stuff-all
: about the business practices of most of these guys before I documented
: their stuff. I know heaps now... and in many cases I have come up with
: new ideas. You can't expect to hire someone who knows exactly how your
: weird end of the world functions, *and* can write clearly. In fact,
: sometimes knowing too much about the topic can lead to making assumptions
: about the audience's knowledge based on your own. It's easy to forget
: what it's like to be confronted with something you know nothing about
: when you have spent a lifetime doing it.

: /anne...

I agree and our experiences (yours and mine) are similar. I have three
key phrases for all my work:

There is no such thing as a dumb question
Tell it to your mother (that is, the same style and language)
If I do not understand it, my audience might not either

Sure, sure, there are times and places etc etc, but for the most part,
they hold true. Remembering all the questions you have when you first
confront a new writing task is one of the most useful source tools of
all. Most of the questions will have been answered in a few miniutes,
but they are the same questions the audience will have. These are the
questions the Engineers seldom remember or even had to ask.

robnp -at- ozemail -dot- com -dot- au

Previous by Author: Re: Syquest vs CD-ROM?
Next by Author: Re: Is _____ a word?
Previous by Thread: Re: Engineers, writers, Queen Victoria and the vapors
Next by Thread: North Dallas Tech Writer Opportunity

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads