Being John DocReader

Written by Michael Knowles

You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as repparttar bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.

**************************************************************** Being John BookReader by Michael Knowles

When wasrepparttar 129523 last time that you chose to stand inrepparttar 129524 shoes of your reader. If you never use your imagination to put you there, how do you know that you're writing forrepparttar 129525 right audience?

Answer: You don't.

The only difference between a bad writer and a good one (beyond issues of basic mechanics) is thatrepparttar 129526 good writer always keeps an image of a single, specific reader in her mind. The writer develops this image and focuses on it in all stages of a writing project. I believe thatrepparttar 129527 ability to write for a specific reader is a practice that makes great technical writing possible.

It is our divining rod.

I happened across a document this week that purported to be a quick-start guide for a piece of lifesaving medical equipment. This guide was 59 pages long. Andrepparttar 129528 actual operating instructions for this reasonably simple unit began on page 22.

Folks, that is not a quick-start guide.

Now, I do not for one minute believe thatrepparttar 129529 writers of this particular document lacked writing skills. They didn't. Nor do I believe that they lacked an audience analysis; I'm sure they did one. What they did lack wasrepparttar 129530 image of an audience member --repparttar 129531 image of a specific person. The veil lifts when we do that, and we see our work in a different light. We approach it differently.

Imaginerepparttar 129532 clarity that would occur if, say,repparttar 129533 writers of IRS tax forms and instructions imagined themselves to be some specific person -- say, your Uncle Henry, an auto mechanic who dreadsrepparttar 129534 very thought of doing his tax return. The writers, if good writers they be, would create a far clearer set of instructions because they developed empathy for a single audience member. And Uncle Henry would likely not dreadrepparttar 129535 doing of his tax return quite so much becauserepparttar 129536 materials would be understandable.


Written by Arleen M. Kaptur

Weeding Out Your Writing

An accepted fact with any garden is that there will be weeds. Some have a lot and some have a few. However many there are, one thing is for certain. People pull them out, and throw them away. Weeds drain needed moisture and strength fromrepparttar plants that will producerepparttar 129521 harvest we are expecting. But weeds do have a purpose, and a very important one at that. Sometimes itsrepparttar 129522 weeds that giverepparttar 129523 gardenerrepparttar 129524 incentive to go out torepparttar 129525 garden and tend to his plants. The plants, in turn, getrepparttar 129526 needed attention they deserve and they grow better and produce more. So, weeds are not all that bad!

When we write, we plantrepparttar 129527 seeds of ideas in articles, stories, and other written material. They begin to grow with embellishment such as descriptive language, conversation, and subplots. Many times we sit back to admire our handiwork and lo and behold! there are weeds. Spell check was having a bad day, or your embellishments describe a glacier instead of a small mountain stream. It’s time to get out there and weed. Mayberepparttar 129528 conversations are too long and there are too many unfamiliar phrases that are only understood by those in certain parts ofrepparttar 129529 country. One thing to remember is that your book or article may be read by people all overrepparttar 129530 world. If you use “local” language, it may take some readers “a bit” to figure it out. As for descriptive phrases, they must be kept in perspective. A wild, ferocious, angry puma is by no means inrepparttar 129531 same class as that nasty neighborhood cat that claws your screens and climbs your trees. Of course, he/she may appreciaterepparttar 129532 build-up but your readers might getrepparttar 129533 wrong impression. Or, on another note, maybe this cat is a supercat with super powers and thereforerepparttar 129534 description is right. Only yourepparttar 129535 writer can make that call!

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