Technical Writing, November 12, 2013Presentation Transcript
1) Anderson on proposals
2) Dr. Phill on proposals and tech writing
3) The first time you probably made a textual
proposal– and now we do it all PW style
4) And for next time…
In Chapter 23
Anderson tells us all about writing proposals.
This is one of his most free-form chapters, as he
doesn’t offer the usual guidelines. He does, however,
offer a very specific super-structure. This superstructure can be of great use to us!
And from my video…
You basically know my rules for proposals. But this is
a good point for me to hit my ten commandments
for advanced technical writing. Ten things you should
always, always remember, particularly with reports
and proposals, but with all tech writing.
Above all, be clear.
In other words, people are people.
If there were 10 people in a study
and five said the word “taco,” half
of them said the word “taco,”etc.
Anticipate your reader’s
This is always critical, but here’s a
quick, easy example. Someone
said on the TV here in my world
just now, “The KC Chiefs are
undefeated, but they haven’t
played anyone good.”
SHOW ME THE SCHEDULE.
Stop once you’ve told us
what you’re telling us.
I give you page requirements here as
suggestions. In technical
communication, things are as long as
they are. That’s it. The document
decides. No employer is going to ask
you for a 3 page report that needs to
be exactly 3 pages.
Use formatting to make
your points clear, but don’t
Because the green word is
and the indented one is a
But Rainbows are artsy, not
Make that document scantastic.
Headings, bold keywords,
color for important points.
Make my reading
Balance your technical
This week, wrestler John Cena is my
Good technical sentence: Even when the
climate is cold, it is unadvisable to steal
another person’s coat.
Cena Style: No matter the weather/your
boy so hot/you never catch me in the next
Trans fats kill people.
Seriously, take a look at CNN.com. The FDA is slowing banning them.
They make things delicious, too, and we’ve eaten them for years. They can be bought in
stores and are used to fry McDonald’s french fries and chicken nuggets.
TRANS FATS KILL PEOPLE.
Don’t oversell yourself.
Anderson stresses talking about your
qualifications to make a proposal. It is
good to make your qualifications clear.
BUT a good enough qualification is often
“hey, I did this research, so now I have
compiled all these facts.” Don’t try to also
presume that makes you an expert. It doesn’t.
It means you found some good facts.
The biggest part of your job
as a technical writer is to
make that which isn’t clear
as clear as possible.
I am currently working as my game students
play Dungeons & Dragons. Someone just
said “make a saving throw.”
A saving throw is when you roll the dice and
compare that number to your own defense
number as listed on your character sheet (plus or
minus any modifiers based on the scenario). So
you roll the dice and either do or don’t get hit.
Technical communication is
home to a different kind of
creative, and the language
should be dry
That’s not to say that you don’t need to THINK
creatively as a technical writer, but you’re not
trying to top Herman Melville. Or Stephen King.
Or J.K. Rowling.
You will have sentences quite frequently that
look like this: “The person viewed the thing and
thought this.” (with actual content).
Your first proposal
I’m guessing, so if you didn’t have this happen to you
the first time you ever made a proposal, forgive me.
But the first proposal most people write is a
Christmas wish list.
Who you are/if you were good
There’s stuff you want
You wish for Santa to give you the stuff
Convince your parents to buy it
You make a list, and talk about being good
guidance as to where to
benefit: a child’s joy!
… we have tech writing skills.
So I want you to write a gift list for this Christmas. Use your
technical writing skills, as they exist, to make the best
possible gift proposal.
Once we finish, we’ll share and discuss and see who won
For next class…
For Thursday: read: Anderson, Chapter 24
We will look more specifically at how to shape the
proposal using your research data. Also, your report
final drafts will be due to me via email as PDFs. If you
remember to make them PDFs, it makes it like 10
times easier for me to grade in Gmail, so please do