Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation, Second Edition

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9780970473325: Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation, Second Edition
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To succeed in technical writing, you need a lot more than just writing ability. Technical Writing 101 details the skills you need as a technical writer, and it explains how to handle the pressures of tight deadlines and ever-changing product specifications. This valuable reference also describes the entire documentation process—planning, writing, editing, indexing, and production.

This updated second edition features the latest information on single sourcing and a new chapter on how trends in structured authoring and Extensible Markup Language (XML) affect technical writers.

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From the Author:

Have you ever thought:

"Hey, I'm a good writer. I wonder if tech writing would make sense for me?"

If so, this is the book for you. Technical Writing 101 is a concise handbook that describes what it really takes to make it as a technical writer.

Technical Writing 101 explains that in addition to writing ability, technical writers also need a grasp of technical subjects, planning and organizational skills, and the ability to extract information from sources, which often means coaxing information from harried product developers. Tact, diplomacy, persistence, and a good sense of humor are essential.

The second edition features updated information about single sourcing, which is the process of creating different types of content (for example, printed documents and web pages) from one set of files. Limited budgets force many documentation departments to rely on single sourcing, so an understanding of single-sourcing techniques is essential for prospective technical writers.

This edition also contains a new chapter about how structured authoring affects technical writing. Structured authoring is a publishing workflow that enforces consistent organization of content. For example, if you write a list, the list must have two or more items. If a list doesn't have at least two items, your text processing software displays an error. Structured authoring may seem intimidating at first, but Technical Writing 101 clearly describes the process and its many benefits.

If you're working toward a degree in technical writing, this book is a great complement to your more theoretical classes.

About the Author:

Alan S. Pringle is lead technical editor at Scriptorium Publishing Services, Inc., and director of its publishing imprint, Scriptorium Press. The company provides technical publishing services to high-tech companies, including outsourced documentation solutions, technical training, and consulting. Since 1990, he has worked as a technical writer and editor on projects ranging from writing user guides for laser printers to editing course material for telecommunications equipment. Alan has also established corporate style guidelines and implemented XML-based structured applications for FrameMaker workflows. He is coauthor of the FrameMaker 7 Workbook Series.

Sarah S. O’Keefe is founder and president of Scriptorium Publishing Services, Inc. Sarah is an experienced FrameMaker trainer; she has both Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) and FrameMaker Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) credentials. Her background also includes technical writing, technical editing, production editing, and extensive online help development with various help authoring tools. Sarah is coauthor of FrameMaker 7: The Complete Reference. Currently, she works as a consultant to assist companies in implementing publishing solutions, including XML-based structured authoring.

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