Untechnical Writing - How to Write About Technical Subjects and Products So Anyone Can Understand (Untechnical Press Books for Writers)

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9780966994902: Untechnical Writing - How to Write About Technical Subjects and Products So Anyone Can Understand (Untechnical Press Books for Writers)

UnTechnical Writing is the handbook for writers in the high-tech world. It covers the art, science and politics of writing and producing technical books and documents for the consumer audience. It helps writers do their jobs quickly and more easily. It contains hints tips, methods and procedures for working with editors, managers, graphic artists and other writers. It shows writers how to get, grow and hone the skills they need to explain technology to the consumer audience. Perhaps most importantly, it teaches writers how to add life, and even fun, to their technical writing--so it gets read.

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From the Author:

A PERSONAL NOTE

Unlike technical writing--but very UnTechnical in nature--this is a personal book. In it I tell of personal experiences, battles won and lost, lessons learned and my own philosophy of writing and the writing life.

There is no absolutely right or wrong way to write. What I state here are the things that I believe, and that have worked for me on one or more occasions. I approached this book as if I were summarizing all the information I wanted to share with a new writer on my staff, and I offer you the same challenge that I offered them: unless you can come up with something better, try it this way. If you can come up with something better, teach me.

Feel free to contact me about this book and about your writing experi-ences, tips, tricks and methods. Contact information can be found later in this book.

COMING SOON TO A PAGE NEAR YOU

The next eight chapters of this book will help you write, work, orga-nize, present, wrangle, philosophize, craft, finish and otherwise deal with the work, people, places and problems related to your writing.

If you have basic writing skills, have a love of things technical, and enjoy explaining things to people, the information in this book will help you produce better work and enjoy your writing. You may even get some fan mail.

The information I present is grouped into these chapters:

The UnTechnical Writer covers writer selection, skills, development and attitude. The Nontechnical Reader covers ways to identify and think about your target audience. UnTechnical Writing presents a number of handy hints, tips, tools, techniques and suggestions that can save you time and pain while making your work more effective. Editing covers the ways and means of fine-tuning your writing and confirming its accuracy. People and Politics helps you handle the other human beings that you have to deal with to get your work done. Layout and Graphic Arts covers the polishing and presentation of the document, as well as dealing with graphic artists. Interface Design covers the basics of understanding and designing products, hardware and 1software, so they are better suited to humans--even and especially nontechnical humans. Philosophy is where I really pontificate on lessons learned over many years of writing. Exhibits are sample forms, lists and worksheets that may be helpful to you in your writing.

A WARNING

A lot of this book encourages you to break out of the Technical Writer box, and think and learn and do things that, in many companies, writers aren't expected to do. This can be liberating, but it can also cause problems. Take it slowly. You can't declare yourself a new person and expect a company to instantly change their ways of doing and thinking. Change is a slow process.

Don't lose your day job while working towards your goals.

About the Author:

For nearly 10 years as writer, editor, writing manager and Director of Creative Services at Maxis software (the SimCity(R) company), Michael Bremer developed proven techniques to write and produce readable, understandable, and even enjoyable technical writing. He is now an independent author and consultant, specializing in communicating complex technical subjects to a non-technical (consumer) audience.

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